Deliver to Decipher
When it was about time for me to be delivered of my first daughter, my maternal grandmother called me aside into her inner room and told me to sit down. She was looking at me as if she should help me to carry the pregnancy, she shook her head and said "there is no pain as that of child birth, it it is indescribabale, delivery can only be done by God, be at rest with God, put your faith in him and as for the doctors, forget them".
Her words planted deep seated fears in my mind, the pain cannot be described and I should put everything in God's hand. I appreciated her, but as I stepped out of the inner room, I met my mother waiting for us, she was definitely afraid with the look on her face. Has she explained everything to you? She asked, I shook my head in affirmation.
What I could not understand was why both of them had so many children when they were this afraid of childbirth?
True to her words, my pain was indescribable!
The delivery date arrived, it was on the 25th of April 2002, against all my prayers, and fears that it should be postponed by God, it was the most horrific experience of my life. The only warning I never received was that majority of Nigeria health care givers working in our government hospitals are heartless. Due to the fact that we generally believe that these medical practitioners working witht the government are the experts in Nigeria hospitals and above all, their charges is also affordable in comparable to privately owned hospitalss, most women prefer to use these government owned facilities.
The pain was gushing like the flow of a river, as I screamed out in pain, expecting soothing words or any ,medication that can reduce my pain, one of the nurses shouted by at me "shut up, it is time for you to know that a baby's head is bigger than a man's manhood". That was her exact statement; it was strange to me because I have never heard such expression in my thirty years of existence prior to that time.
Immediately, I went back into my shell like a soup dished in a stainless plate. That was the beginning of my journey into the land of the medical practitioners’ wickedness. When the time comes, there was no single doctor, there were nurses and so many women were in labor, there was no bed so we had to use benches, anyone whose baby is at the birth canal would be transferred to the only available bed.
The nurses sternly warned me not to "push" but the baby was pushing her head out at all cost. When I could not take it any further, I screamed and the nurse almost hit me, " I told you not to push, no space for you to deliver" I began to cry and I called my husband aside and gave my own instruction "if I die, ensure that you take me back to my village for burial, do not bury me in Lagos or your town". He responded with a hiss.
When the nurses realized that I could no longer hold it, the woman on the delivery couch was asked to excuse and I was asked to lie down, with serious episiotomy, the baby was delivered but could not breathe. The nurse looked at me straight in the face and said "witch, you have eventually killed your daughter".
She handed the baby to my husband and said "she is a still birth, bury her, she killed her child by herself". I began to cry, this was the first leaf, I ever pluck in the farm of life. My husband used my scarf to wrap the baby and was taking her away for burial of course. Suddenly, I overheard his conversation with a doctor, who had just arrived on time to save the day. Thereafter, the doctor took the baby, and my husband gave him 1 GB pound (250 Naira), in less than 30 minutes, the doctor and my husband returned with the child, he revived her, I do not know how he did it but I know that my baby came back to life.
Oh my God, I woke up after few hours of sleep to discover that I was floating, the doctor came over and said, how do you feel, I could not speak again, he opened me up and screamed "ah, you did not stitch her after delivery!," I was in the pool of my blood, the nurses forgot to stitch my vagina where the epiosoptomy was done, and I do not even understand what was happening, it was my first experience.
I recovered after 8 days of intensive care at the hospital. I never went back to that hospital for any other thing after that horribble incident and experience, it is one of the largest hospitals in Lagos if not the largest.
This is good news to me, it is my testimony, we name the girl-child, Oluwatobiloba, which literary means, God is a Great king. Some women were not this lucky, I kept on wondering if it was my grandmother's decision to place me in the hands of the invisible doctor that saved my life. this is how women are sacrificed to the altars of medical negligence in Nigeria.
Lack of commitment to the profession, brain drain, lack of proper medical training, negligence of duty, and underfunding are some of the challenges faced by the Nigerian health system. It would have been life saving if government is committed to proper funding and staffing of the healthcare system, it will definitely save the nation of the unnecessary potentials planted at the graveyard daily. As far as I am concerned, it is of no use to quote statistics of maternal death because the unofficial death is more than the official.
What is imperative is to address the issue and proffer transformative solutions to these deadly challenges. Once we know our problems, the solution is the direct opposite, not farfetched.