Friday 5 February 2016

Memoirs of a Nigerian mum 4

While I tell my story, I do hope medical practitioners involved in this kind of act desist from it.

I was led into the labor room at about 2pm after the matron said I was 8cm dilated where I met a very friendly group of elderly midwives including a male. Before then I never knew males went into midwifery. The chief (as they called the head midwife) checked me and said those on afternoon shift would likely be the ones to deliver my baby. She advised me to stroll round the labor ward. The morning group soon handed over to the afternoon people led by one beautiful but unfriendly-looking young midwife. As my contractions became more frequent and I was in serious discomfort, one of the midwives, the youngest among them kept encouraging me, helping me massage my waist ( though I doubt if that made any difference). The leader of the afternoon group scolded her and told her to leave me alone. I was moved to tears at some point.

Time to push proper and I was at loss of what to do being a first-timer. All the things I was taught at antenatal lessons and the ones I read up on the many written works I read flew threw the window. The lead midwife scolded, shouted and screamed instructions at me, she even at a point forcefully pushed my two laps apart as I couldn't keep them apart while pushing. I was obviously not doing things as she directed and she told me if I continued that way I would suffocate my baby in a very harsh tone. I remember bursting into tears and asking her if she thinks I would willingly want to suffocate a baby I had borne for 40 weeks and three days. I also remember imploring to her humanity, to her feminine emotions as well. Few minutes which seemed to me like hours later, my son was born. While cleaning me up the lead midwife apologized and told me the harshness was just to make me strong enough to push the baby through. I could not talk as I was weak but I remember wondering if that is what they teach them in nursing and midwifery schools. All through the period, the nice, youngest midwife was encouraging me and saying "oya do it this way", "look at your navel while you push" etc. And she was the one who I looked up to for guidance. Did I mention that lead midwife walked out on me at a point? Right on the delivery bed sef.

Well, experiences sha. Midwives and everyone involved in healthcare should know that hostility and harshness does not make things better. You do not make the delivery successful with your harshness. I believe nicer midwives handle childbirth better. I have heard of a case where a woman in labor was slapped by the midwife delivering her baby. Sad thing is at that point the last thing a mum in labor has in mind is her rights. She has too many things going through her labored mind, and immediately after delivery the joy of surviving pregnancy and birth in a country like ours makes the labor room experience fade. But we need to stand up for each other. No mum in labor should be scolded or shouted on. Whatever instructions needs to be passed can be done nicely.

We need nicer and more humane nurses and doctors in delivery rooms.

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