Fistula has made my life miserable

Chantelle Petit [Photo: Courtesy]

When 25-year-old Chantelle Petit discovered she was pregnant, she was elated and looked forward to hold her bundle of joy.

However, she can’t enjoy motherhood after suffering fistula that has left her broken. She shares a story.

“I found out I was pregnant on May 2018. I was around six weeks. It was a smooth pregnancy, apart from the normal pregnancy symptoms and cravings. My due date was in January and I was looking forward to holding my bundle of joy. On New Year’s Day, I was at my cousin’s place for a party.

While there, my contractions started and I was rushed to the hospital. The doctor examined and informed me that I had only dilated 2 centimetres and he asked me to go back home. While at home, my contractions were 15 minutes apart and I was in so much pain that I rushed back to the hospital. When the doctor checked me again, I was told I had only dilated for 5 centimetres.

Upon further examination, he noticed I had a brown discharge and informed me that the baby had pooped inside and that I had to undergo an emergency C-Section. I panicked and was so scared. Unfortunately, the nurses informed us that their operation room was under renovation and I had to wait for four hours.

Those were the longest hours of my life. I was in so much pain and I felt like I was dying. An hour later, I felt the urge to push. I told everyone in the room but no one was taking me seriously. They all thought I was just being dramatic. Finally, one nurse came to check up on me and told me I had dilated to 9 centimetre. By this time, I could literally feel the baby pushing herself out.

Being a first time mum, I didn’t know what to do. Luckily, the nurse came when my baby’s head was already out and I gave birth to a baby girl. However, she had to stay at the newborn unit since she was too tiny. I was exhausted and I had so much pain in my vagina. When the nurses called in the gynaecologist to check up on me, she revealed that I had suffered a 3rd degree tear on my vagina. So, technically, a huge part of my anus and vagina was torn.

She also revealed that I had sepsis and they needed to do surgery to stitch up the tear. I had the procedure done the following day at 3pm. It was a one hour procedure and I was awake throughout the surgery. I was numb from the waist down, I could not move and after the surgery, I was taken to my room where I blacked out.

The following day the nurses forced me to walk since it would help prevent blood clots. It was really painful, but I did it anyway. After three days, I was discharged from hospital. However, this is when my nightmare started. A week after being discharged, I started feeling pain and when I went to pee I noticed that my pee had grains.

I called my doctor who requested me to rush to hospital since it wasn’t a good sign. After examination, she broke the news. I had fistula. This completely took me by surprise since I always assumed that this condition only affected people in remote areas. I had to be rescheduled for another surgery to fix the condition.

By this time, I had exhausted all my savings and I was forced to borrow cash. It was too traumatising. The pain just got worse as the days went by, I was terrified of passing stool because of the pain. I used to cry all the time. I had no energy at all. Every morning I would spend about 3 hours in the toilet because I was in a lot of pain.

I hadn’t seen my daughter for three days because I could not walk to the nursery to see her. I was not even able to sneeze or laugh because of the pain. I slipped into depression and hated myself. The bill had accumulated to around one million. I was forced to hire a nurse to help me until I am back on my feet.

 The doctor informed me that I will have to undergo another surgery. Being jobless and a new mother has taken a toll on me. I really need well-wishers who can help me.