The atmosphere is condensed with cries of women in agony. The angels of mercy scurry along narrow, dimly lit corridors. You can almost feel the gentle caress of Hades on the soul. The asylum of horrors. Satan’s playground. The reapers harvest.
The cramps were incessant, so I popped some painkillers to subside the pain. I snuck into bed writhing in agony waiting for the pain killers to kick in. The corners of my mouth cracked slightly to the flutters of his movements in my uterus. His kicks gave me joy, the little kicks of life that struck my maternal strings. I closed my eyes for a fleeting moment before a new pang of pain drew me out of my naive ignorance. The alarm bells rang with resounding cymbals of panic. LABOUR. But how can this be? I am only 24 weeks!
I struggled to get out of bed, I had to reach for my phone which I inconveniently left on the dresser. The cramps were unbearable and so intense that I was on the brink of insanity. I crawled to the dresser grabbed my phone and called my husband. When i looked back and saw a trail of blood it dawned the doom into reality. I waited, on the floor in a fetal position, rocking back and forth, eyeball to eyeball with my greatest fear. Bawling my eyes out and screaming “no, no, no! Please no!”
The man was there in ten minutes, with the composure of a priest in a confession box. In less than 15minutes I was all cleaned up, bag packed and enroute to the hospital. He is my uncapped hero. We arrived at the hospital and the contractions had subsided. We were ushered to the maternity ward and sat on the benches in the corridors. We waited for 4 hours. 4 long torturous hours without a single person to attend to us. The contractions would come and go at 15mins intervals. The only attention we received was a nurse who insensitively told me to shut it when I was howling during a very strong contraction. My husband constantly reminded the nurse in charge of our dire predicament and was rudely told to go back to the benches and wait. The contractions eventually died down completely so we just sat there confused and scared shitless while being ignored by these demons.
After what seemed like an eternity they finally gave me a bed. At this point we were fed up, we had no idea that this was only the beginning of a series of despicable horrors. A buff and rather stoic nurse arrived with a sonogram, shortly afterwards we were listening to an erratic heart beat of the fetus. Is he okay?” I asked desperately unable to hold back tears. She nodded
and abruptly left without a single word. 3 am in the morning my doctor finally arrived. Things were looking up, to our amazement he announced that I had dilated to 4cm and the cervix opened due to high blood pressure. Okay but is my baby going to be alright I asked him earnestly. He could not look at me, ” hopefully” that’s all he said. He left us in the care of the hospital and signed us off to another doctor who he highly recommended. He left us flapping in the breeze. Flipty flap flap. Flipty flap flap.
5 am the contractions resumed. There was no end to this hell. Hubby had gone back home to fetch more night gowns, so I was alone, no visitors allowed everybody was somehow too busy to attend to me. I caught the attention of a certain nurse, she later confessed that I reminded of her daughter. The only friendly face in the hell hole, she lit up the room with her smile. She was my angel. The contractions were coming strong well after 2pm, so she did me a favour and hit me with promethazine so I could rest with a little slumber(a very strong sedative). The highly recommended doctor did not show up. No one had attended to me all day. I had not bathed (despite that I was a trickling hosepipe of blood the entire time) the hospital had no water and nobody gave a damn. I can not even begin to describe the bathroom facilities. The grime, scum beneath the shit, the stench and gore. I can still smell it. This was my first experience with the atrocities of a third world country.
A bunch of student doctors surrounded my bed with inquisitive eyes. ” So this patient is in labour at 24 weeks and so far her cervical dilation is at…” The leader of the group paused and tried to insert his fingers in my vagina. (There was no formal greetings, introduction or question of consent) I clamped my thighs together and as calmly as I could I whispered “fuck off” I had just had it with this circus, to them I was just a lab rat, never mind the pain I bore or the emotional and psychological trauma. He looked at me briefly before deciding I wasn’t worth it and continued to address the students. ” The patient has refused to co-operate, but like any other miscarriage..” I didn’t hear anything else. Miscarriage? Did he say I am having a miscarriage. That was the first time I heard this piece of news. All along I thought I was going to have my baby, maybe stay in an incubator for 2-3months while feeding him through a pipe or something. Then eventually go home with him. I was mentally prepared for this. “Miscarriage?!” I heard my self scream. The leader looked back at me his eyes dancing with laughter. “You were not told?” He mocked me “My dear your fetus is 24 weeks that is an automatic miscarriage” he said sounding pleased with himself. “How can that be, his heart was beating this morning?!” I retorted in denial. “It is still a miscarriage” he said intentionally putting emphasis on the word miscarriage.
I thought I was strong, I thought I had it together. I was wrong. I have never been so heartbroken in my life. I wept, even my hubby could not console me. Google diagnosis had told me that my baby could live under extra intensive care! Google told me… The pain I felt emotionally out matched the contractions. I cried for hours upon hours until hubby felt helpless and just sat by the bedside staring at nothing..For the first time I looked at the man. He looked like hell, still wearing the same clothes from previous day, I realised he had hardly eaten and he had been there by my side unwavering with no time out. “Bae go home, bath, eat and rest. I will see you tomorrow morning” I told him. He wanted to refuse but I told him one of us had to replenish for what was to come. He left the hospital at midnight after I fell asleep from another dose of promethazine from my angel nurse.
I woke up after 2 hours, the highly recommended doctor finally arrived and decided that the labour had to be fast paced by oxytocin. So they put up the drip with oxytocin. I can not describe the pain that ensued. I could not decipher fiction from reality. Blinding unbelievable agony. I started sweating like a pig, and something like an epileptic fit (I have no history of epilepsy). I was alone in that room screaming and screaming for an hour. Nobody bothered. I felt him coming. So I yelled at the top of my voice “The baby is coming! Help me” and not a singly body cared. My waters ruptured so I kept screaming “help me please, heeeelp!!” Crickets. They downright ignored me. I felt my baby coming and naturally I pushed, my right hand held his tiny head while I continued to push. Out he came and I placed him on my stomach. He was kicking his tiny legs as if riding a bicycle. He didn’t cry. I yelled “The baby is out! Help me!” 5 minutes later a nurse showed up all panicky. She cut the umbilical cord and put him in a cotton wrapper.
I held him in my arms and gorged into the fragility of life. So tiny. So frail. “Is he going to be okay” I asked the nurse. She shook her head. I was told to say my goodbyes. I was confused. He is alive, are you saying you are not even going to try and save him? She just shook her head. I had no time to probe or get clarification because at that moment I felt another contraction strong and unbearable as before one after the other. How is this even possible?? The placenta didn’t come out so the body will continue contracting even after birth. She took my baby and left. She never came back!
At 24 weeks the placenta doesn’t come out as smoothly as it should. Another hour of screaming and unbelievable pain. Until some student doctor peeked into my room. He tried to get the placenta out, asked me to cough and tugged it but to no avail. I was about to pass out from the pain that is when he shoved his hand and manually peeled it off from the uterus with his fingers. It is truly a miracle that I am alive to tell this story. I passed out. It was more than I could take.
I felt extremely cold and that’s when I woke up around 5am. In a reverie I noticed the placenta, umbilical cord hanging from the bed, blood, a lot of blood dripped from the bed slowly forming a pool on the floor. This young doctor ripped out the placenta, ran away and left me for dead. I tried to sit, I was too weak, I had lost too much blood. I rolled over from the bed to the floor. I knew in my mind that if I kept laying in that bed, I was going to die. I had to get out of that room, I rolled to the door which was slightly ajar and kicked it open with my right leg. I rolled into the corridors and passed out. I regained consciousness 6 hours later. Hubby was by my bedside. He smiled at me “we are getting you the hell out of here to a Private facility so you can recover under proper care”
I don’t know whether I had a miscarriage or the hospital could not be bothered to save my baby. The nurse walked out with a living breathing baby. We were told later that he didn’t make it and was incinerated. No explanation. Nothing.
This reckons this blog title. Parirenyatwa maternity ward is the portal to Satan’s lair. Some horrors were not recorded in this blog because writing it meant reliving it. I thank God because 10 months later I gave birth to my wonderful son Malik. Only now that i can tell my story.