I have thought long and hard about writing about this and what it would do to me knowing that some readers work with me, others are potential business partners and some are my suppliers. Truth is, I have mentioned this to some of my friends that are Mums’ and I was shocked to find out that, many women suffer in silence. When I went for my last pre-natal visit, the doctor told me that I wasn’t going to leave. He insisted on inducing my labor because I wasn’t dilating any further and I was 39 weeks pregnant. I had been stuck on two centimeters for over a month. So, I was checked in and the whole process started. Despite using two pills to induce labor 9 hours apart, I only dilated 4 centimeters. 25 hours later, after such a rough time, I was finally ready to pop.
The room wasn’t prepared for delivery, so the mid-wives were all over the place when I started pushing baby out. They tore my honey pot to help baby out since she was loosing oxygen. Mums’ know that once that happens, you get ‘the stitches’. Well, that part was over and I went home and started being a mum. Kikuyu’s have this theory of feeding new mums certain types of food to help them lactate. Unfortunately, very few of those meals comprise of a balanced diet. I would do “Njahi” daily for lunch for about two weeks. What people do not know is that, when a woman is pregnant, her body starts to soften food for the baby to digest while in the womb. After birth, everything goes back to normal. Another thing they do not tell new mums is that, they should massage their nipples daily in preparation for the friction that comes with breast feeding.
So, around the 3rd or 4th day at home, things began to hit the fan. My nipples were bleeding from the friction and I begun to get constipated and have several tears. The pain was unbearable. Every time the baby wanted to feed, I would break down and cry. The minute she started circling, all the cracks on my nipples would sting. I told my sister about it and she told her friend. Her friend told us that the only way I could heal was from the bacteria in the baby’s saliva. In short, keep breast feeding! I wanted to quit! At the same time, I could barely sit down or pass stool because of the pain from the tears in my rear area. I was losing my mind! We went to Nairobi hospital for some help with the tears and the doctor told me that it was really severer. She prescribed oral re hydration salts to help soften my stool and no pain killers since I was breast feeding.
The tears kept happening on and off until the period when I was going out for drinks with my friends. Unfortunately, the de-hydration from alcohol, in-take of a lot of nyama choma and carbohydrates did not help the situation. So, one morning after a night out, I felt an intense pain from my rear area that made me scream! I kept it to myself for about two days until I couldn’t take it anymore. I went to a gynecologist to seek help, but he told me that I had to see an obstetrician. I went to the private wing at Kenyatta hospital and saw one who sat me down and explained everything. He informed me that I had hemorrhoids. He added that several women who experience very long labor pains and tear during birth suffer from them. 25% of women get this after birth and usually, this leads to postpartum depression. He continued to explain that, the only permanent solution was to surgically remove them.
So, I proceeded to book for surgery and Frank took me for it. I swear Frank has seen me through a lot of shit! Anyway, so the worst part wasn’t over yet. He told me that he had to leave the wounds open because if he stitched them up, stool would linger on the stitches and give me an infection. He also warned me against not eating to avoid going to the toilet. He advised that I increase the visits to allow the muscles to adopt to the bowl movement and heal faster. I was given morphine oral tablets and allowed to get a shot if the pain intensified. I went back home to my 10 month old baby and was not allowed to breast feed her while I was on morphine. This is actually the point when she stopped breast feeding.
The healing process begun. Frankly, it took over 6 months! There are times when I went to loo and would have the local pharmacist come give me a jab because the pain almost made me collapse Every time I passed stool, I had to sit on warm salty water to avoid infections. Literally, I wanted to die! I had this one guy who I was kind of seeing at the time, and I had to stop because, I had too much going on. Anyway, long story short, when pregnant, prepare your nipples from day one to avoid scarring. Learn how to breast feed…it is something no one teaches you! If you do it wrong, it hurts! Eat a balanced diet. The traditional myths on certain meals helping with production of more milk should be avoided. Also, if you start to feel depressed, talk to someone about it. It will help you get out of it sooner rather than later. Part 4 coming soon!