Desta came from Tegede Kerakir woreda, Amhara region. When Desta was 14 her parents married her off to a man from her village. Then she gave birth to her first child at the age of 16. Afterwards, she delivered to 3 babies, however only 1 is alive. In her own words, Desta explains her journey…
“When I become pregnant for the first time I had no idea about the benefits of antenatal care follow up and delivering in a health facility. I was pregnant at 16 so I just had to follow the steps of my seniors. I gave birth to my first born at home. He was alive for 4 days but died after wards. Then in that year I became pregnant for the second time. This time I had attended antenatal care follow ups and delivered inside the health center.”
When it was time for Desta to become pregnant with her third child she stopped attending antenatal care services offered at the health centre after 6 months. When labour started she tried to deliver at home. After trying for 2 days at home her family took her to the health center nearby. The center put her on fluid and referred her to Gondar Hospital explaining it was beyond their capacity.
“I was already regretting why I stopped my antenatal care follow up and tried to deliver at home. My whole family were on their toes praying God to let me be alive. Inside Gondar hospital, the doctors helped me deliver the baby surgically. When I woke up they told me that my baby was dead because of the distress. I was so sad that I could not stop crying. Later I understood my pain was not over yet when I realized that I could not control my urine as the nurses removed the catheter. I was lost of words, I cried and cried on the hospital bed expecting miracle to happen but it was the same the following days.”
The Obstetric/Gynecologic ward referred her to the fistula center but since it was too early to operate on her she had to go home and come back after 3 months.
“The 3 months at home felt like 3 long years. I do not go outside fearing what people might talk behind me; my body and cloth smelled awful so I tried to drink very little amount of water; my husband separated his bed and I had no pride as a woman to look him in the eyes so I would hide as much as possible….it was damaging!”
Desta returned to the centre after 3 months for the schedule surgery. Her surgery was successful.
“Now it is a new page for me. I have another chance to live as a woman who can full fill her duty as a wife. When I become pregnant for the next time I will immediately go to the health facility and attend every service they deliver. I have learned from my mistake. Thank you WAHA doctors for curing me from this maddening disease.”
Desta is eager to get back to her house and show that she is healthy again to her family.