Wednesday, 2 May 2012

The truth about VVF

Today, I found myself flipping through every chart on the ward.  It was for a good cause, I needed to find specific info that had been charted during screening.  But during the process, I ended up reading most of the screening details of our VVF ladies, and the answers they gave made my stomach turn...
How many prenancies have you had?  1... 6.... 9... 5...4....2....3...etc...
After what pregnancy did your problem start?  Invariably, this answer was the same as the answer to how many pregnancies.
How long were you in labor?  2 days, 4 days, 5 days, 7 days (incomprehensible!  7 days!  And she lived!)
How was the baby delivered?  C-section.  (except one... who delivered after 4 days)
Did the baby survive?  Stillbirth (every.  single.  one.)
Did your husband leave you?  yes/no (about half and half)
Can you read/write?  No

So many... tragedies.  So many lives twisted, changed, ruined.  For lack of proper medical care.  When it takes days to get to a place where they can do a c-section.  What do you do? 
With each chart I flipped open, the answers were harder to read.  The repetition, painful.  I was sad, angry, almost sick.  I knew the end result.  I know that we are treating these women, attempting to return dignity to those who are wet, leaking.  But still.  All I could picture was their labors.  Their hours and days of agony.  The thick ropy scars running down their abdomens from emergency surgery.  The pain of loosing a baby.  And then, the final indignity, to find yourself in a puddle of urine, unable to control the flow.  Shunned by those around you. 

I used to get annoyed that we are so strict about "failure to progress" in labor.  Give the woman a bit more time, she can do it!  But this... it's a reminder... of how good we have it.  Access to monitoring.  Healthy happy babies.  Healthy, happy moms.  I'll stop complaining, and rejoice with our ladies as they go from wet to dry!  (More on our ladies soon!)

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