When Lina was just 15-years-old, she became pregnant with her first child, and labored at home rather than going to the hospital. After three days of labor, she still had not delivered her baby, and was rushed to a nearby health center by her boyfriend and neighbors.
At the center, Lina was told the facility didn’t have the capacity to help her, and was advised to go to the regional hospital some miles away. She can’t remember anything past this point: “I became unconscious. I just woke up and found myself in the regional hospital in a bed. I asked the nurses around, ‘where is my child?’” Tragically, Lina’s child was stillborn.
As she was recovering, Lina realized that she was leaking urine. Her days of obstructed labor had created an obstetric fistula – a hole between her bladder and vagina. Her doctor correctly diagnosed her fistula but told her the hospital could not treat it. Lina was very weak and could not walk, so she stayed at the hospital for a month.
When she returned to live with her boyfriend, he began to berate her, telling her she would never be able to conceive again and he could not stay with someone like her. He eventually threw her out of the house. She went back to try and reconcile, but he hit her over the head with a machete. Injured and afraid, Lina ran to the bush for safety until her uncle found her and took her to live with her mother.
Lina began to gain strength and was able to do activities and chores like fetching water and collecting fire wood, but she continued to leak urine. She started seeing a new boyfriend and became pregnant again. Her second baby, a little boy, was born without complications.
Soon after, Lina’s sister met a CCBRT ambassador in her community. The ambassador explained what fistula was, and that CCBRT treats the condition for free. Lina’s sister connected the ambassador to Lina, and soon, Lina’s travel details and money (sent by MPESA) were arranged. She was on her way to CCBRT for treatment.
Lina’s surgery took place in January 2018. Now 21-years- old, Lina wears a big smile on her face and is excited about her future. She has fully recovered and is no longer leaking.