Yesmin’s Story


When Yesmin was 12 years old, her parents found a good man for her to marry. They were poor, and they thought that it would be best for their firstborn daughter to marry early. Yesmin and her husband discussed that it would be best to wait a bit and let pregnancy happen later, but neither one knew about any family planning method. Yesmin became pregnant after one month of marriage.

Yesmin faithfully attended antenatal care. One Friday night, she began to labor. On Saturday night, her husband, mother, and father took her to the government health center. She was advised to go to the district-level medical college hospital, and her father paid the cost of the ambulance Sunday morning. On Sunday evening, health workers requested a bag of blood, and Yesmin’s husband donated. The blood was given to Yesmin at the time she was delivering-and at that point, Yesmin lost consciousness. Yesmin spent nine days unconscious and catheterized in the hospital. When she awoke, she learned that the baby had been stillborn. Although the doctor encouraged Yesmin to remain in the hospital, her father had already spent his savings on her care. Her husband wanted to take her home, and at his request a hospital cleaner pulled out Yesmin’s catheter.

Yesmin was fine on the day-long journey home, but that night she discovered that she was leaking urine, even though she had no urge to urinate. From that point on, whenever Yesmin would stand up, she would leak urine. At the health center, she was told she could not be cured, unless perhaps if she returned to the district-level hospital. Her family could not afford that, so Yesmin returned to her parents’ house. When she went to her husband’s house, her mother-in-law told her that her husband would marry again. Yesmin replied that she would try for treatment; if that were to fail, her husband could marry again, and she would stay on as the first wife. Although things were difficult between Yesmin and her husband, the husband did not remarry.

Yesmin became pregnant, and when she went for antenatal care, she was referred to LAMB Hospital, where they would be able to assist her delivery and repair her fistula. The next day, however, without any warning, Yesmin expelled her baby, who was not yet mature enough to survive. After that loss, her husband and his family ceased to care for Yesmin altogether. Three years later, Yesmin took just 100 taka from her father and came to LAMB, a site supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) via EngenderHealth’s Fistula Care Project. The fistula surgeon was not available, so Yesmin waited nine months until she could have surgery.

At last, in November 2009, Yesmin underwent surgery to repair her fistula. Her health is now completely restored. After Yesmin recovered, her husband welcomed her back. Yesmin and her husband are now hoping to be able to have a baby.