Friday morning! We have seen so much happen already this week as we interceded for life in the hospital, what on earth was going to happen next? Well more then we expected I would say, but then again we never know what to expect. Throughout the day we delivered seven babies, and four of them were within twenty minuets of each other. And although I only “delivered” one women there are three main women that I would like to write about. So I am going to write a bit about each of them, but keep in mind, the stories of every women were all happening at once!
Value those who devalue
After gathering together in prayer, as we did every morning before work, we set out to deliver some babies and love on some princesses of God kingdom. As I set out to check on some moms I noticed one being rather loud yelling through all of her contractions.. “Primi.” I thought “She doesn't know any better and she is wasting all her energy on shouting, I'll go breath with her for a bit and see how she is going.” I started walking in the direction of the sound when I noticed the nurse just in front of me was going to check on the same mom I was, but it was all to soon that I noticed who the nurse was. As she turned I saw her protruding pregnant belly. She was the nurse from the birth of Daniel Obadiah.*
“SMACK!” I saw her slap the mother hard across her bear thigh. I felt my jaw drop but no words came out. The nurse started shouting at the mom in Swahili wagging her finger in her face as she then pointed to her own pregnant belly. I stepped in. “Excuse me, but what are you saying to this mother? What is it that she needs?” I asked. “She is hungry!” The nurse snapped at me. “Put an IV in her and give her some fluids.” The nurse turned back to the mother and started ranting off to her again, but this time instead of wagging her finger in the mothers face she started jabbing the mother in her abdomen causing her enough pain to curl into herself. “Hey!” I said to the nurse. It caught her off guard so she stopped and turned towards me. I stepped in between her and the mom and took the moms hand in my own “If the mother is hungry giving her an IV is not going to help her, nor is any of your jabbing and slapping! This mother is crying out in pain, do you think causing her more is going to silence her? You are pregnant yourself and I'm sure you would not like to be treated like this when you are in labor, so why do you treat these women like this?!” Her only reply was a chuckle as if I were child upset at her for hurting a fly and walked away. So I turned back to the mother, “pola sana mama.” I said as I rubbed her red leg. Soon after one of the other students, Joy, went out and bought the mother some food. About twenty minuets later Joy delivered her sweet baby girl. Then the mom had PPH but didn't want to be touched anymore, so I sadly had to hold her hands down with all my might so that Joy could massage her uterus and expel the blood clots to prevent farther bleeding.
Upon returning home I started talking with my roommate, Amy Dawn, who had just returned from visiting with a mom who she “delivered” the week before. She shared with me that when she asked the mom what she expected when she went to the hospital the mother shared with her “I thought I was going to get a slapping.” But thankfully Amy was able to change that for her just as Joy and I did for the mother above.
What I learned from it:
As for the nurse in the story above, God showed me that I need to value her just I am with the other women. I got her name, Marget, and I started talking with her to find about what she has to deal with. It is sad that someone who is that pregnant should have to continue working so hard. And with her hormones all over the place I'm sure the yelling women can be more then annoying. So as she shows devalue to others it makes me wonder, who has valued her?
Two women, Two Babies but only two hands.
So now lets back track in time just a bit. The morning was still just getting started and Joy had just returned with food for the mama in the last story.* Now I was just across from her with another mother I just started to check on. I had just started taking her vitals and timing her contractions as I was doing so. But before I could finish that and move on to palpating her and checking for the baby's heart beat, Emily came in. She brought with her a mother form the ANC ward. “G.6 P.5 fully dilated.” She said and sat the mother on the bed next to the mother I was checking. I knew that meant this lady's baby was coming asap... but I knew the baby of the mom I was checking was coming very soon as well. Oh dear.
Mwajuma was the name of the mother Emily brought in and Masokola was the mother I was already watching over, but as I looked around me I saw that from the other two students in the room Jen had just delivered a baby and Joy was just about to deliver one herself and our staff Rachel was running between them trying not to touch anything with her blood covered gloves. I observed this as I quickly prepared the things that would be needed for these next moms to deliver their babies. Cotton, cord clamps, razor blades, kidney dish, oxytocin drawn up and now I slipped on my sterile gloves and stood between the two moms waiting to see who was going to be first.... just what I feared.... “HEAD..S! TWO BABIES HERE AND I CAN ONLY TAKE ONE!” The beds were so close together that I had no choice, so I reached my arms out and caught a baby in each hand!
Okay maybe it didn't go that way, but it would have made for a great story and I really did consider doing so. None the less I went with the head that started winning the race, you learn early on that you should never mess with a G6.
Little Susan Grace (As I named her) came out, well very graceful. She let out a beautiful cry as we laid her on her mothers tummy and Mwajuma just smiled and admired seeing her beautiful little girl for the first time.
By this time Tiffany and Bek had heard my cry and were now with Masokola right next to me, but Masokola's baby had not come yet. When they looked to see the head crowing we realized it was not a head, this baby was breach! None the less the baby was small and Tiffany was able to deliver it, only to realize there was another baby inside! “Twins!” Tiffany told the mom in excitement as the first little girl was whisked away to make way for the next one. “Huh?” Masokola looked at Tiffany not understanding the English. “Mbili Watoto!” Tiff said pointing at her still protruding belly. “Aya!” She said as she threw her hands up in exhaustion and shook her head as to protest the thought of pushing another baby out all over again.
Mwajuma saw all of this happen to the young mom and she couldn't help but burst out in innocent laughter at poor Masokola's dilemma. She seemed to laugh as if she had been in that same spot herself once and was imagining the humor of what she might have looked like herself. She looked back to me and we continued to have a little chuckle together.
For a moment, no one knew
By Kaitlin & Tiffany
Time ticked on and the laughter ended as I cleaned Mwajuma up and started to prepare the bed for the next women. At this point the room was full of commotion. Jen's mother had retained placenta, Joy's mom had PPH , the second twin from Tiff's mom had yet to come and there were other laboring women in the room close to delivering. Four babies were now taking up all the room laying close together on the baby bed all waiting to be checked on still. I ran and helped with what I could as I continued to help Mwajuma, who was in much pain, clean up and make the move to the waiting area. As soon I felt things had “calmed down” enough I went to do my check ups on little Susan grace, but instead of picking her up and loving her I had to pick her up and hand her off along with all the other babies.... “Clear the table for CPR!”
The second twin had now come, and she was flat. APGAR 0. Suddenly all the babies were whisked away, checked or not, and little Madeline took the table. She was suctioned, rubbed, flicked, pressed, filled with air and prayed over and over as her big sister Josephine laid alone in the corner of the bed. She laid quite and still, the sadness in her eyes seemed to say what none of us wanted to admit, her little sister was not going to be with her any longer. But she was also so at peace that she seemed to know were here little sister was, with Jesus.
We played the part of Madeline's heart and lungs for half an hour before Doctor Fatuma came over. She had seen the miracle at the start of the week and now she spoke up in the midst of sounds of repetitive counting and the air bag filling up only to be pressed empty again, “No miracles today?” She asked with both hope and sadness in her voice. Madeline was soon pronounced dead.
The birth of the twins took a toll on Masokola's body as her uterus had a hard time contracting down, her full bladder didn't help either, thus making her continuing to bleed when it should have stopped. Wanting to help Masokola's bleeding to stop asap, both Tiff and Rachel asked the nurse in charge for advice and was told to hook up Ringer's Lactate for her. After hooking up the IV for her, Rachel held on to Masokola to support her and helped her to the bathroom to empty the mom's bladder with Tiff close behind them holding the IV drip high. But to no avail, Masokola was so weak from the blood loss and birthing process that she pleaded for Tiff and Rachel to take her back to her bed for she couldn't bend or squat without feeling faint. After a couple tries to encourage her to empty her bladder to no avail, Rach and Tiff then gently helped her back to her bed and immediately changed her IV drip that was quickly depleting.
As Masokola was getting situated on her bed, Tiff stood solemnly next to the baby table for she had to tell Masokola that her 2nd daughter did not make it. With a heavy heart she gingerly gathered Madeline into her arms and walked towards Masokola's bed only to stop in her tracks and asked our staff Rachel if she could explain about Madeline for Tiff didn't feel she could do so without crying. Rachel then took baby Madeline and one of the student nurses as a translator to Masokola who perked up at the sight of a bundled baby coming her way. Tiff watched Masokola's eyes widen just a fraction in surprise when she realized that Madeline, her 2nd child, was not alive anymore before tears of grief pooled and escaped from her sad brown eyes down her cheeks, pass her lips that were pressed hard together as if trying to retain a cry of anguish trying to escape. That first tear traveled down to the end of her chin and splashed onto the konga that wrapped Madeline's small frame. Tiff watched with grief and wonder as dear Madeline's mother shifted her child into the crook of her left arm that had the IV in and began to gently and lovingly trace her baby's plump cheeks, soft chin, brows, small nose, delicate ears, and the rest of her face before stopping on the child's lips as if to hush Madeline who may or may not have protested at having yet to be fed. At that gesture, Masokola's tears then started to pour down freely from her eyes that never left little Madeline's peaceful face till she heard a sniffle and looked up to see that Tiff's face was streaked with fresh tears. Not wanting to have the mom feel awkward, Tiff quickly turned her face away from the mom and busied herself getting her things ready to do a final check on the mom before we all had to leave for the day. After a bit of fumbling with her blood pressure cuff, Tiff took Masokola's vitals and was happy to see that her bleeding had slowed down, her blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, temperature, and fundal height had improved considerably.
When all that could be done was done, Tiff then slowly walked over to the baby table once again, and for the first time that day, picked up little Josephine and silently rocked her little frame whispering apologies for the passing of her younger twin sister, prayers for God to watch over her, and words of encouragement and love over the little babe. As Tiff did that, for the second time that day, she silently cried over the loss of Madeline, the loss of a daughter for Masokola, and the loss of a sister for Josephine.
For a moment no one even knew Madeline existed and now our harts were burdened just knowing she was gone
I initially started this blog while working overseas to keep my supporters updated, then I did it a time as a required assignment during my midwifery school, but now I write but because I want to. So now I share my current journeys, in hopes that others can learn from them, or at the least have a good laugh.