Thursday, August 12, 2010


Regina holding her little girl.
This week’s theme seems to be prematurity. Twice already we’ve had two mom’s deliver  preterm at home and then come in because of complications. Each time the baby died. Both moms were referred for different things-- One for a blood transfusion due to massive hemorrhage postpartum, the other because she was in a coma for some unknown reason and wasn’t improving. So when a young girl come into the clinic today in premature labor, I wasn’t sure what to think.

She was acting pretty melodramatic. I admit I thought she was exaggerating a bit... or I did until I saw the contractions. There was no doubt something was going on, but could it be labor? Maybe it was just Braxton-hicks contractions? She was 7 months pregnant by LMP and only measured 27 cm. Not good. Her belly was way too small.

The last time this happened, we tried to refer the mom to Wau, but she never made it. She just ended up having the baby at home. Fortunately, all went well. But we weren’t there for them in their need. I didn’t like that. So, this time, I decided to keep her at the clinic.

I thought keeping her here would be a no brainer but her family wanted to take her home. I cautioned them that if the baby was really  7 months gestation, it was better to have our help. To my relief, they agreed.
Baby Stephanie Akac, weighing in at 1.5 kg.
So when Regina started pushing, we were ready. We had resuscitation equipment set up and mentally, I was ready for another anything -- even another death. I know that’s pessimistic of me, but I had to steel myself for the possibility at least. Not one baby born that early has survived here in my (short) experience.

I prayed over her and left it up to God. The Creator of all life certainly knows how to preserve it. I prayed for His will to be done. Besides, He knows what I can handle. I’ve mourned these children all week. If I am meant to mourn another... He’ll walk me through it.

The birth went smoothly. Regina only pushed a couple of minutes -- surprising for a first time mom. And as the head passed the perineum, I was surprised to see a tiny face looking up at me. :- ) (She was born completely posterior!)

Although she was minuscule in stature, you wouldn’t have guessed it from her lungs. She screamed and wailed and made such a ruckus that Margaret and I couldn’t help but laugh... and sigh in relief. No resuscitation necessary.

But would you believe she is only 1.5 kgs and (by Ballard’s score) only 28 wks gestation. That is how old the baby boy brought into our clinic on Monday was as well. But he weighed half of that (only 600g). Dennis and I were so confused we did the test twice but the results were the same. This little one is only 7 months old.

The good news is that... by God’s abundant mercy and grace.... this little girl is doing great. She is vigorous and very interested in breastfeeding. Pray that continues.

Her father was so happy with the good news, he asked if he could name her after me. So I have my first namesake. Rejoice with me as I’ve discharged little Stephanie Akac this afternoon. Both mom and baby are doing great. But they need prayer... lots of it. The risk of complications and infections are higher with prematurity. Thanks.