When I first got here, only the most hair-raising complications came to deliver with me. That equated to about 5 births a month, and each one greyed me in some way. I couldn’t understand why the ‘normal’ births weren’t coming.
Why were they staying home?
Then it occurred to me, these women had no idea why I was here. How could they? I hadn’t told them. They assumed that they should all deliver at home unless there was a complication. Only then, would they come for help.
So, I started telling them they could deliver with me, even if there wasn’t an emergency. I told them that is why I was here. Some were shocked at the news, others clapped and still others laughed. Fortunately, a few took me up on the offer.
Now I have the occasional emergency, but most of the births are simple and fun. Also, I am catching roughly 15 babies a month. It’s not exorbitant, but it’s better.
However, this week as I looked out over my prenatal line-up, it occurred to me that only the sick ones were coming. Why? Do they think they have to be sick to see me? Every woman I saw, had MAJOR complications (pyelonephritis, raging STDs, preeclampsia, etc.). Where are all the somewhat healthy women? Do they exist?
At that moment, a light went off in my head. Of course! They must think they can only come if they are sick. It’s a clinic after all, right? How would they know any differently, if I haven’t told them?
I know. I know. By now you are probably thinking, du-uh! But I must confess, it honestly didn’t occur to me.
So this week, I started telling them to come even if they aren’t sick, so long as it is on the date I scheduled for them.
You wouldn’t believe the surprise and joy this news brought. One woman told me she was so happy to know she could come and have her baby checked regularly! She even asked, “Can I really come every month?” I smiled and nodded, equally happy. Sigh.
Why did it take me 9 months to figure this out? This means a lot more work initially, but if we catch these problems early, imagine all the headaches and pain we’ll prevent.
Please pray for me to have wisdom when dealing with their complaints. I see a lot more complications than I ever did in the Philippines. Also, pray for another long-term missionary to come help out. There is talk of possibly teaching traditional birth attendants and/or doing more teaching in the community.
Having another midwife would free me up to do those things without feeling guilty that the rest of the work is being neglected. Plus, I’m seeing a TON of women for prenatals. If all of them take me up on my offer to deliver here.... I’m in trouble! Happy trouble, but trouble nonetheless. Pray for long-term laborers. Thanks.