Saturday, February 5, 2011

Missed it by minutes!

Nyankiir came in around eleven this morning. Since she was in early labor (short, moderate contractions), I chose not to do a vaginal exam and she chose to walk around a bit. Two sweet women followed her every step (she was in good hands), so I left her to it. 

Since I was teaching the Community Health Workers when she came in, something I/We do every Saturday, I returned to class intending to check on her in an hour. She knew to call if she needed to push or if her water broke; She promised she would.

An hour later, when I went to check on her, I found her kneeling in the dirt beside one of our buildings. Her mother kneeling in front of her, held a squawking little girl in her arms! I had missed the birth by minutes. Her birth brought the usual crowd and I shooed them away. Surprisingly, they listened and left us a tiny alcove of serenity.

My translator, quick on the draw, ran for gloves, scissors and a basin. I cut the cord and helped ease out the placenta, then together we walked back to the clinic. I asked her if the baby came too fast for her to call for help and she nodded. She explained that she was just going to poop and the baby came instead.

Smiling at her surprise, I told her that it was quite common. At first, I don’t think she believed me, but with time, she didn’t seem to mind either way. She only cared about the precious babe in her arms.

I’m going to have to be more vigilant now that I’m opting out on vaginal exams! I was sure she was in earlier labor. Next time, I’ll use the birth as an excuse to get out of class and stop trying to do so much at one time.

Side Note: Her birth was the third one today. Early this morning, Margaret (our illustrious Nurse-Midwife) delivered two babies within 30 minutes. That brings us to a grand total of seven births in the last five days. I’m so happy watching this program grow, but I know we could be doing a lot more. Pray for God’s very best to be lived out in this work and for us to find culturally sensitive ways to share the gospel. Thanks.