Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Masterpiece~

She arrived as the sun settled for the day, streaming pinks and oranges across the clouded sky. One look and I knew she’d go quickly. The fact that she couldn’t sit down, coupled with the slow lean against the wall, whispered just how close she really was to delivering.

In long, fluid movements, her body masterfully danced to ancient rhythms, and another contraction flitted across her belly.

She’d birthed before... many times in fact, but this time she was choosing to birth with me. I couldn’t suppress the smile this brought to my heart, as I walked her into the clinic.

While checking heart tones and counting contractions, everything fell into place.  She settled in by making a nest on the floor, and I took my stool in the corner of the room.

I explained to my translator that she’d go quickly, and he should set up for the birth. He didn’t believe me, saying she was too composed and even able to walk on her own. I didn’t argue. I just smiled, wordlessly watching this masterpiece unfold.

A few minutes later, I realized I had forgotten my notebook back in my room. (It’s where I ‘chart’ the birth and frankly, I flounder without it.) However, to get it meant leaving her for five minutes. I wasn’t sure I should; it was that close. Weighing the pros and cons, I finally succumbed to tradition and hurried off.

Speed walking there and back, I couldn’t shake the urgency in my gut. My translator just laughed as I hustled passed him. However, when I returned, she was still laboring on the floor. Relieved, I found my seat and continued to watch quietly.

It was beautiful, languid and sweet.

Shifting her weight from one leg to the other, she crouched and then kneeled. Watching for the slightest shift and movement, I knew when she pushed that once.

When she did, a climatic splash clapped as a sea of salty water spilled across the floor. Our eyes connected and I moved. Wordlessly, I slipped the underpad beneath her body, then gloved up.

Seconds later, she mumbled something, but I had no idea what. (My translator was off chatting up his friend.) Her friend, however, pointed at her, indicating I should hurry.

Kneeling in front of her, I bent low to get a closer look; the head was already out! She was holding him in with her hands, so I placed my hands on hers, and together we delivered him.

Easy. Slow. Beautiful.

His cries brought my translator running, but there was nothing that needed to be said. So we just laughed and started to clean up the mess.

The rest of the birth went just as smoothly; placenta and postpartum melted together in a steady stream of laughter, as her friend relayed the story of her birth to two late comers.

When she finished telling her version, I pantomimed the birth from my perspective, re-enacting the one push, the splash and the baby’s birth. We couldn’t stop laughing!

A good day. A beautiful birth.

When I discharged her the following day, she thanked me over and over again. Through my translator, she thanked God that I had come, and prayed that I would be here for years and years.

I packed her kind words neatly in my heart. Every now and again when things get tough, I take them out. They remind me why I’m here -- to bless these women and show them the Love that changed my life. Jesus.

Thank you for praying for me. Tomorrow, the clinic staff plans to sit down and discuss the new building/clinic floor plan. Pray for wisdom and vision for us all. Pray the new clinic is completed soon. Thanks.