Friday, June 17, 2011

Birth by Flashlight.

Shortly before sunset, I got the tap at my door. James, one of our translators, had that look. The look of intense concentration that says ‘Come quick, I do not want to catch this baby by myself!’

Smiling, I gathered my stuff and hustled over. I found her by the clinic door in a lot of pain; the contractions were on top of one another. She could barely move two feet before the next one rushed her. Intense.

By the time I was able to check her in, I found out she’d been in labor for 24 hours. She told me her water broke at noon, and she immediately started pushing. (That was a full 7 hours before.) When the baby would not come, they decided to come for help. 

When I got around to doing a vaginal exam, she was 9 cm with an intact membrane. But because she had been pushing for so long at home, she no longer had the strength to do anything about it. She was exhausted.

I ruptured her membranes in hopes that it would bring her baby lower. It helped but not enough; she had nothing left to give.

As I stood there evaluating the situation, I wondered aloud to Sarah and prayed. What did THIS woman need most from me? I knew what I wanted for her. I wanted a peaceful, gentle birth where the midwife does nothing but keep the child from hitting the floor. I wanted that so very much. But we were past that point --way past.

What I saw was a desperately exhausted mother of soon-to-be six children in a lot of pain. Although her vitals were within limits, she was not doing well. Seven hours of ineffectual pushing at home, coupled with an hour’s walk across town, left her weary.

Do I act or let things develop on their own?

Finally, I threw out my ideals and started an IV. All she needed was a little push; I decided to augment her contractions and see if she could find that urge to push.

Two minutes after augmentation, the head was crowning.  She was big and beautiful... but blue. Or she seemed that way in the dim battery light. But within a few minutes her color pinked up nicely and we celebrated.

Aboung promptly breastfed her and fell asleep. Sigh. Thank you Lord!

Incidentally, she was my first flashlight birth. We are still working out the kinks in our electricity and had no other choice. Ha! I confess, I liked it. It was quiet, intimate and bug free.

However, please pray that our solar panels and battery packs get up and running soon. Thanks.