Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Twins... but Three!

Madit... Ngor... and lil' Adwel!

Monday was another day of madness at the clinic. Thirty-eight woman lined up like eggs in a carton awaited me, pink prenatal book in hand. 

I gulped and smiled quickly in their direction as I entered the clinic, lifting both hands in greeting as I walked. Some laughed and greeted me in return.

Turning to my translator in mock disbelief I asked how many there were.
“There is many many. I think 38 but others still coming,” he said not hiding the strain in his voice.
“Sounds great,” I volleyed back at him trying to lift his spirits, “Let’s get started.”
                --Thirty-eight? How will I get through so many? 

After teaching them briefly on the importance of coming regularly and delivering at the clinic, I warned them of the evils of malaria. Thirty-eight shiny black faces watched me politely do my schpeal, getting up every now and again to stretch or spit.
               --Do they believe me, Lord?

Afterward, I called in patient after patient, measured bellies, palpated parts, and counted out the steady rhythm of electronic heartbeats.

Sometime midmorning the steady flow of preggos was interrupted by my translator:
 “Excuse mad’am Akuac (my Dinka name) there is a woman outside. She is come for her babies to be check.”
“Did she deliver with us?” I quarried. I tend to only do baby checks if they deliver at the clinic.
“No. She is deliver at home,” he said hesitantly while trying to meet my eyes and adding, “She deliver twins ... but three!” The excitement in his voice bordered on awe.
“Twins but three?” I asked, “Do you mean triplets?”
He nodded.
“Bring me her book.”

He filtered through the masses to get her book while I watched on tip-toes from my screened off window. I couldn’t get a good look because of the throng.

I quickly finished with the lady on my prenatal bed, prayed for her, then sent her on her way.
           --Triplets? Really, Lord? Triplets... and I missed it?

My translator returned with her book and I laughed as I quickly flipped through it.

I had seen her just once. During that prenatal I’d guessed her to be breech with polyhydramnios (aka: an overabundance of amniotic fluid). I also assumed she was term since her fundal height was 37 cm. (For those who don’t know, a fundal height is the size of a woman’s belly in centimeters which helps determine gestational age, etc.)

Not once did I suspect twins... let alone triplets! Ha ha!

Then it was my turn to wade through the crowds.

Three men sat in a row each holding a baby wrapped in various scraps of cloth; they smiled proudly as I lifted the make-shift blankets to glimpse their tiny cargo.

Preterm but apparently strong, I smiled in relief and asked if they had breastfed yet. I was informed that two had sucked just once but the smallest one wouldn’t.

I did a slow survey of the crowd of expectant faces and instantly recognized their mother. Tired and squatting low, she had a belly-band cinching her waist --a dead give-away. (Cultural note: woman wear strips of cloth around their bellies postpartum to help control bleeding.)

“Three?” I asked her with a smile.
She just nodded slowly in response.
“Why didn’t you come to let me help you?”
“I didn’t know I was in labor,” She explained, “I had no pain.”
“Really? No pain?” I asked in surprise. “That’s great!”

The rest of the morning we monitored the babies and got them stable. But other than a weak suck, they were doing well. When I got around to doing a Ballard’s score (aka: a way to determine a preterm baby’s gestational age) they fell into the 33 weeks range. That’s roughly 2 months early.

Their mother, Yar, is young, and this is only her second pregnancy. She’s just barely 20-years-old and now has 4 kids! Pray for her! Pray that she’ll fight to keep these babies well fed and that her milk will gush in!

Also pray for these little ones --they are two boys and a girl.
Boy #1: weighs 1.4 kg (3 lbs) who they’ve named Madit. He’s the oldest.
Boy #2: weighs 1.2 kg (2.6 lbs) who was born second and is named Ngor.
Girl #3: weighs just 1 kg (2.2 lbs) who is the cutest thing ever! She’s named after her grandmother, Adwel.

Please pray that they’ll thrive despite having the cards stacked against them. We know a God who is able to do this and oh so much more! I so desire for them to live!

They are my first triplets; but I especially like them because we share the same birthday! Yep. It was my birthday yesterday. And for it, God sent me twins... but three!

He he he.... best birthday present ever!

Oh... and I did eventually get to the rest of my prenatals. But some of them had to wait, literally all day. I finished seeing them at 6 pm. Yikes!

What a day!