Thursday, February 23, 2012

Five Boys! Six Girls!


I’ve delivered 11 babies in the last 10 days. It felt busy, but it didn’t occur to me that I had been that busy until I counted. I can’t help but smile though, as I read their stories and remember.

My Valentine’s day baby --a boy-- was born during staff devotions. I remember how quiet the clinic was for a change since everyone was in the meeting. What a delightful birth!

The next day, Ajer delivered in a grand total of 45 minutes! Both she and her son had fevers and required lots of care, but they recovered in time.

Later that night Adut also delivered in record breaking time, then walked home an hour later!

The following morning Amour arrived looking active. Even though she had never come for prenatals and lived in Juba, her family insisted she deliver with us since I had delivered her sister’s baby a few months ago.

They also explained that Amour’s first baby had died during the delivery because the TBA had “strangled the baby” on the way out. They did not want that to happen again. Why a TBA might do such a thing... I cannot say. But I was glad when she delivered without any complications a little while later.

The next birth was a few days later. Although only six months along, Adhar went into labor after contracting a viral infection. Her contractions had kept her awake the night before, but she did not think it was labor since “her months were not finished”.

Only when her water broke bringing forth more blood than amniotic fluid, did she come for help. But by then, there was little we could do. Her precious boy lived only a few minutes. He was just too small.

Later that night, Anhiem came in fully dilated with twins. My helper and I had just enough time to set up the room, when her little girl was born. The first twin weighed only 1.5 kg (or 3.3 lbs) and was small even for her gestational age (SGA) of 34 weeks.

However, her second twin did not want to come. Five minutes turned into ten, and the twin seemed no closer to coming. The heart tones were in the right position for the breech presentation, and when I reached in to check, I felt a knee.

Or so I thought.

After 15 minutes of pushing, we could no longer find heart tones and I called for back up. Margaret came and agreed that the baby must be dead.... but how? Why?

She redid the vaginal exam and pulled out and arm.

An arm!

Then it all made sense. The baby was not breech but transverse. The leg was an arm. There must have been some kind of cord compression... or prolapse. And the baby died.

We ended up transporting her to Wau for a cesarean, and she got her surgery the following morning. My heart is broken over this loss. Honestly, I can’t stop thinking about it.

The next morning, another boy was born just before church! His mom arrived fully and pushed him out within minutes.

However the following birth was not so lucky.

Nyankiir arrived at 9 cm but stayed there for 4 1/2 hours. The head descended but much slower than seemed normal for a G7 (aka woman expecting her 7th child). Since four of her previous babies died during the birth, I confess I got a bit nervous. What if she needed a cesarean? What if this baby was too big for her pelvis?

So we prayed, encouraged, did exercises, and then prayed some more. Eventually her girl made her debut though; she was born with both a nuchal hand and a tight nuchal cord. What an honor to be a part of her birth! (Kerri also wrote about her birth on her blog.)

What else? What else... ?       Okay. Right.

So last night I was called again by the guard to come quickly. I arrived to find Veronica sweating large beads of sweat, and the look she gave me meant business.

Remarkably she was able to hold off pushing until the room was readied. But then two minutes later her girl was born!

The laughter in the room when her friends arrived was priceless. Their happy chatter and excitement filled the room with joy, making the night feel like day. She too ended up walking home within an hour of so of birth. Remarkable.

Then today there were two more births. Atong delivered at noon after laboring all night at home. Her baby was small but healthy. And just as I was getting ready to transfer her to the observation room, Rebecca arrived.

I was surprised to learn that Rebecca wanted to deliver with us even though she’d never delivered any of her babies at a clinic... nor had she ever come for prenatal care. I didn’t have much time to question her about it though... as she started pushing almost as soon as she arrived.

Her little girl was born 5 minutes later!

Please pray for these moms and babies. Pray for health! Pray for salvation! Pray for healing! And ... pray for me. I think we are heading back into another busy season. Thanks.