Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Labor of Love

The day started off with the ring on my alarm. I quickly got up and ready for the day. As I walked to the clinic, I wondered what the Lord had in store. I prayed that it would include welcoming a little baby into  the world.

I arrived and noticed that the clinic was very busy. There were numerous postpartum patients and one laboring mother. This was her 3rd baby in under 4 years. She was only 22! I received care of this young mother and noticed right away that she was exhausted. "Yan-yan" told me that she had not slept a moment all night. She labored very quietly and rarely spoke, however, when she did it was in perfect English.

I had evaluated her a few hours later and determined that she was progressing in her labor, though by conventional estimation she may still have a few hours of labor left. She desired to be alone, so I went to assist with other activities. About 40 minutes later, a midwife who was at the clinic for a baby postpartum check came and said that "Yan-yan" was looking for help.

As the supervising midwife and I entered the cubicle, I saw her bag of waters had broken and 3cm of thick black hair was visible. We moved into position and moments later welcomed a little girl with a healthy set of lungs. Jamara was born at 10:04am and weighed 3200g.

"Yan-yan" did hemorrhage, but with a little help, the bleeding quickly subsided and mother was stabilized. A few hours later, I helped the new family settle in the postpartum area. Little Jamara was quite adorable and her parents were so happy. After endorsing her care to the next shift, I left the clinic.

I had no sooner walked out the clinic door than  my cellphone alert noted that I had a text message. I guessed who it was and was correct. My continuity patient "Nene" (whose last baby I welcomed in 2013) was having regular contractions 20-30 minutes apart. I asked how she was and if she would be able to labor at home. She areed that would be best and would text me later with an update. This was her 3rd baby. I was pretty sure that I would be back at the clinic later.

I returned to the dorm and decided to shower and make dinner for my house. Some of the visiting girls would be leaving soon and had requested for me to make the meal I had cooked upon their arrival. I was happy to help and soon the meal was simmering on the stove. (A recipe the Hedgehog balls is here- do note the name is due to the spiny appearance, not to meat content ;) ).

After having some dinner, I went to rest. I knew that the night could be long. My phone had been plugged in and charging. I had the feeling I should check it again before I slept. For some strange reason, until I unplugged it, messages had not come through. Suddenly, I saw that "Nene" was at clinic and the guard was on his way. I quickly threw on the scrubs I had laid out, grabbed my backpack and raced down the stairs. Then I rushed back, grabbed my glasses and hurried back down. Once in the ambulance, I put my hair up and prepared myself for what I may find.

Once at the clinic, "Nene" was so excited to see me. We soon found that she was very actively in labor. I prayed with her and helped her breathe through the hard contractions. She smiled and hummed her own tune softly between contractions. I rubbed her back as she swayed back and forth, slowly working baby's head lower into the pelvis with each contraction.

A little while later, she was ready to push. Her breathing became grunts and the supervising midwife entered the cubicle along with other supporting midwives. After talking with "Nene" one midwife was chosen to photograph the birth. As I asked "Nene" if she would want this she very animatedly told me yes, that would be wonderful.

With the next contraction, her bag of waters burst. Try as I may, there was no escaping the huge gush of warm fluid. Despite "Nene" having the urge to push, we encouraged her to breathe. One of the midwives grabbed a clean scrub shirt and helped me change in the next cubicle so I could rapidly return to be with "Nene".

A few minutes later, baby slowly emerged. The cord was wrapped very tightly around baby's neck. After a little struggle, baby was somersaulted, untangled and placed on mother's abdomen. Baby was pale and floppy. One midwife suctioned baby, another provided oxygen. I explained to frantic "Nene" what was going on. Then baby cried and Momma cried.

A moment later I encouraged "Nene" to see if this was a boy or girl. After having 2 previous boys, she had hoped and prayed for a daughter. As the midwife lifted the baby, I watched "Nene's" priceless reaction. She was beyond thrilled! It was an amazing blessing! She finally had her baby girl! I was very honored when she shared with me baby's name- Mhelsie Sarah. My first Filipino namesake!

A few hours later after being stabilized from her hemorrhage and being sutured (it was a somewhat complicated tear) mother and baby were moved to postpartum. It was after 11pm. When paper work was finished and the new midwife informed, it was time for me to return to the dorm.

The guard brought me back in the ambulance. I unpacked my bag, showered, and prepared for bed. It had been over 20 hours since my head had touched my pillow. Sleep was welcome. Tired as I was, while I was dozing off, this thought kept coming to mind- "the miracle of birth is so beautiful! I love what I do! I am so blessed!"

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