My interesting day at work and the imminent excitement of this weekend!
So, today started as any other normal day... I sat awkwardly in the medical ward office while the doctor and nurses chattered away in Swahili around me, just waiting to be needed.
- * Warning: Quasi-graphic scene described ahead!!! **
Another nurse popped her head in to get some hot water for the maternity ward, and informed me that there was a woman who had been in labor since 8 AM the previous day, and might give birth at any moment. The poor thing was dilated to 7 cms for over thirty hours... I ended up standing there for a few hours, just holding her hand and helping her breathe through the contractions. I was told that labor usually lasts 18 hours or less, and because this one was taking so long they were going to take her for a C section. As soon as they got her to sign the consent forms, this other Masaai woman is rushed in at 8 cms already, and the first woman was kind of put on the back burner I was watching this woman struggle and push when all of a sudden the first woman started to push, and next thing we knew the baby was crowning! Yay! That is a good thing, because a natural birth is preferred to a C section; the woman heals faster and is able to go home earlier. Anyway, I watched my first natural birth, and she had a beautiful baby boy named Julius. I'll save you the gory details, but I'll just say that I was so excited, and I had to stop myself from crying when it was over... So beautiful. And the mother was so grateful... she was my age, twenty years old, and she had no one there to help her through this... I guess that is just part of the culture. Anyway, I was standing near the Masaai woman on the other side of the room, just to stay out of the way. She was in a lot of pain, and one nurse decided to get her to stand up to help the labor along - you know, let gravity do its thing. All of a sudden, she starts to give birth! As she is standing! When we all realized what was happening, she stopped trying to stand up - her legs literally gave out and we had to lay her on the floor... it was still just me and the other nurse, and the baby was crowning, and I was holding his head! I barely had a clue as to what I was doing, and I was just vocalizing everything I did with the hopes that someone would stop me if I was doing something wrong... So I had the baby's head in one hand and I was lying the woman on the floor with the other hand, and she was pushing and the whole head was out, and by that time the other nurse had the head and was pulling by the neck so I reached in to find the shoulder because that was the one thing I learned from my BLS training... one shoulder at a time. Then the rest of the medical team was there and they finished the job, but I helped!!!! It was amazing! Unfortunately, the baby was not crying, which is a really bad sign. They were smacking the baby to get him to cry but it wasn't working, so they took him to the table with the other baby to work on him... meanwhile one nurse was still at the floor with the Masaai woman, and I somehow had the sense of mind to grab a tray for the placenta. We eventually got her back up onto the table and the nurse cleaned her up. I got to hold the first baby, Julius, while they were working on the other one. Both babies were perfect - both boys - and I congratulated both of the mothers (Hongera! in Swahili). At this point it was around 5 PM, and they had wheeled in two other ladies that were in labor but I was just so exhausted I had to go home... this was tricky because I had never gone home by myself before, but I made it home safe and sound. And now I'm going to bed before I am eaten alive by mosquitoes! I think I've killed 6 in the time it took to write this; not to mention the ones that got away! Oi.
Other great news! I am leaving for Safari tomorrow morning, thus the Simba reference in the title! If you are unable to reach me, its probably because I'm camping in the Serengeti :D I'll be back Monday, and I'll be sure to blog about all the giraffes I see!
Love you all,