I’m not sure if these women are just genetically made better for birthing babies, if they are part superwoman with incredible strength, or if 90% of the women I’ve labored in my hospital career (myself included) are just wimpy.  

The way they stay so composed during childbirth.  They way they walk out an hour later for a hike up and over the mountain back home. I’m used to moms huffing and puffing.  Screaming and crying for their epidurals.

Not these women.  Not this one.

Just before lunch I got a call on my phone that there was a mom at the clinic 10 cm dilated.  When I barged into the labor ward, hoping I hadn’t missed the delivery, there she was, very relaxed, and even a tiny bit chatty.  She looked to be in no apparent distress.  During a contraction she grimaced like she stubbed her toe.  But without the sound effects to go with it.

There was nothing dramatic about this birth.  The atmosphere was laid back and peaceful as we all let nature take its course.

At 1251 a baby girl was born!

Delivering a baby girl at the clinic

I turn to my right and laugh with grandma as she dances!  I felt my own euphoria after the safe and easy delivery.

Grandma doing a happy dance.


Mary, the primary nurse on duty today joins them for a photo.

Mary joins the family for a photo.

After a few minutes, I wrapped and handed the baby off to the Grandmas and joined Mary in tending to the mother.  Still waiting on the placenta…  Through the curtain I kept hearing my name come up over and over in the mix of a Tongan conversation.  I finally asked Mary what they were talking about.  She said they were naming the baby after me.  They were practicing how to pronounce it. 🙂

A-LEE-Sya, A-lee-SEE-ya, A-lee-see-A….

My first namesake!!! I couldn’t have been more honored.

And I might be biased, but I really do think she might be the prettiest little Alicia I’ve ever seen too.

Meet Alicia.

18 thoughts on “Namesake

  1. What an exciting story and what an honor! Alicia the birth description you just wrote sounded the same as if I were to write about your births with your children. Superwoman and calm.

  2. ALICIA, they don’t respond the way we see our patients respond because they have grown up seeing babies birthed natural their entire lives. They expect it to hurt but not be unbearable, and to do what has to be done. Our patients too many times have been conditioned to think that labor and delivery is supposed to be pain free and they deserve it that way. Such a surprise when it actually hurts.
    So glad you have a sweet namesake. My question is what’s your backup if there is a problem with mom or baby?
    Love your blogs. PAM

    1. Pam! So good to hear from you! Good points 😉
      As for your question, our back up for complications is the closest hospital via ambulance that would have to be called in that situation. The traditional deliver-baby-at-home in the villages is still common, and does come with high mortality rates. The Zambian health districts encourage deliveries at the closest clinics that have been equipped with some emergency meds/supplies for those who will not/cannot deliver at the hospital. So lots of prayer and intuition for each delivery is essential 🙂

  3. Oh Alicia what an awesome story! Such a blessing to have it go the way God intended! Your right she is beautiful. Miss you bunches! I had a patient years ago name her baby after me can you believe it😂. Years later at East I was assigned the 7:30 csection and low and behold it was Vounett my namesake! I am awed how God works these things out! Saw her mom and she refreshed my memory on her own birth, wow!

  4. Congratulations! That is so wonderful. I miss you so much and love it every time I see a new post. This one was special! Love Mother Martha

  5. Loved your story. I can testify to the reality. I worked as the Midwife at Yucca Mission Hospital there in Zambia 1988 – 89 such a wonderful experience. I left part of my heart there for sure. I love hearing your stories. May God continue to bless you and your family.

    1. Really? I had no idea you worked here in Zambia! I’m sure you have many stories yourself to share. 😉

  6. Absolutely inspiring! What a wonderful story! Bless you always for your selfless sacrifice! You are such a beautiful woman with a lovely heart!!

  7. What an awesome story! What a beautiful person and name to name this beautiful baby after. I must ask, was this her first baby? Keep posting your lovely experiences for those of us with no mission experience to read! Makes me smile when I read your stories! Hugs to you!

  8. How sweet and personal! I’m so happy for you and the blessing you are to those women. And a name sake is so special. Great job! they just trust their bodies to do what it was designed to do:)

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