Sabbath Gift

GUESS WHAT!!!!  If you read my previous post I’m pretty sure you might be able to guess what DID happen this week-end. 🙂

It started like this…

Craig was past due for a haircut in a major sort of way.  And since I’m his new beautician, as soon as breakfast clean-up was done, I got out my new haircutting scissors, a comb, and started clipping away.  A little bit later, while I’m evening things out, someone comes to the door and says there is a laboring mom at the clinic.

WHAHOO!!!  I’ve been waiting since January 2 for this day.  I wasn’t going to miss it this time.  I looked at Craig and said, “I think your haircut looks great”, dropped the comb and scissors on the counter, and ran off—leaving my poor husband in a puddle of hair.

Labor ward beside the clinic

I caught my breath and realized I had some time.  For all my “Palace Friends” I know you need the nitty gritty details.  Here ya go— Gravida 3, para 2.  Full term.  5cm and ballotable.  Amniotic sac intact.  By leopold’s maneuver I’m assuming vertex and a singleton pregnancy.  GBS unknown, of course.

My first time looking around the labor room while the patient ambulates outside.

My knee jerk reaction is to grab the fetal monitors, open a fancy admission kit, and prepare my delivery table.  Oh, and can I get an epidural please?

But it doesn’t work that way here.  My monitors are my hands on her abdomen.  My admission kit is a clean shitangi laid on the bed and a box of gloves.  My epidural is a touch of love, applying counter pressure during her back labor, coached breathing techniques, and words of encouragement.  My delivery table is ready with a cord clamp, sterile scalpel, and a couple hemostats.  I eyeball the drugs I have available for worst case scenario.

I noticed a band of short horizontal scars across her lower back and wrapped around her abdomen.  I asked her what they are for.  She said they practice witch craft in the villages where she works, and that was to protect her from the curse of bleeding continuously.  I wanted to tell her there’s a much better way to protect yourself from the devil—but now wasn’t the time.

Checking on the big sister waiting outside the labor room.

She was very hypertensive and her labor stalled out at 8cm for several hours. Her contractions began spacing out.  I was getting nervous.  I frequently checked fetal heart tones with the awesome doppler I was gifted before leaving work.  Baby sounded reassuring.  I shut my eyes and imagined what it might look like on a printed strip.  After reading fetal strips for 12 years, you learn to correlate the visual print out with how it audibly sounds.  This was the best I could do.

She was getting tired and her expression weary.  When her labor started stalling I decided to teach her that trusty little trick—labor nurses you know what I’m talking about.  After working on it about 45 seconds she moaned through an intense contraction.  When it was over she looked at me funny and said… “now why didn’t you tell me about that sooner?”  We got the contractions every 2-3 minutes, but still, no change.

We walked.  We squatted.

Then I remembered that other trusty little trick—the peanut ball!  Yes, palace friends,  I made a peanut ball.  With every towel and blanket I could find, with a little extra bulk added the sides of my roll, and a clean sheet tucked around the bundle, we had ourselves an original Zambian peanut ball, and it was put to the test!

Mudenda, a local nurse who had been checking in, stayed at the bedside now to monitor her blood pressure and administer some meds.

Eventually, she was complete.  After about 18 hours of labor she was ready to push.

The sun was setting right at this time and a warm glow streamed through the open window.  Sabbath was here, and from our local church just down the road, we could hear the rich harmonies of hymns being sung.  I felt like we were being serenaded by the gorgeous voices of those worshiping God. It was beautiful. I paused momentarily to take in the holy atmosphere.  Fresh energy renewed us all.  We were about to meet this precious little baby.

At 1835, the cutest little Zambian girl was born.

My first delivery here in Zambia.

Mudenda and I affirmed our patient for her long hard work.  We then smiled and decided we made a good team too.  And in my heart, I praised God for being the Great physician and taking care of us all.

Happy Sabbath world.

Happy birthday little girl.  I just realized I never learned your name.  But we will meet again soon.  I’m sure it will be just as gorgeous as you are.

Beautiful Zambian girl.


And far as Craig’s unfinished haircut goes…  I’ll fix any gaps or long strands before we go to church in the morning… lol.

(This story was written last week-end.  I’m glad I got to finally post it!)

21 thoughts on “Sabbath Gift

  1. Oh Alicia what a wonderful story! Thank you so much for sharing. Gotta love the peanut ball for those obstaninate little bundles. I would love your address also.

  2. So sweet. I thought at one time, I would be in Pakistan delivering but God had other plans. Praying for you in this new adventure. Sounds so wonderful. Midwifery is the best and the hardest…the most Holy moments

  3. WOW, just WOW! Congratulations! Your story made me feel as if I was right there in the room with you, cheering for all three, well, four of you. You are such a blessing to the people who need you in Zambia…and a huge blessing to me too! Happy “Birth” Day! <3

  4. Loved reading this Alicia!! See how the Lord uses all your gifts and training to bring this baby into the world!! Teach those midwifery techniques and labor support to your clients and they’ll pass on by word of mouth. You’ll never know how far your knowledge will go.

  5. Oh my heart! I could feel all of the emotions with you as I read your blog! I am so proud of you! Praying for you and your mission!

    1. Ashley, I am wishing more and more that I would have followed you and the girls in getting my NP. I realize the value of education here more than ever before. But I am learning a lot on the job and admiring all my NP friends in the process. 😉

  6. I loved reading this Alicia! You are such a sweet person inside and out and an awesome nurse! Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  7. What a beautiful story! God knew exactly what you’d need and prepared you ahead of time with experiences that you could bring to mind to help you care for this woman and child! So inspiring! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Congrats on your first baby – in Africa. Can we mail you things there? I would be happy to send a peanut and a birthing ball. Send me your address. I love reading your blog. Thank you so much for sharing. Hugs & Kisses, Mother Martha

    1. I’m so glad you are enjoying them Mother Martha! Our address is-
      Riverside Farm Institute
      P.O. Box 53
      Kafue, Zambia Africa
      I promise you it is expensive to mail things so no obligation to do so. But IF anyone ended up sending something for the clicic… it would certainly be appreciated. Any extra EDC wheels laying around??? 😉

  9. What a beautiful labor story! God is using you in ways you may not be able to imagine. Such a beautiful Sabbath blessing! Yet another awesome experience and story from your experiences on Africa! Thanks for sharing.

  10. I loved reading this and was so excited for you to get to assist with this amazing delivery and work God has called us to do! I feel like I can hear the joy in your voice 🙂

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