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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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!)