Family Outing to a Birth
Family Outing To a Birth
My days lately have all been running together, but sometime before Christmas we experienced a new type of family outing… to the birth of a baby. We were enjoying dinner out with a couple who are considering returning to Madagascar when I received a text from the doctor I’m working with. First time mom, 35-weeks along in her pregnancy and 4 centimeters dilated. Could I come? Absolutely! We finished dinner, paid the bill, dropped our new friends off and came home to pick up my gear. I couldn’t remember how to get to the doctor’s house where deliveries occur after clinic hours, especially not in the dark (remember there’s no street signs… so make a left 200 meters before the blue house, turn right where the road goes down just a little, cross the little creek but put the car in 4WD before doing so.. you get the idea). So while home, we quickly changed the kids into their PJ’s, brushed their teeth, grabbed their blankets and were off again. The plan was that Jamie would drop me off and then have to leave in the middle of the night to come pick me up after the baby was born…. not an ideal situation but the situation nonetheless. At this time, note to self… learn how to drive to the doctor’s house!
We get to the doctor’s house and the mom is laboring well. She’s strong, she’s doing well, the baby is doing well. She’s 7cm dilated. Jamie and the kids are outside the small birthing room, waiting to get the go-ahead that they can go home and go to sleep. The mom’s labor is progressing nicely except one major problem… the baby is not descending. Labor continues, 9 cm dilated. Baby is still not descending but is still doing well. We wait, and wait. Jamie drives the kids around, they fall asleep in the car. Jamie returns to the doctor’s house and waits more… he falls asleep in the car too. Labor continues but mom is getting tired, she’s been working hard for a really long time and yet the baby is still not descending. We do a lot of discussing and finally the doctor decides it’s time to go to the hospital. There are just too many risks involved…. premature baby, NO oxygen, a fatigued mom and baby who isn’t descending.
I walk to the car and wake up my husband, “Jamie, we’re going to the hospital… and we’re taking the laboring mom’s family”. The laboring mom and her husband get in the doctor’s car. We rearrange our sleeping kids and load up the sister, the grandmother and a few other relatives in our car and at 10:30pm we’re traveling on the narrow pot-hole ridden roads to the hospital. 11:45pm and the mom is in surgery having a c-section and just after midnight, a new baby girl has entered the world weighing just over 5 pounds. The reason for the baby’s inability to descend… a cord wrapped around her neck 3 times!! Both mom and baby are doing well. We congratulate everyone and at 1am we pull up into our driveway, finally put the kids into their beds where they continue sleeping.
Amongst other lessons learned that night, there were two really good reminders… first, I have an amazing, easy going and patient husband! Second, life on the mission field is always an adventure…. especially when it includes loading up one’s family and total strangers in the middle of the night for an outing to a birth!
** Just when you think the story is over… it’s not! There’s more after-birth, hospital-based drama to come. Check back for the story to continue.
The family and Dr. Candide (foreground) whom I work with, patiently waiting during the c-section.
welcome to the world little one…
surgical nurse, Dr. Candide, and father of the baby….
proud papa and his new daughter….