Thursday, March 13, 2008
Pain. (not for the faint of heart, read with caution)
Greetings. Thank you for all the comments on last post. Especially the encouragements. We are walking into a busy season filled with visitors for water stuff, journeys for Tim, and continued pregnancy growth for me. Praise God! So thank you for keeping us in your prayers.
And then there's the birth room.
Yesterday was a very painful day. Labor is always painful, but this was painful on every account.
I woke up in the morning with a mild headache.....it turned migraine material by 2 pm. Just in time for my swing shift. I had to leave swing shift for a little over 2 hours for class, but managed to check on my dear patient, J, who was laboring in the birth room since 11 am that morning.
She was doing great. Laboring well with hardly a sound. Her vital signs were great, she was somewhat active, but not pushy yet. And that's where I began to hear her painful story.
Her sister came to be her Bantay (watcher) but had to leave....then her boss came in. Her boss spoke excellent English and seemed to be a very helpful woman....very engaging and was even going to pay J's medical bill! But then she began to tell me J's story.....and J continued to labor.
Her boss told me that J had liked this older man and upon a visit home to see her mother, had been raped by him. She proceeded to tell me what a horrible man he was and how "dumb" she was for ever wanting to be with him....how this baby was a punishment to her for her "sins" and that she would "pay" the rest of her life.
Totally appalled and heartbroken, I stopped her boss and looked at J and said, "Your baby is not a punishment...it is a blessing and a gift and God will keep you strong for your baby". To which her boss said, "She has to be strong....she's doing it alone!" I once again stopped her and said, "She is NOT alone!" Between the Lord, the four midwives, and her sister, she was gonna be fine. Needless to say, this boss had ticked me off enough. After defending J again and again from the lies that satan would want her to believe about her baby for another hour, I finally asked this boss to step out and allow her sister to come back. I used some medical reasons, so I wouldn't get in trouble....she left....
From there, J's contractions became more severe, more painful and I began to realize just how much pain she was going through for a baby she didn't want....didn't want to fight for....and yet, was so willing to go through it all for this baby.
Now "normal labor" is painful on its own, but her labor took a drastic turn and her pain became an incredible sacrifice for an innocent life...a blessing and not a punishment.
At 6 pm, my supervisor, Ate Elai, gave me permission to do another internal exam to check her progress. Her baby had dropped significantly and so did the baby's heart tones. Her cervix was not dilating all the way around, so we had her on her hands and knees doing pelvic rocks. Less than an hour later, she was ready to push....and I mean READY!
Ate Elai did one more internal exam to make sure it was time, but the baby's heart tones were continuing to drop....80, 70, 90. Ate stimulated the head....100. They have to stay above 120. J was exhausted. We put her on oxygen and gave her an IV. Baby's heart tones increased to 116. We needed to get the baby out now.
I will try to save you the gory details, but I believe it is important to understand the severity of the situation and the amount of strength and sacrifice J went through to meet her baby. The one her family referred to as her punishment.
From there, J pushed....with the help of me and her sister, she braced her legs on us and pushed some more....then her sister fainted. One less bantay. We now needed more midwives in there to care for the bantay, monitor the IV, brace the patient pushing, monitor the heart tones and tend to her oxygen....then suddenly the birth room was full...and all but one patient was pushing.
J continued to push....puffy-eyed, in and out of consciousness....she pushed in many different positions....baby's heart tones were steady at 90. Ate Elai needed to give the baby more room and quickly cut an episiotomy (which we seldom do). By 8:40 pm, J was so exhausted, we were praying, yelling at her encouragements, her bantay in and out of fainting....the birth room full, and the need for other midwives was very clear. We called for reinforcements.
But then, J pushed her hardest push and baby's head began to come....blue and with a caput, the baby's head popped out sporting a triple cord coil....yes, the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby's neck tightly 3 TIMES. No wonder the baby was having trouble breathing! I delivered the baby at 8:49 pm with Ate Elai unwinding the cord. We put the baby on her momma and fought to get her baby crying...breathing....something.
J immediately began to lose a lot of blood and turned white nearly passing out....her episiotomy bleeding profusely.....baby began to breathe....sister came-to.....baby was a beautiful girl. But it wasn't over, yet. J continued to bleed despite efforts to stop it. We passed the baby to another midwife...the midwives from upstairs came to join in the chaos and we tried to keep J awake....exhausted and pale, she turned a scary shade of white. We quickly prepared her for transport to the hospital for a possible blood transfusion. Oxygen and IV on her the whole time, we made it safely to DMC and raced her in..... with Ate Elai, Ate Susan, Rose, and me, we all had a job...between carrying the cloth stretcher, oxygen tank, IV and chart, we were a force to be reckoned with....DMC gave us pretty fast service and we had to say goodbye to J....her baby still at Mercy.
Still with the migraine...mild contractions, pain in every muscle from various contortions during the pushing stage, I was ready to collapse. So was Ate Elai. But the baby was healthy. Strong...and her momma would be okay. I cried. When we got back to Mercy, the place was buzzing....more labors had come in....more babies had been born, two women were transported, then one more was ready to go, some premature, some breech. Many of the students from the Orange House came over to hold the orphaned baby without a name or just help clean up the intense amount of bodily fluids.
And J's baby girl was given a chance at life...another postpartum patient who delivered a boy nursed J's baby for the evening to keep her healthy. The pics above are of the little girl....looking for food...and there's me...looking like I'd been beat with a stick....not too far from the truth, though....but happy to be holding the precious little lady. She's beautiful and I am so grateful for her life and her momma's perseverance to give her life. And I was overwhelmed with the reminder of how much Christ suffered to give us a chance....He fought for me...even moreso than J did for her little one. Whew. I was a mess. Nobody would have blamed her if she had just done away with the pregnancy or gave the baby up....but she fought for her daughter's life.
How precious is this child to God!!! And after witnessing all that occurred last night, I was even more convinced of the preciousness of this baby.
To update a little on my nephew, Levi, Andy and Ruth's baby set to be born in August....please continue to pray. The doctor is no longer concerned about Trisonomy 18, but wants to recheck in 6 weeks to make sure. The cysts on Levi's brain are still there, so please keep them in your prayers.
Thank you again for all your encouragement and faithfulness in praying for us, our families, our patients and friends. We are so grateful.