Novelyn came to us in her second trimester of pregnancy for prenatal care. She was living about an hour outside of Tabuk at the time but she came faithfully for all her prenatal check-ups. There was something about this strong, determined woman that drew me to her and I took her as my “continuity of care” patient. A “continuity” patient is one that a midwife will choose to follow through her prenatal care, labor and delivery as well as postpartum even if they come in when the midwife is not on shift. I don’t often take patients like this because I am so busy, but I took Novelyn. During her pregnancy we were able to get to know each other and I had the opportunity to pray for her often. She was nervous about her delivery, which was normal, especially because her two previous deliveries had been difficult.
Novelyn came into the clinic in labor early one afternoon in April. My missionary Alex was helping me monitor her and everything was going well. After a few hours Novelyn’s labor started to get more intense and her bag of waters broke. The first thing a midwife does when the bag of waters breaks is to check the baby’s heartbeat to make sure that he/she is handling it well. We checked the heartbeat immediately and noticed that it was extremely low! I checked and felt that the baby’s cord had slipped over its head and was being compressed during the contraction. This is an obstetrical emergency call “cord prolapse” and the only course of action is to hold the baby’s head up off of the cord until an emergency C-section can be performed.
This is exactly what we did! I held up that baby’s head while Alex and some other staff carried Novelyn to the emergency vehicle and our emergency driver took us to the hospital 10 minutes away. Alex and I were praying out loud for the baby the whole way to the hospital. So that you know how amazing the next part of the story is, you have to know something about the hospitals in Tabuk. Even though we went to the private hospital where the care is considerably better than the public hospital – the hospitals are not staffed 24/7 with doctors and anesthesiologists. The operating rooms are not always ready to go in case of emergencies. Sometimes you will have to wait hours for a doctor to arrive or for the appropriate staff to be found. On some occasions we have had to pick up the staff ourselves at their homes.
We arrived at the hospital 10 minutes later and alerted the ER staff of the situation. They informed us that the doctor was just finishing up a C-section in the operating room and we would be taken in right after! We waited less than 30 minutes for the C-section and we were able to stay with Novelyn and I held the baby’s head off of the cord. We prayed for both of them the entire time. When we were wheeled in the OR it was only a matter of minutes before Novelyn was prepped and the doctor started the C-section. I got a close-up view of the operation as I was still holding the baby’s head! I kept my hand on the baby’s head right until I felt the doctor’s hands pull the baby out. She lifted out the baby and he gave a big cry and the whole OR staff cheered! We were all so happy! Usually if there has been a cord prolapse the baby doesn’t make it, so the staff were all so excited to see a healthy baby born!
I went to visit Novelyn and her baby at home two days later. We talked about what had happened and I explained exactly what was done and how much of a miracle it was that her baby was fine. She knew it already. She told me that the last thing she remembered in the OR as the anesthesia took effect was Alex right beside her, praying for her.
I am so thankful that we work for such a mighty and gracious God … and that he lets me be a part of amazing stories like this!