Last month I had an amazing opportunity to be a part of an unplanned home birth … well it wasn’t planned by me, but it might have been planned by the mom!
First of all, let me tell you a little bit about the mother. I have known her since she was eight years old. She was one of the kids who used to follow Crystal and I around Pakak when we would visit there back in 2004. I also took her for check-ups when she was 10 and it was discovered that she had TB of the spine. She was successfully treated and recovered well.
Late last year I heard that this dear girl, lets call her Sunshine, had gotten married and was pregnant. Talk about making me feel old! She had been away for a few years working in someone’s house and so I hadn’t seen her recently. When I saw her at our outreach to her village I was surprised to see a beautiful grown up young lady in place of a little girl.
Sunshine came for a few prenatal visits and we were able to provide her with all her prenatal tests. Her pregnancy was very straight-forward and she and baby were doing just fine.
I reminded Sunshine every time I saw her to text us whenever her labor starts and we could come pick her up and take her to the clinic. I said that I would love to be her midwife and she said “Ok”. Ha! I just love the no nonsense Butbut culture. She knew that it was a bigger blessing for me to be her midwife than for her to have me as her midwife!
So one evening last month we got a text that Sunshine was in labor and that we should come and get her quickly. Alex, Claire and I jumped in the car and took off. We knew from prior experience that when the ladies from the village text us, we might only have minutes to get there before the baby is born.
We arrived to find her very close to delivery. She was in her one room, bamboo house with the wind blowing through, keeping it nice and cool. The house soon was surrounded with kids, teenagers and mothers of the community that all had arrived to cheer her on. Sunshine’s mother was also there giving her support in between nursing her own young child.
We set up the emergency birth bag that we always bring with us just in case we can’t get back to the clinic in time – like this time!
Soon Sunshine was pushing and a little while after, a perfect little boy was born. It seemed like the whole village was outside excited to meet the baby. Most of Sunshine’s younger brothers and sisters were in the house and all so excited to meet their nephew.
After the birth Sunshine’s husband asked around if anyone had something to eat for dinner (it was past dinnertime) and no one did. They found some dried beans in the house and put on a pot of rice. Within an hour after the birth we encouraged Sunshine to go and urinate in order to prevent her from bleeding too much. Well, with no bathroom in sight she went outside and found a private bush. While she was doing this her mother got a bucket of water and rinsed out the house. It was an easy task as the floors were made of bamboo and there were big spaces that went through to the ground below.
We checked mom and baby again and then headed back to the clinic.
We midwives all had the biggest smiles on our faces as we drove home.
I had the biggest smile of all as I was so happy that I could help my dear young friend Sunshine as she became a mother.