Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A couple of days ago I was nestled all snug in my bed when I heard the familiar "whoop, whoop, whoop" of the ambulance. It was in the wee hours of the morning but since I'm trying to learn everything I can about OB in about 10 days (that's possible right?), I hauled myself down to the hospital to see what was going on.

When I got down there I found the midwife with a woman who had been laboring for about 36 hours. The fetal heart tones were low but when we were contemplating whether or not to do a c-section we realized that she had progressed too far and by the time we called everyone in for the OR, it would be too late. So we gave her some medicines, got out the vacuum (which is of course a manual hand pump vacuum)and gave that a try. Side note about the vacuum: It's great, and I've seen it work really well however, whenever you gently pull but the suction comes off, you get a face full of vacuum....and other gooey stuff. Not cool vacuum, not cool.

Anyway, we were vacuuming, she was pushing...but that baby just did not want to come out! Finally, after what seemed like forever, the baby came out. But he wasn't breathing. The other nurse worked with mom and I did my best to resuscitate baby. Unfortunately our resuscitation options are pretty limited. We gave him some oxygen and bagged him....but just couldn't get him to breath on his own. The books say that you work on them for about 20 minutes and if you don't get anything then you call it. Well, we worked on this guy for probably about 40 minutes. Just as were were getting ready to call it, I touched him and he took a small breath on his own. Oh man! Now what do we do? So we started again. We worked on him some more but just could not get him to breath on his own. So we called it again. It was frustrating because I felt like if we could have intubated him (stuck a tube down his throat to help him breathe) for just a little while, he probably would have done great!

After it was done I was just looking at him...and he looked so perfect!! 9 months of carrying this baby and nothing to show for it. I've noticed something about working in the OB. When they lose their baby, they don't wail in their grief like they do when they lose other family members. In fact, they don't even give their baby a name for 2 weeks. This mom didn't even cry. She just turned her head and slept most of the day.

A couple hours later another woman came in who had been in labor for over 24 hours as well. Her pelvis was really small and she was only a couple centimeters dilated so we headed off to the OR for a c-section. Both mom and baby did great. I love bringing a baby out of the OR because there's always a crowd around (family members and other random visitors at the hospital) who all want to see the baby. They're just so excited! It's quite a little high.

I felt like that day kind of summarized living in Sierra Leone. Everyone was so excited about this baby that had been born, but just a couple beds down was a woman who had lost hers. It was hard to feel complete excitement because I knew this woman was in so much pain. Sierra Leone is absolutely beautiful, but all around you are signs of so much poverty. So many people are loving and great, yet the corruption here is horrible!

Well, I don't mean to get all philosophical...just some thoughts that I had during that day. Living here often feels like living on a roller coaster.

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