Sunday, February 21, 2010

2/16/10 The Night Shift

Everyone once in awhile there is this mark on the board: BBA. It stands for born before arrival. Baby is born at home and then they come in or it is born on the bus on their way to the hospital. For whatever reason baby doesn’t wait until the delivery room. Even though most of the time I am clueless that it is coming I know when its happening because a wheelchair heads into the delivery room instead of out of it (most women walk into the delivery room when they are in labor). Last night there was such a wheelchair so I followed it into the room to see if I could help with something. This woman could not even get up out of the chair. The boyfriend, the student nurse and the midwife lifted her out of the wheelchair and set her on the delivery bed. As she settled on the bed I noticed that her arms and legs were covered in bruises. I gasped. I thought DIC a disorder where the body clots and bleeds and nearly always causes death. Then I noticed her hands were huge and swollen. Lissie pointed out the bruises to me, as if I hadn’t already noticed. She had the umbilical cord hanging out of her, so we grabbed a clamp delivered the placenta. I heard them inquiring about the whereabouts of the baby. I gathered that the baby had not lived and had been left with the grandparents at home. The boyfriend was sent out of the room as we delivered the placenta and after it was determined she had no tears, the energy of the room settled and Lissie asked what had happened. He eyes were white and glazed over and she had barely spoken a word since she arrived. Just whispering her name and address as I filled out her intake. There was a woman with her from her villiage, she stroked her head and told her to tell the doctors the truth to tell us what happened. First it came in small bits and slowly she got comfortable and the story unfolded from the beginning. On Sunday, her boyfriend had become suspicious that she was having relations with another man, so he began to beat her (7 months pregnant) with a stick to try and get her to admit it. This went on all day and all night, she was not allowed to sleep. He told her if she would just tell him the truth he would stop, so she told him that it was true so that he would stop. He continued to hit her wanting her to divulge details, which she was unable to provide since nothing had happened. This went on through Monday and into Tuesday morning. He pushed her and she landed with her belly on a table. Her water broke. She tried to tell him she was going to deliver and to get help but he thought she was lying so instead he kept hitting her with the stick. The word for hit or strike in Bislama is killim. I sat there listening to the story thinking of the irony of that. She was describing it, “he was killim mi, killim me.” Which sounds like he was killing me, killing me. And in fact he had, only he killed his daughter. She was born dead in his home and only then did he go and get someone to get his girlfriend to the hospital. Lissie suggested that she file a police report and press charges but I think she was too scared. She made me promise noone would see the history I had taken. Then he stayed there in the hospital most of the night, caring for her in this very sweet way. For her protection I had to force myself to look down each time I saw him so that he wouldn’t see my rage, that I knew the truth.

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