Thursday, September 16, 2010

Greetings from Vanuatu

To my family and friends, I have arrived safely in Vanuatu after a little over thirty hours of travel and have spent two wonderful days in the Maternity Ward here. The people of Vanuatu are incredibly welcoming and have made me feel at home from the start. I plan to take some photos soon and post them to let you witness the beauty of Vanuatu -- both the people with their warm smiles and the lush vegetation and spectacular views. Here is a brief summary of my first day:

Day 1: Wednesday, Sept. 15th 2010
I arrived a few minutes before 7 for the morning rounds. This is the time when the charge nurse gives her report from overnight to the new nurse coming on duty. I learned that they had quite the busy night at seven births and that we currently had five women in labor. It turned out to be quite an exciting first day. A midwife from New Zealand was able to give me a quick tour of the ward and location of supplies. Then we were off... As we were finishing up our tour a mother in active labor presented at the front desk so we began the process of checking her in. I set her up on a twenty minute CTG strip, took her vitals, and checked her cervix. She was a primip (first time mom) and 8 centimeters dilated. Things appeared to be proceeding quickly so we brought her back to the birthing rooms. Within an hour and half she had a small anterior lip, but not quite complete or fully as they like to call it here. The mom desperately wanted to push, but we instructed her to pulum gud wind (take deep breaths) and not sit sit (push) with the next few contractions. She was soon complete and then pushed for a little over 35 minutes which they consider a long time here. Moms here are incredible pushers and generally push for less than 10 minutes. I think the mother expected to not push for so long and kept asking when the baby would come.

As I was managing this momma's delivery, the other three beds in the birthing suite became occupied as three momma's began pushing. I quickly finished up with my momma and went to see if I could be of assistance in the other births. The next baby to be born had a nuchal cord that was not able to be reduced. They aren't familiar with somersaulting the baby out, so instead the nurse clamped and cut the cord on the perineum. This little baby boy then required ten minutes of PPV (positive pressure ventilation) before he took his first breath. I can't help but wonder if he would have had a smoother transition if his cord had remained intact during the delivery. As I was assisting with this delivery, two more babies were received into loving hands.

My final catch of the day occurred right before I was getting ready to go back to the hotel for the day. It was a mom I had been following her progress all day and she was fully and wanem sit sit (wanting to push). She was a first time mom and proceeded to push her baby out in seven minutes with only a minor first degree laceration. Mothers here are amazing to watch. They push very effectively and are quite stoic in the process.

I had a great first day at Port Vila Hospital. I met many lovely midwives, nurses, and nursing students. I also had quite the crash course in getting familiarized with the Maternity Ward -- where supplies are located, proper hospital procedure, and very basic bislama. I look forward to the next few days and becoming more and more acquainted. Stay tuned for more updates on my experiences here.

Thanks for reading,


Dr. David Richards said...

Wow, what a great experience! It sounds like quite an adventure!

Sunita said...

Have a fabulous time Allison!

Anonymous said...

Great Job Allison! I can't wait to be there soon. Samantha*