Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Week 2

Well, I seemed to have gotten miliaria. No, not malaria! And for those who don’t know what miliaria is, it is a heat rash. For me, it developed on the backs of my hands and has spread to my lower arms, legs and feet. At first, I thought it might be an allergy to the latex gloves, latex is what is exclusively used in the hospital here. No latex free option for those who have developed an allergy to latex, which is a common allergy in those working in the health profession. It has been suggested to me to give it some time and my body will adjust to the heat. And to give myself a break from the heat, I have succumbed to using the air conditioner at night when I sleep. I have slept better since doing this.

Recently, I have been thinking a lot about life and death. A fellow peer at Bastyr was on a Nicaraguan study abroad trip this Spring break and drowned while swimming in a lake. Her name is Michelle Eustache and I knew her as a very enthusiastic and curious person and it is sad that she is no longer part of this physical realm. Please keep her parents and those closest to her in your thoughts and prayers.

There have been several deaths at Vila Central Hospital in the Maternity Ward…

Sadly, the 960-gram, 25 week old baby boy I told you about in the last post died.

And the baby in the nursery with the omphalocele that I also shared in my last post has passed away as well. It is very sad. The baby was healing well and the omphalocele was receding and seemed to be improving.

When someone dies in the hospital many people gather around and wail. It can go on for an hour or so. The echoes of this last loss still permeate in the memories of my ears. It is hauntingly eerie sounds that some women make. From my observation, it seems very healthy for the family and friends to be together and to discharge this energy.

So some birth highlights of week two here in Vanuatu…

Getting lots of practice in the artificial rupture of membranes. The midwives like to use this technique to speed labor progression.

So far, the youngest birthing mom is 18 years of age and the oldest is 37 years of age.

I manually replaced a prolapsed cervix of a 37-year-old G4/P4 woman. After that, I had educated her about Kegel exercises, which don’t seem to be something well shared here. These exercises bring tone the pelvic floor muscles, which get super stretchy and lax after childbirth. They are exercises we all can benefit from doing.

I observed an elective C-section of a footling breech presenting baby who had a nuchal cord times two (the umbilical cord was wrapped twice around the neck)!

And the largest weighted baby was a 3.92-kilogram girl (that’s 8.64 pounds) which is big for NiVans!

And for a little rest and relaxation, I have managed to go for a swim everyday since I have been here. The ocean is nice and warm and the pool where I am staying is a nice cool off from a hot day.

I went to church with one of the nursing students on Sunday. We took the “bus”. Which is a man who drives a van and will take you wherever you need to go for 150 vatus. We were taken to a rural area, which was well taken care of by the inhabitants. The gardens were lovely and well tended. As we walked up to the church, I quickly discovered that the NiVans have very strong and beautiful singing voices and I love the lyrics to some of their songs. They sing about the value of life and being thankful. It is interesting to hear them sing so loudly and strong because most NiVans are soft spoken, men and women alike. I have heard on a couple occasions a NiVan shout but mostly they talk softly. On this particularly Sunday there was a group of men soccer players from Mele village (a village that has the famous waterfalls on Efate island) who sang a song for us. It was interesting to me to see these men become quite shy and humble before us. They sang wonderfully!

More to come wait patiently…


Anonymous said...

I love you Jodi!

Oleta Barnhill said...

Jodi, I am loving reading about your experiences, so interesting. I hope you are enjoying it as much as we are all enjoying hearing about it.
Our granddaughter, Valerie, is expecting in July and will be using a midwife, so she is interested also. Take care.
Love, Aunt Oleta