Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Overview of the trip

We left Vanuatu Saturday and I have been reflecting on the experience since then so I wanted to write a last post about it.

Being a hospital that serves ~300 birthing women each month, serving a large number of women living in poverty, with hepatitis B, STIs, and HIV being rampant, it amazed me how well the outcomes were!
Most of these women, despite the odds, would just birth their babies, and their babies would nurse without issue! There was a lot of preterm SROM (spontaneous rupture of membranes) and preterm labor (likely from all of the stis)…
The don't have pain releif in labor, except when cesarean is required, so the women just deal with it. And they know they have to deal with it, so most of them did just fine. A lot of them have a friend or mother there to help support them through labor... and I spent a lot of time rubbing backs, holding hands, and talking mommas through the pain...  Their c-section rate is around 7%

I witnessed 20 births while there for 2 weeks. I worked the day shift (night shift is when most babies are born) and we took a few days off (after really exhausting 14 hour shifts, or stressful births).

This is a brief overview of what I witnessed (mainly for those people thinking of going to Vanuatu J)

1-cord prolapse (well, 2 if you count the mother that I spent time giving her labor support while she was at the hospital for induction after she had a prolapsed at home and lost her baby, I did not witness her birth though, only helped her with labor, then postpartum was amazed by her kindness when I saw her rubbing a laboring mom’s back (a stranger) in the hall just the day after she birthed her still baby)

1-set of twins

1-footling breech (twin A)

1-postpartum hemorrhage

1-intersex baby (baby had a uterus and ovaries but external genitalia appeared male)

~15 times suturing

A handful of resuscitations (on newly born babies and on a preterm baby in the nicu)

A handful of IVs (and two 16 gauge ones!)

Some teaching, and alot of listening and learning J

Several lovely births, several women I supported during labor but did not attend their birth, several prenatal, and postpartum visits, several times changing bedding or scrubbing birth goo out of sheets, or charting…

I am so grateful for the experience of going there. Although I most certainly would have adrenal collapse if I were to deal with the amount of stress they experience on a regular basis, I am glad I could experience it in a small dose.

When my family picked me up from the airport, my baby Owen (16 months) was mad at me.

By the time we got home he started warming up to me, but he got mad at me any time I would offer to nurse him, and he wanted David only that first night…

That was completely heartbreaking.

Fortunately the next day we had a lot of close time together and the next night he went back to breastfeeding! He now is as loving as ever, and I am enjoying many snuggles from him and my sweet, sweet Jude (who is 5 years old, and has been very understanding and loving the whole time).

It was the hardest thing I have ever done, leave my husband and 2 young sons for 16 days (2 days travel and 14 days there), and I will never do that again. But, it was worth it, just this once, to have this amazing experience.
The picture below is some of the staff and us when we went in to say goodbye


Miss Melanie said...

AMAZING! Did you pump while you were there!?!

Kathryn said...

Yes :) Not a whole bunch as it was so humid, and with the long hours of working (and sweating) my supply dropped a lot... But it is working out, its coming back up :)