Saturday, September 21, 2013


Several long days in the hospital this week prevented me from doing much blogging. Today's hours, for example, 16. I needed to wind down, though, so I thought I'd reflect a bit.
Two new students from New Zealand started this week. They are quite lovely and excited to be here. We've had some very busy days and a lot of great experience - a couple babies with sticky shoulders and a couple babies with thick meconium. A breech that actually wasn't a breech, but the woman had that baby just before she was about to have a cesarean due to the breech positioning....which turned out to be a head-down position. Hmmm.  One of the mornings (I honestly don't remember which) I walked straight into a resuscitation while three other women were pushing out their babies.
But back to today. The morning was low key. Just one baby. It's just after that point that I went home for a short nap because I was feeling a little under the weather. When I returned, the hallways were filling up with laboring women, but they were all hanging around 5 to 7 cm dilation. I had a feeling we were about to be full up in the delivery room. And that is exactly what happened. First, a second time mom with a short pushing stage delivered a beautiful little baby boy. A little suturing needed. No problem. Across the way, a young first time mom was ready to push. After another hour and 19 minutes and some really big decels, she pushed out a beautiful little girl. As I was suturing her, one of the students was working with a multip (5th baby) just across the curtain who was starting to push. And behind me, across the room, a 28 week breech was being delivered by another student. I finished suturing, and helped the student with multip. During pushing, the waters broke with fury all over everyone within a few feet of distance. Not the tidiest birth I've been a part of, but a beautiful baby girl was the result. We've learned to try to be as tidy as possible, because after the birth, we have to scrub the sheets as clean as possible before they go to the laundry. Anyway, that little 28 week breech basically jumped out and was being tended to by the student, who was very frustrated by the lack of medical support. The baby was breathing fine, but he was just 2.3 lbs - such a little angel he was! He definitely needed to be in the NICU though and nobody was initiating that move (coming back to this, he is doing quite well in the NICU several days later).
So we charted, sutured, cleaned, more charting, did newborn exams, gave immunizations, and transferred the babies and moms to bed. Then we cleaned some more. The halls were still full, but by this time it was about 11:30pm and we were ready to get home. Two of the students had left already around 9:00. Just as the other student and I were about to leave, we headed over to the delivery room to look for a notebook we had left, and on one of the beds, alone, was a woman obviously about to have a baby. She grabbed the student and said "will you help me"? A quick check and a couple pushes later, she pushed out her second baby girl. So we charted and cleaned and did all that....and THEN we ran out the door as fast as we could, just after midnight. A wonderful and exhausting day. The best part, I had the following day off! Leni, a friend of hers (her neighbor, really), and myself rented a car and drove around the island of Efate. Best idea ever! For a grand total of about $50, we spent all day visiting waterfalls, beaches, villages, caves, resorts, and then we stopped to watch the sunset just before arriving back in Port Vila. The weather was perfect and the scenery was incredible - it was a much needed day off! I'm so glad I had the opportunity to see more of the island and learn about some of the villages in the area. Everyone was so welcoming. They allowed us to see things after they had closed if in return we'd give them a ride to the nearest village to get a tank of gas. No problem! One man even gave us our money back.
My last day, Friday, was a normal 7am-3pm day with just three births facilitated by Leni and myself. All three had prolonged ruptured membranes, interestingly enough, but all three had beautiful deliveries without complications. After those births, when I went back to my hotel, I took some time to reflect on the last two weeks. I realized how much I learned in that short period of time. I learned new skills and techniques, improved on others, and gained confidence in areas I felt weren't my strong points. I am so thankful to all the women and midwives here in Vanuatu that have allowed me this incredible opportunity. When I was saying my goodbyes on Friday, I couldn't have said thank you enough to everyone for being so kind and helpful and for letting me experience midwifery in Port Vila.
And now it's Saturday and I feel exhausted. Maybe I've got a little bit of a bug, or maybe the last two weeks have just caught up to me. I flew from Vanuatu to Fiji at 9:40 this morning and slept the whole way there. Then, I had (well, have, I'm still here) a 10 hour layover in Fiji. So, I walked across the street from the airport to a resort and laid by the pool for a few hours. That was followed by a nap. I can't seem to sleep enough. In fact, I wish I were sleeping now. In just a few hours I will head to LAX and finally back to Seattle. While I have enjoyed every single second of my trip here, I miss everyone at home and will be happy to return.
Last but certainly not least, thank you to all you lovely midwives back home who helped me get here. This trip wouldn't have happened without your help!

No comments: