Tuesday, December 16
Tuesday was incredible! I was pretty excited to join Salem in her day rounds at Mercy Maternity Clinic, but I was dreading leaving the dorms at 5:40am. However, I basically bounced out of bed at 5am, made some coffee, and walked out of the door as soon as Salem's honked for me to come out. It wasn't even an hour that we had been there when I heard the first new born's cry. Apparently Salem yelled my name several times for me to witness that birth, but I never heard her over the traffic, fans, and the talkative women waiting in the hallway for the prenatal checkups. I was kind of bummed, but I did see the tail end of the birthing routine after the baby was born. The father of that baby proudly cut the umbilical cord and the midwife did a great job of taking care of the mother.
The rest of the morning is almost a blur because of the packed series of events. Kelly took me up to join the ladies for some worship and devotional before the health teaching and prenatal check ups. It was amazing how the woman who led the devo walked everyone through the Christmas story and weaved it into the importance of salvation. The entire message was in mixed Visayan and Tagalog, but I felt as if I understood everything. It was truly moving. I went with Kelly to start the prenatals, but Salem sent someone up to get me because a woman came in with active labor.
Not even an hour later I witnessed my first birth! Salem assisted the birth, and had me stand where I had a front line view. To be honest, the birth was amazing and easy to handle. I have never had a weak stomach or a history of fainting, but as soon as the placenta was being pulled out I almost lost it. I felt my finger tips go numb, then my arms, and then my face. I didn't realize it until a little later, but I was sweating profusely albeit the lack of air conditioning, 90 degree weather, and small packed room. My vision started to fog over, and I knew that if I didn't sit down I was going to end up fainting and falling into the….. well… we’ll call it the pool of rose petals. Rose petals sound so much nicer than the actual multitude of things that come out after a baby is born. To take a side note… what if Eve was completely obedient in the Garden of Eden and didn’t eat the forbidden fruit? My imagination creates an experience of childbirth being like pushing out a baby as soft and bendable as peonies followed by a trickle of rose petals. What a nice aroma that just created! Although childbirth is nothing of said description, it is still a breath-taking and wonderful experience. Back to the birth.. After recognizing that I was a weakling, I sat down gathered myself before returning to the woman’s bedside.
Salem sent me back upstairs to watch Kelly do more prenatal check ups. I absolutely love Kelly. She has a personality about her that shows her boldness and charismatic nature, but gives off a soft vulnerable side as well. She explained the entire check up to me while still being personable with each woman. She taught me how to feel for the head of the baby and find which side the belly the baby’s back was facing. Just as soon as Kelly was going to let me find the baby’s heartbeat, Salem sent for me again. Salem’s patient had already come to the clinic early in the morning and was sent home to wait until she was further along in labor. This baby was ready for momma to push him out. Salem did a beautiful job. I was able to literally sit by her side as she caught this tiny baby.
That night I was also taught to wash a newborn baby by the absolute cutest 9 year old. She is one of the supervisor’s daughters. I loved that a child could teach me instead of one of the midwives. What a humbling moment it was to follow directions by a little girl and give a newborn her first bath.
The rest of the day I went shopping with Nolan and Salem’s parents and we all just relaxed at the Silvey house for the rest of the day. It was definitely a day to mark in the books. I’m sorry for the longevity of this blog, but it was one I wanted to document.