Mother’s Day 2022

May 9, 2022

By Grace Wandia

A motorbike zooms into the hospital compound. It is a small community clinic that offers basic services for maternity and non complicated illnesses, like coughs and flu. On the motorbike are two women and the motorbike rider. One of the women seems to be in pain; on closer observation, I notice she is pregnant. The motorbike rider and the other woman rush her into the clinic. The workers at the clinic call for the midwife, explaining to her that the patient’s water broke while she was at the market. They suspect the baby will come any minute. The midwife instructs the woman to lie down on a bed as she attends to another young lady who had come in earlier and is already in labour.

While the midwife attends to the first patient, the woman who came in on the motorbike is wailing and asking the midwife for help. The midwife ignores her, explaining to her that she still has time before the baby comes. The first patient has a complication. The baby cannot come out; the mother has been in pain for hours. The midwife suspects the baby has the umblical cord wrapped around its neck. The midwife leaves her and goes to attend to the other patient.

The screaming and wailing from both ladies is disheartening; they are each in extreme pain, but nothing can be done other than for them to bear it. The midwife briefly steps out of the labour ward, only to rush back in because the lady who came on the motorbike is screaming that the baby is coming. As the midwife approaches the lady’s bed, she notices that the baby is actually coming, but there is a problem. The baby is breech, meaning the baby is positioned head-up in the mothers uterus. The feet are pointed toward the birth canal instead of being in a head down position. The midwife screams and asks the mother to sit still. The midwife is all alone in the clinic, with one mother having a baby in breech position, and the other one screaming in pain. It is enough to make the most experienced person panic.

I notice her agony and ask how I can help. She asks me to quickly put on gloves and help her receive the baby. The breech birth fortunately is a success and the baby is quickly delivered. The midwife cuts the umblical cord and asks me to cover the baby as she attends to the mother. The newborn baby’s temperature is low, and the baby is wailing and ash grey. As I cover the baby in a warm blanket that the mother brought with her, the baby starts to quieten down. In a short while, colour returns to the baby’s face.

The labour ward is a mess. The mother is crying, tears of joy, she thought she would not be able to deliver the baby normally, but she did, and did not have to have a cesarean birth.  She is sobbing and thanking God. In the meanwhile, the other patient is wailing and begging the midwife to assist her, but no one is giving her attention. All the attention is on the new mother.

After what seems, like ages, the midwife finally finishes with the new mother, and rushes to the young lady in labour, who is crying hysterically, by now. As the midwife is encouraging her to push the baby, another patient rushes into the clinic. This patient is asthmatic and is about to pass out. The midwife leaves the woman in labor and rushes out  to attend to the asthma patient. The young lady trying to give birth is left alone, terrified and screaming. This is her first pregnancy.

After four hours of trying to deliver the young woman’s baby, the midwife gives up. She concludes that the young lady needs to go to a main general hospital where she can get more professional help. The midwife is of the opinion that this woman will not have a normal birth. The young mother-to-be has cried her heart out. The midwife writes a transfer document, in which she states: “No maternal effort. The mother can no longer push the baby, she is tired and has given up.” As we rush to take the young woman to a better facility, the midwife looks on in defeat. She feels like she has let the mother down. We assure her she did all that she could.

After the transfer, and many agonizing hours later, the new mother is assisted and delivers her first baby. It is a normal birth, and the mother and baby are healthy. There is joy all round.

We later learn that the mother of the breech baby is doing well. She spent the night at the clinic, and the next morning, her husband, the motorbike rider, comes to take her home. Despite her stitches, she has to endure a ride on the motorbike on a very rough road. Her sister came to the clinic, too, and the three of them, with the baby sandwiched in between, ride off for home.

As to the midwife, we learned that she, herself, delivered not long back. She has a three month old baby. She left her baby in the care of a neighbour, so she come help the two ladies deliver. She put her needs aside to be of service to others.

As we celebrated Mother’s Day yesterday, my mind was on her, and her selfless service to the women in her community. She told me when I went to thank her later, that she goes through these type experiences, at least four times a week. She has endured a lot in her quest to help the mothers. The clinic barely has enough facilities to aid the mothers. The midwife has to make due with what is available. She sometimes has to buy food for the mothers when they deliver. The clinic does not offer anything, not even showering facilities, only a toilet.

The midwife is a hero; in my opinion, she is the epitome of humanity’s best. We celebrate her this Mother’s Day for the love and care she tenders towards the women in her community.

“Well done, Josephine; may your star continue to shine, and may your children call you blessed.”

The delivery room only has one bed.

The labor room has bare facilities.

The new baby, a day after birth. The mother is discharged as the clinic has no facilities to hold the mother until she recovers. She has to recover from home.

Comments are closed.

Go Back
WordPress Image Lightbox Plugin