She came in at 4pm. She was strong, twice as strong as her husband who walked with a limp. From the top of her brow to the tip of her toe, she was built of strong form yet she carried the femininity of a mother, pregnancy and womanhood. It was her 3rd child.
By 7pm she was 8-9 cm dilated. She labored stoically and quietly. Her 7 year old daughter accompanied her. The little girl’s bright wide eyes and long eyelashes showed she was not fully sure of what she thought of her surroundings but was an obedient daughter and would be the one to care for her mother. Wrapped up in her brown patterned fabric, she lay next to her mother as her mother silently labored away.
Some stories are easier to tell. Others are full of such detail it is difficult to pick out which details to provide. This woman’s story is as such.
It had come to the moment for Mawina [gift from God] to be born. My midwife coached me in how to guide this baby in to the world. She came out with a loud cry as I placed her on her mother’s shrinking belly. She also came out with a gush of blood. Pause. Previously I had told Amy, my midwife and teacher, that this time I wanted to be on mom. I needed to gain experience in how to aide mom and the birth process after the baby was born.
God knows the experiences we are to have before we could ever expect the severity of the experiences we are about to walk in to. If we knew the severity of the situation, we surely would dare not continue to walk. He could have chosen Hannah or Aprille, the other two students who have remained in Togo. He knows what we are capable of experiencing, even when we feel unprepared. These past two weeks have been fear ridden. Why? I’m not sure. But I have been racked with fear over the circumstances that I come across in the clinic. And still, He chose me. Resume.
Mawina came out with a gush of blood.
We acclimate to the atmosphere of our leaders.
Amy persisted with such peace and confidence as she guided me in how to cut the cord, deliver the placenta and take care of mom. I maintained that peace although I knew things were not okay.
Something shifted in the atmosphere for me that night. My fear ridden mind did not have time, room or space to be fearful anymore. The only thing left for me to do was to follow through with what I needed to do. I drew up the pitocin and injected the mom with the medicine that would cause her uterus to clamp and the bleeding to stop.
But it didn’t. Her blood continued to clot, disabling her uterus from fully being able to do its job to firm up. At this point, half an hour after Mawina was born, with the amount of blood her mom had loss, she should have been transported to the hospital. When you are in the bush of Africa, you don’t have that option.
The fact that a sperm and an egg unifying creates a human being is a sheer miracle. In the case of Mawina, her birth story and her mom’s experiences were a continual spiral of nothing short of a miracle.
We had used every drug we had to stop the bleeding but it persisted. The first evident miracle in this story is that with the amount of blood this mom lost she felt no fatigue, weakness or dizziness [common signs of shock due to high amounts of blood loss]. In America, a post partum hemorrhage is defined as 500cc, 1 cup.
This mom continued to bleed. For hours. We were beyond the edge of our rope. We were miles past our sphere of practice. I flipped through my Birth Emergeny book. We were beyond what any medical book we had would do in case of this type of emergency.
We were out in the deepest of waters with no boat or life raft, where only a miracle could resolve the issue at hand.
God’s hand continued to be over this birth as the miracle persisted and this woman continued to lose significant amounts of blood but showed no signs of shock. There were brief moments where I wished I could snap my fingers and be out of this situation but a bigger part of me knew God was in control, and it was only a matter of time that he chose to resolve the situation at hand.
Essentially we came to the point where we had used every tool in our bag, prayed every prayer for healing and deliverance we could. We begged the woman to go to the hospital. This tough woman who had just endured one of the most painful procedures a woman can experience in her life without an ounce of pain medication looked at us with tears rolling down her cheeks and said she couldn’t. Her husband limped in the room and together they poured out the pain in their hearts with the reality that they couldn’t. They had two children at home who needed them and had exams the next day. And they had no money.
At 3am, nearly 4 hours after Mawina was born, we estimated mom’s blood loss at 6 cups, while she continued to bleed and clot, we decided there was nothing left for us to do. As I walked across the dusty garage back to my room, tears welled in my eyes. My heart hurt. The only thing that could keep this woman alive was a gift from God, a miracle.
I was experiencing a story most would only read about. Yet most wouldn’t read about it because they would choose to read about the Kardashians or look at photos of their friends and people they didn’t know on Instagram. What plagued me was how strong she was, how beautiful she was. She couldn’t die. And I knew she wouldn’t. I was baffled at why God hadn’t stopped the bleeding yet.
I woke up at 5:30 to return to the clinic with Amy to relieve Happy from her shift of watching mom. Honestly, we weren’t sure what we would see upon our arrival. A woman who had continued to bleed throughout the night and was on her death bed? As we entered the room Happy stated matter of factly that mom wasn’t bleeding anymore and explained that as we left at 3am, she had the mom lift one leg on the bed and cough out some more clots. Since then there had been no other blood.
Three hours later mom was up and in the back of the clinic doing her laundry, removing all the blood from her fabrics she had brought and then walking down the road to catch a motorcycle taxi home.
I don’t know why God doesn’t respond to the snapping of our fingers, why he didn’t immidiately relieve us of our fears, pains and misfortune, but I know He does. His perspective on things is something we will never understand. The lense from which he sees has no comparison to human eyes.
I know that the fact that mom wasn’t “shocky” with all the blood she lost was a miracle. I know that her recovery is a miracle. I know that the conception of Mawina was a miracle. I know that through the whole process mom experienced the undeniable love and grace of God and actually received his love for the first time.
The clinic has a piece of paper taped to its wall that says “MIRACLES HAPPEN HERE”. There is nothing truer.
Blog written by Whitney Willett. Visit her at: www.lavishlywildandfree.wordpress.com