Life in the birth house

So I have been attempting to post something for weeks…I think I may have an actual case of writers block. I sit down and try to compose a small piece, of interesting tidbits that might be worth reading and nada…..

Since I have committed to keep this site current I will attempt once more to give you at least an overview of the last two months.

I’ll start with the clinic itself. It sits in a quiet rural town surrounded by rice fields on two sides, with water buffalo an occasional cow or two and lots of chickens and ducks roaming around.

Since this is a relatively new site for the clinic, the living quarters for the staff and students is still somewhat under construction. Last week the roof for the second floor terrace and third floor office were finished. This week we have all been attempting to navigate one side of the staircases and hall while tile was being laid and set.

We have a private security team here, they are on duty 24/7…mostly. If they are not at the clinic specifically then they can be found escorting us to the nearby gas station/coffee shop or to the nearby river, of course sometimes they are out romping through the rice fields. 

The weather has mostly been hot and muggy, often the nights are wrought with heavy humid air that electric fans struggle to move.

As for me personally, I have been assaulted by all sorts of insects, an intestinal bug, a curious rash that has come and gone twice (on my arms, I know how weirded out rashes make people so don’t anyone get too freaked out). Also, I think it quite possible I am sleeping on the Ho Chi Minh Trail of the ant kingdom….

I have gotten to meet some pretty interesting folks here, midwives and student midwives from the U.S., Canada, Switzerland and of course from the Philippines. It’s been good to meet and talk with other midwives sharing ideas and commonalities of our journeys.

I definitely have been busy doing the midwife thing. Daily duties include; prenatal exams, postpartum exams, newborn exams, instruments to clean, wrap and sterilize, and laundry, lots of laundry….clinic laundry and the patient’s linens used during their births, (thankfully their family members do the worst and hardest part, we just have to make sure there are no stains and then ‘sanitize it’).

Some recent happenings in the last few weeks include; resuscitating two babies, mothers hemorrhaging after giving birth (which is the leading cause of maternal deaths just so we are all clear on that), patients passing out on me when trying to get them moved to the postpartum bed, starting an IV by headlamp, shoulder dystocia (baby’s head is delivered through the vagina, but the shoulders get stuck at the mothers pubic bone), suturing, all night labor and postpartum watches and a few quiet, calm, lovely births where everything went without a hitch.

Such is the life here, where crickets invite themselves into the birth room, toads eagerly wait outside the front door in the middle of the night hoping for a chance to hop inside should the door open, ants eat holes in the latex gloves, and house lizards scurry along every wall of the house eating an assortment of insects.

On any given day somewhere in the world a midwife is minding her own business trying to attend to a personal project. Such as writing her next blog post for example, when suddenly someone is calling out her name to come downstairs because a patient who just showed up at the front door is pushing…..Ummm, yes, that did just happen.

That type of situation does happen fairly often here, usually it is a patient who has not shown up for several prenatal visits and is past due by 2 or more weeks. So we all hope and pray for the best, a healthy baby and mother. In case you are wondering, all did go pretty well, although the mother did hemorrhage, but, as for now all is under control and baby is nursing, and you should all know by now how happy that makes me.

I will leave you with this video clip from the BBC’s drama “Call the Midwife” set in London’s East End during the 1950s, based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth. A newly qualified midwife begins her career alongside an order of nursing nuns. I know I can certainly relate to it and probably some of my housemates too….


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