For 2 days I have been focussed on helping this little girl make her entrance into this world. It has been a crazy, emotional, tiring, and intense. And I did not even give birth. But she is finally here! She waited for me 🙂 and I was able to be there to offer what little I have. Being with someone in labor and for a birth is the most intense experience ever. It requires all of yourself. Especially here.
I am exhausted. But I was there. Through everything. Beginning labor, gathering some bread and tea from the Bibi of our neighborhood before the hard labor kicked in, rallying people to let them know their duties, driving to the clinic, 2 1/2 hours at 10 cm of hard pushing, driving to another hospital when things took a turn for the worse, and waiting and waiting, wrapping the baby up, and getting the nurse when needed. I wiped sweat, I paced, I brought water, I squeezed hips, I prayed, I cleaned up blood and fluid, I held her hands, I drove, I encouraged when things looked scary, and I held a moments old baby. And that is a miracle. A reminder of how small we are and how big God is.
It is amazing here how everyone kicks into gear and helps; runs to the market to gather food, cooks food to take to the hospital, boil water (they do that here and bring it to the hospital in a jug), makes calls, sends people when there is no money for calls to tell everyone, people travel and show up and wait for news, and people offer prayers. My Western, pampered self did not even know all that went into preparing but I was instructed well and helped out where I could.
I spent a lot of time praying. Sometimes because I was requested to and sometimes because I knew that was the most help I could provide. We thought she might need to have a C section (or what they say here “kuzaa kwa kisu” give birth by knife) at one point because they baby’s head was turned the wrong way but after her being the hardest core woman ever and much prayer she was able to have her vaginally. After almost 6 hours at 10 cm pushing with everything she had. Unbelievable. I cannot believe how much we have to take for granted in the West. Women here give birth with little or no help, no drugs, and no “comfort” measures. Minutes after giving birth they are asked to walk into another room full of women and their minutes to hours old children. There were so many women in the postnatal room my friend got a thin blood covered mattress to share with one other new mom and their babies on the floor for the night. In a room with about 30 other women and their babies. We brought her dinner a few hours later and visited and then were kicked out until the morning. This morning before we took her home we had to search for a doctor to take out her catheter and the bag of blood and urine she was carrying around. But this is reality for most women in the world. My experience of ordering room service after giving birth and asking a nurse to turn up the heat and then requesting the lactation consultant to come is just not the norm for my sisters all over this world. Their normal would require post traumatic stress counseling for me. My understanding and compassion for the women here grows, expands, and my heart swells with love for them. Again. Women are so strong. They are so resilient. And beautiful.
I knew she was a girl- I told them that last week I had a feeling from God the baby would be a girl. Amazing. People are saying she already gave her mother so much trouble but she is all blessing. We are all joking that she looks like me…what do you think? 🙂 But it was decided she can not be named after me since no one can mange to say my name correctly here. I quickly agreed. She does not have a name yet but I brought her and her Mama and lots of other well wishers home from the hospital this morning. Karibu nymbani mtoto mchanga!! Welcome home newborn baby girl!