Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Our final days at Lewanika

Hello again! I can't believe that tomorrow is already our last day of clinical. Although I've been homesick on and off for the whole trip (not really missing out on the Canadian winter, but the Canadian people!!) it feels like time has gone by so fast here. Every Zambian friend that I talk to and tell that I am leaving soon asks me to please remember them when I am gone. How could I forget? These people already have a place in my heart, have touched my spirit, and ultimately have changed my life. This is what Zambia does.

I just wanted to share my experience of yesterday and today on the maternity ward at the hospital. The maternity ward is for labour and delivery, as well as the recovery area once the woman has given birth. Yesterday Shannon and I were observing a woman give birth, and it was not the experience we had hoped for. Shannon was right in there trying to help with the delivery, but stepped back as soon as things started to take a bad turn and the other nurses came rushing in. The baby had gotten stuck on its way into the world, and when it finally was delivered it was limp and not breathing. Both Shannon, myself, and a couple other nurses rushed the baby to an incubator and began CPR on its tiny chest, suctioning the nose and mouth and just trying to get this babe to cry out. Finally, and God bless, it finally did. I did not panic outwardly in the moment, but on the inside I was terrified - begging and pleading that this babe would make it into the world. Somehow it did. But here, babies aren't always that lucky. As this baby lived, the baby in the next ward died. The life cycle can be cruel sometimes... Today, on the other hand, I was able to be a part of a wonderful birth. The woman arrived already 6cm dilated, and spent a couple of hours labouring on the ward until she was ready to give birth. After walking herself to the delivery room and getting herself up on the table, it was only about 10 minutes until her daughter took her first breaths. The mother was amazing - she worked so hard and was so focused on her child. The baby girl came out healthy and crying, just how it is supposed to happen. I was going to deliver the baby myself, with assistance of course, but the baby was coming so quickly that there was not enough time for the midwife to walk me through it. However, I was able to help, and to hold the babe after birth, and later walked with the mother back to her bed where she could cuddle and feed her baby. It was wonderful to have a good experience, and realize that yes health care is not as safe and as advanced as it is in Canada or other parts of the world, but sometimes it still works and things turn out wonderfully.

We will be spening the next week in Livingstone, vacationing next to Victoria Falls and enjoying all that nature has to offer. And before you know it, some of you will be picking us up from the airport as we head back home! Thank you again to all who have been reading the blog, and I hope it has been interesting and worthwhile to you. We have many more stories to share when we are back home -- these blogs really are just the tip of the iceberg.
Loving and missing you all back home, can't wait to see you soon <3
With peace and love, Melanie


  1. It was our pleasure to have been able to follow your blog, every entry has been so well written and made the reader feel the experience at hand. I am sure you will never forget the time you all spent together in Zambia. As you move onward, I hope you all enjoy your stay in Victoria Falls. You will be taking home so many unforgetable memories. I have been busy knitting Baby toques for Jessica to take on her next trip to Zambia. Love from Nannie XXX OOO

  2. hey Mel,

    missing you back home too! Stay safe and have fun with the rest of your travels. I have enjoyed reading all of your blogs throughout your trip. :) Looking forward to having you back home!

    Love you,

    Sarah <3