This week I spent my time working on the labour and delivery ward at Lewanika General Hospital. Seeing as I started my perinatal specialty this past fall, I was excited to get into practice and get some hands on experience of what I'd learned during my course.
I quickly saw how different the experience of labour and birth is here compared to Canada. The women here are strong and resilient. They come to the hospital alone, rarely make a peep when giving birth, all sans pain control. After the baby is born, the woman gets up, walks back to her bed, and goes home after about 6-8hours.
I also learned that babies come when they want. On my last day, I took the initiative to ask the midwives if I could deliver a baby (along side them of course). They gave me a patient to look after, a young and single, first time mother. I monitored her throughout the day, providing her with comfort measures and helping where I could. I waited along side her for what felt like forever. Although, the pain of my waiting could not have even compared to the pain of hers. Finally around 1PM, the baby was ready to make her arrival into the world. I coached the mother, held her hand, and with the help of the midwife, delivered the baby into the world. It was the most amazing feeling, bringing new life into the world. The baby ended up having a couple complications after birth and inside, I was quite scared. I stayed strong for the mother, congratulated her and took the baby away for a few moments to deal with the issues. In the end, baby was healthy and happy, and the mother couldn't thank me enough. This made me feel quite good. It was also encouraging because I felt like I'd formed a relationship with the mother which I sometimes find difficult here, especially with the language barrier and different cultural practices.
Overall it was a great week and I attained my goal of delivering a baby, and experience I will never forget.