A Travellerspoint blog

Trading Places

No, not the Eddie Murphy movie.

Ben and I have swapped roles in the hospital - now I am working in maternity while he covers the medical ward. Maternity encompasses several areas: the postpartum ward, which is full of the mothers and babies they just delivered via vaginal delivery or C-section, the antenatal ward, where high-risk pregnant women are housed, and, of course, the delivery room, where women labor. My first weekend on call for maternity was a busy one! We had one C-section, a first-time mom with a breech baby, which made for a very smooth and simple first C-section in Zambia for me (as opposed to Ben's experience last week...). Then there were several vaginal deliveries of many of the women in the antenatal ward, who, as mentioned, are high risk for one reason or another, so this was exciting too.

It's interesting to see how the labor process works in another culture. Obviously, the mechanics are the same, but the reactions to things are not. My arm was nearly squeezed lifeless by a very sweet 43-year-old mother of 7 (now 8) as she labored. The next day, she was bright, happy, and even acted as my interpreter for those who didn't speak any English. A 17-year-old first time mom demanded I walk her to the bathroom while she labored, and I, as anyone ordered around by an angry laboring woman would, complied. Both deliveries turned out great, and the babies are doing very well.

The midwives don't call about all deliveries, though, and on Sunday night they called too late. Apparently a woman who was referred from another smaller health center was sent in for failure to progress and the midwife on duty did not do much to get the labor going. She also unfortunately ignored the ominous fetal heart rate pattern that was tracing, and apparently the delivery was a difficult one, too. Dr. Dan was called only when the baby was not reviving with extensive resuscitation and by that time, there was little more he could do. The baby is alive, but does not have the reflexes he should and we suspect is having seizures. We are not sure if he will make it, and if he does he may have severe cerebral palsy. Keep this baby in your thoughts and prayers.

On a happier note, a big team of ophthalmologists arrived here in Zimba a few days ago and have started seeing lots of patients and doing eye surgeries that are not performed anywhere in Zambia, in addition to much-needed cataract removal. More about them here: http://ivvusa.org/

Technology woes continue. We will try to take some photos of the hospital, wards, etc. to post for you to see... someday. :)

Love,
Mariel & Ben

Posted by vagabundos 11:54 Archived in Zambia

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