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Baby Tally

Posted Jan 27 2009 8:23pm
So I survived the night shift last week, all 15.5 hours! And, by the end of it I had, with my hands, caught 8 babies (6 boys and 2 girls). Nights are definitely busier. There was a point when all 14 beds in the labor room were occupied and two women were laboring on top of their chitengis on the floor. I'm planning another night shift next week. Of course the nurses are appreciative of me just being at Bottom, since they are so understaffed, but I felt I really earned some good points working a night with them. One of the clinical officers recently told me, "I've been watching you and you are the kind of person who can really survive here." Then a nurse added, "Yeah, and she even worked a night." I felt my head swell : ).

Yesterday at Bottom was my day for big babies. The first one (a boy) I caught weighed 10.7lbs. Really! The delivery happened so quickly that the head didn't even have time to mold (usually as the baby's head moves through the pelvis the skull bones ride over one another to allow it to pass through more easily, giving some little ones temporarily a funny shaped head). As it crowned it seemed as though the head of a five year old was being born. Thankfully the baby was born easily and the mother's perineum did not even have a tiny tear, incredible. (This was the mother's fourth delivery.) When I told the mother her baby's weight, she said, "A gift." A couple hours later I caught a girl weighing 9.24lbs also healthy. She was the second child of a very small young woman.

To date I have caught 34 live babies here in Malawi.
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