"If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?"
-David Livingstone

May 16, 2011

First Delivery!!!

I was right smack in the middle of my bath (not as in bathtub) this evening when my dad called to me. There was a woman in a nearby village who was in labor and having complications and needed to go to the hospital. ASAP. Quickly deciding that this was an emergency, I raced down to my hut. Meanwhile, my mind racing through everything I've ever been taught about childbirth. Caught completely unprepared, I simply grabbed the most simplistic of basics - a stethoscope, BP cuff, breathing mask, gloves, a couple of baby blankets - and stuffed them into my Karen bag. Just incase.

My heart beat a little faster with all the unknowns as I made my way through the maze of bamboo huts, mud, children, and pigs, up the bamboo ladder and into the little hut to the one room where she lay surrounded by several older village women.
She had been in labor for 10 hours. BP 138/78. P 80. She already had 5 children. Previous deliveries had been semi-difficult...
Soon she was situated on the floor in the back of the truck on a braided plastic mat. I climbed in beside her together with her husband, as well as two young daughters.

Contractions. Five minutes apart...
Two minutes...
We were already half-way there. Tearing down the road with me desperately trying to keep my balance in the back with no handrail or space for a bracing point.
One minute...
We weren't going to make it.
Half of a minute...

We had...a head.
As well as an umbilical cord, wrapped around the neck...
For just an instant my heart could have stopped.. That was exactly what I had been fearing. All I can say is that God guided that little one as he made his way into the world.
He was so pale and limp... For just an instant I simply held him in my hands and stared at his face searching for any sign of life. Two little eyes stared up at me, but there was nothing else. And so I did the very first thing that came to mind, (I was going to omit this part, for the sake of my own embarrassment and for fear of bringing shame to the name EMT, but then I realized that, hey, this is about reality, folks!) yeah, that's right! I spanked him. Twice. Hey, that little guy needed to breath! And I didn't have anything to suction his airway with. And right then I was looking for something a little more drastic than rubbing his back or tickling his feet. Looking back I would have loved to see the faces of the parents at that moment, I have no idea what they were thinking or what they do in this culture...at the moment I was slightly distracted... (Just for the record, they have given me many smiles since, so it must not have been that bad!) Still he wasn't truly responding and I was thinking, "Oh, Lord, what now!?!" I was so unequipped..... And then that first weak little meowl reached my ears.

Thank-you, Jesus!

I sat there and cuddled him, rubbing him off, praying a special blessing over this little life...and that this wouldn't be the last one...and counting it such an amazing privilege to be the very first to hold him; the first to discover his long head, cute nose, ten fingers, and ten toes. (The mother was doing fine and now we just had to reach the hospital.) I wish there was a way to have captured the father's jubilant face when I told him that he had a son. Meanwhile, Junior wasn't quite as thrilled with his rather rustic entrance into the world and by the time we pulled up at the ER 15 minutes later his faint little meowl had turned into a lusty holler. What a beautiful sound - completely musical, I tell you!:) I couldn't have wiped the smile from off my face if I had tried, and neither could the proud father! The two orderlies who came out to meet us did a double take and ran back inside to call a couple of nurses. They cut the cord right there in the back of the truck before then carting them off.

6:31 PM (or 6:32, or 33, or 34 :) - I was slightly too preoccupied to think to check the time 'til a few minutes later.) May 16, 2011.

A new life...

A miracle.

* Believe me when I say that tomorrow I will make sure that we are equipped with a good OB kit!!!!


  1. What a beautiful experience Maria! Talk about an exciting evening! Now you can add Midwife to your ever growing list of skills:)

  2. Sounds like a crazy experience. It's a little hard for me to imagine helping deliver a baby in the back of a bouncing truck let alone an ambulance on a nice paved road.

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  4. :) Actually almost all of it was a paved road, thankfully! But it's still a bit rough. It always feels worse from the back. And it's a very real possibility that I may have lost the touch for keeping my balance in the back of an plush ambulance - if I ever had a touch for it, that is.:)