This is the second part of how it is to be a midwife in Uganda. And just like midwifes do, we see a baby entering the light of this world.
We start our day with 8 o´clock divorsion. It is about half an hour of prayer and hymns in the chapel. It is also a small lecture with different topics every day. Today’s topic is nutritions and health and the lecturer is the pastor himself.
This time the priest goes on about how to eat in a healthy way and how his round belly is not the best example of how it should be. Instead he directs the attention these two mzungus who cycled all the way from Nairobi, Kenya. To prove the theory he invites us to stand up but after a short look at us, soon tells Christian to sit down again. The crowd is laughing. We are laughing. I am picked as the great example of this flat tummy. It is a very funny (and educational) lecture and many laugh at this and the reverend’s way of lecturing. The meeting is finished with a prayer and we (Luise and Fredrik) go down to the maternity ward. Christian gets a ride to the bigger city Mbarara close by to get some supplies for the hospital.
There are no new patients so we clean the floor. Then we go to the administration and talk about the recent thefts in the department. Someone is stealing stuff at night, maybe some of the staff or someone from outside. There are buckets, blood pressure instruments and some other stuff missing. We go back but still no patients. Lately the university hospital has lowered their prices for treatments simultaneously as the adventist hospital have increased their prices. This (among other things) now leads to that the amount of patients are seriously declining. The staff of the hospital of Ihsaka seventh day adventist hospital have not been paid in december, there simply is no money.
We go down to antenatal care where they do the pregnancy check ups. We have a number of patients and we feel on many tummies and feel babies kicking and take notes if we hear the babies heartbeats.
Back at the maternity department, we now have a patient. A mother of four in here fifth pregnancy. Luise does an examination and her servics is open 6 fingers. Labor can start at 8 cm opening. So we wait. After two hours Christian comes down for a short moment. He has been to the bigger city, Mbrara to get some equipment that the hospital needs, for better order and prevent spreading of bacteria when babies are born. So just as he is there, Luise calls ”Come, it’s time” she sais. So we go in and the mother is standing by the bed. She has been up walking around for the last hours. But now she climbs on to the bed. Her eyes are big and calm, like an animal proud and waiting to give birth. She is pretty in her calmness. She climbs up on all four and finds her position on the back. She is completely naked. All the while she does this, Luise is constanlty getting things and half shouts, “long gloves, Fredrik long gloves”, and I get the long gloves on, she as well, she also has these other sterile latex gloves on top. Luise gets close in between the legs and supports the delivery of the head while she is giving instructions to the mother, how she has to push or not to push. Head is born. Short break. The mother takes a deep breath and starts pushing again. Then it goes fast and a slimy bag covering a baby slips out head first and legs last.
Luise has it in a towel within seconds and cuts the cord. It is beautiful. Its there, its out, it’s a baby.
It happened so fast, no screams, but as soon as the baby is out it tests its lungs by screaming. All in all it was another quiet delivery with the mother concentrating on not giving after for the thoughts of pain and the erge to scream it out. The baby is now in her exhausted arms.
A baby blanket is on top of the baby. One of the nurses says ”not now” and Luise rolls her eyes. Here they want to recieve the mothercake and weigh the baby before the mother can have the baby.
Why is it so important that the mother gets the baby directly after the she gave birth?
”Because of bonding”. If she sees and smells her baby and the baby does the same, their bodies send out a lot of hormones which affects their relationship. So this is better for them both and the mother can also start breastfeeding directly after the birth. But in this hospital they do it differently. So we way the baby on the cold steel scale and Luise tells me to take the sterilised scissors and cut the cord another 5 cm from its baby tummy. She - it’s a girl - is very cute. We wrap the baby in a cuddly package and place it again on the mother’s chest. They are beautiful and she is still so calm. She is hardly touching the baby, but she still finds her way to her mother’s breast.
After another ten minutes the mother wraps her blanket, full of body fluids, and carries it out for washing. No midwifes or staff does this, it’s their own problem. Now she goes to the big hall where she can rest in the common hall with another 24 beds.
Luis shows me the mother cake. We stay for another 15 minutes and then we walk happily from work. The stars are shining in the dark night and I am so happy to have seen this.
Then they lived happily ever after.