Sunday, September 09, 2012

Baby born in a cornfield....for real!!!

As I walked home from a most incredible birthing experience this afternoon, I felt the same awe and thankfulness I felt exactly four years ago. Four years ago I witnessed my friend Martha giving birth to her 7th child in our village of Yabus. She was silent, strong, and it was the fastest labor I'd ever seen! Today I got to be present for Baby #8! This same beautiful friend from Yabus, Martha, now lives here in Melut since her husband is a student in the Bible College. Let me tell you the whole story...

The "doulas"
Just as we finished our lunch after church today, Martha's son Jeremiah came and knocked on our door saying his Mama wanted to have her baby. I quickly ran over to her house to check on her. Miriam, another Uduk lady and good friend of Martha's pointed out to the garden and told me Martha was out there. "OK", I thought. "This is interesting." There she was squatting in the dirt over a mat, small tarp, and a sheet. I went over to see how she was doing and ask what I could do. She asked me to get Claire, my teammate, who is a nurse. I ran over to Claire's and while gasping for air announced, "A baby is on the the corn fields!!" Claire already had her birthing bag ready to go so we both dashed back over to Martha's garden.
     Today was definitely a hot, humid day and Martha said her four year old daughter had been crying because she was worried about her mama, seeing her in all that pain. So Martha decided to go behind the house in the garden to have her baby. I had to pinch myself that this was really happening. Claire and I squatted down in the dirt next to Martha as she pushed through contractions. Contractions were coming less than a minute apart. Claire started pulling all the instruments out of her bag and getting ready and was warning Martha not to push unless she truly felt the urge. Claire wasn't sure if Martha was very far dilated yet.
       Just as Claire was fumbling to get her gloves on (difficult with the heat and sweat) all of a sudden we looked down and Martha's baby had slid right out!!!! We were in total shock but Claire is amazing and so experienced and knew just what to do, sunctioning out his mouth, wiping off his body, and clamping his umbilical cord. All I could do was squat there in the dirt and cry for joy at this miracle birthed in the corn field!!! Amazing! Once the cord was cut, Martha asked me to wrap the baby and carry him inside. She stayed in the garden for the "rest" of the process.
        I carefully weaved myself through the corn and pumpkin plants and into their house. After gingerly sitting down on the bed, I examined the little guy from head to foot, being very careful to make sure he was still breathing air. I felt so responsible. Suddenly he started opening his eyes and I began talking to him quietly, introducing myself as his auntie and welcoming him to the world. It was such a very precious moment, realizing I was the first to be honored to hold him and the first face he looked at! I called his sisters in who had all been very worried for their mother and introduced them to their new little brother. They were all enamored.
     After finishing the rest of her delivery, Miriam helped bathe Martha and brought her into the house to join her baby. Several neighbor ladies must have heard the news and came to congratulate the mother and make sure she and baby were ok. We all exclaimed how strong and brave Martha was and recounted the story several times. Sweat was dripping down our faces so I rushed home and fixed a big pitcher of juice and we all drank some cold juice to celebrate the smooth, safe delivery of our newest GTC resident. :)
     God is amazing. He was so evidently there with us in the corn field as this very precious life came into the world! In the States we're so worried about the hospital and doctor or midwife we'll have, and here she was content to go squat in her garden!!!! What a miracle!


Sandy said...

Elia and I really enjoyed this story. I gave her a summarized version... we are praising God for new life on the other side of the world today!!! May God bless Martha and her eighth child! What a beautiful event to be a part of!

Tanya said...

One of my FB friends (Melanie Freshour) posted a link to your blog and I have so enjoyed reading it! First off I recognised the Meroe pyramids in the background of your beautiful family picture, then I realised that you were writing from Sudan! We spent 2 years working in Khartoum back in 2001-2003. My daughter Shani was born there - not quite in a cornfield but squatting at the end of our bed on the concrete floor before the midwife had time to arrive!! Your blog has brought back so many memories - thank you!!
Tanya Wright

Anonymous said...

What a gorgeous baby and what a birth story! Really enjoy reading all your posts, Bethany. We don't know each other but I feel like I know you. Our daughter Angela (Rolf and family) were missionaries in Sherkole refugee camp in Ethiopia before the Uduks, Mabaan and Dinka went back to Sudan. She knows Martha and her family well and sends her congratulations to them!
A and R are now working amongst the Gumuz in Ethiopia... Anyway, I follow your blog since I am still feeling 'connected' to the people that we met when we visited A in Sherkole and before that Bonga:) Sharon Friesen