Thursday, October 18, 2012

Another Incredible Birth

Sweet Baby Girl
Today started as any other day at 6 am. I woke up to a beautiful pink sunrise and a quiet hour - just the Lord and me. At 8 am, I was clearing our breakfast dishes from the table when Monica, a student in the college and neighbor to 9-month pregnant Rebecca, came to tell me that Rebecca was ready to have her baby! OK, shift gears - this is no longer an ordinary day - but not many days in Melut, South Sudan are! :)

As I hurried out the door on my way to let Claire know, it felt like a replay of a month ago when Claire and I helped another friend Martha, give birth to her 8th child in a cornfield. (If you haven't read that story yet, scroll down on the blog and you'll find it.) Claire grabbed her medical bag, already prepared, and we hurried over to Rebecca's tukul/hut. It was dark and very humid and hot inside and as our eyes adjusted to the darkness, we saw Rebecca sitting on a mat on the ground with her feet straight out in front of her, not at all what you would expect to find for a woman getting ready to give birth! We greeted her and could tell immediately that she was beginning to feel another contraction. Suddenly she got up on her knees (sorry for those who don't like the details) and her water broke. Claire and I looked at each other in surprise when we realized that she also had the urge to push already! Somehow these ladies always know when the baby is near and they call us right when the baby is about to come out - amazing!

Another contraction and a healthy baby girl was born - without even a sound from her mother. I am absolutely in awe of these tough, courageous Sudanese women who go through the most difficult pain in life without even making a peep! As it had happened before, Claire cut the umbilical cord, wiped off the baby, and passed her to me while she concentrated on helping to deliver the afterbirth. Again, I experienced the true joy and honor of being the first face this sweet baby looked up at. Her eyes slowly opened, blinking, even though it wasn't at all bright in the dark hut. I smiled at her and began talking gently to her in Arabic, welcoming her to the world and telling her how much she was loved.

Getting the afterbirth out proved to take longer than we had hoped and if you can picture at least 6 women, all from different tribes, all with their own ideas and suggestions for how to help Rebecca and what could be going wrong - it made for a tense hour. Finally, completely in answer to our prayers, everything that needed to, came out and we all praised the Lord and cheered. What could have been an emergency just affirmed to us all yet again HOW GREAT OUR GOD is and that He was indeed present with us as we all huddled together, sweating profusely.

After we helped clean Rebecca and the baby, we coaxed her into her bed to rest and nurse her new little daughter. Her other four children crowded in to see their baby sister, all with huge, shy smiles. Simon, her husband,  had been called from class and we congratulated him on his new little girl and then he returned to class.

 Once it was all over and Rebecca and baby were resting, one of the ladies started saying the baby had finally come because we had come. See, when we were leaving for Kenya for 2 weeks, I jokingly told Rebecca to wait until we got back before she had her baby. Sure enough, we got back and were quite surprised to find her still pregnant. She joked that of course she was still pregnant because I had told her to wait! So today they reminded me of what I'd said and thought it was great that this little baby had waited so that Claire and I could participate in the joy. It really is quite an amazing experience, working together with these "sisters" of many tribes and languages. When something urgent like a birth happens, we all unite and work together, and there is something so bonding about it. I really am thankful that this little girl decided to wait until October 18th. :)


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