The baby that couldn’t wait.

The crisis on Honduras continues and we continue to ask for your prayers for peace here in this place.

I write today to tell you about a diversion from all of the talk of political crisis an uncertainty. This is also an excellent example of how the work of the hospital continues each and every day.

In terms of some simple background, there is a young woman who works here at the hospital as a nurse’s aide. A coupe of weeks ago, I happened to be returning from giving someone a ride out to her home town (about 8 km from the hospital). As I was returning, I came upon this young woman, pregnant as she could be, walking her bicycle up a hill, starting the journey to work. When I pulled up next to her and offered her a ride to work, well she was about as happy as someone could be. I hadn’t realized until then how close she was to her due date and I marveled at how someone this far along in her pregnancy could bike to work, work a 12 hour shift at the hospital, and then bike home. Once again, there are things that I just didnt understand about how the rest of the world operates until I moved out of the country. While this seems incredibly hard, even cruel, to expect a woman this far along in her pregnancy to make the trek into work, it is a simple fact of life here.

Background over, let’s get to the story: yesterday (Saturday) I was assisting John Alden with making a conference call to the USA via Skype to consult with a medical specialist on a very difficult case. The nurses kept calling John on the radio so I excused myself from the conference call and went to the nurse’s station to tel them that he was on the phone. I asked them if their question could wait for 10-15 minutes until John was done with his conference call to which they replied with silence. Silence in this case means no, they just weren’t willing to say no. I asked them what was going on and they told me that the young lady that I had given a ride to a couple of weeks ago was at home and having strong contractions and that she was ready to have her baby. Ok, I went back in and interrupted the conference call to tell John. I offered to drive out to her village and get her and bring her back to the hospital as long as John promised me that she wouldn’t deliver in my truck on the way (smile). He promised and off I went. I had her back to the hospital in 20 minutes. Looking good. Her water hadn’t broken yet and contractions seemed to have leveled off. I figured it would be hours before she delivered. Boy was I wrong.

John had suggested that the soon expectant mother walk the halls of the hospital to keep the contractions moving ahead. This is good sound advice and any fathers among us will have memories of laps around the hospital with soon to be mom, dragging an IV pole and telling our wives how beautiful they look in the hospital gown. “I think we should get some fabric like that honey and see if we can make you a blouse or something – that color really looks nice on you.” The wife usually replies: “Shut up.” You get the picture – walking around the hospital as labor develops is pretty normal stuff.

I was sitting in the delivery room talking with John when Penny screeched. Now Penny is not only the RN, she also happens to be John’s wife. So when Penny screeches, John listens on both accounts. “John, help me get her back to the delivery room!” “Her water broke out in the hall way and she is really pushing!” Ok, we ran to help Penny get a wheel chair and get our patient back to the delivery room. When we got to the hallway where she had been walking, we found her kneeling down on the floor not only pushing, but having her baby right there in the hallway! The baby’s head was already out and the rest of baby wasn’t far behind! I grabbed the poor lady and held her up so that she could push. John went to work on the business end of the delivery and within 30-60 seconds of our arrival we had a little baby girl laying on her side on towels rapidly shoved underneath mom and taking her first breaths! We got the basics (suction – towel dry the baby off) and then got mom and baby up and got them back to the delivery room so that we could attend to the baby (Penny) and attend to mom (John). I spent the next half hour with the great privilege of being able to help out in the delivery room assisting the nurses as they assisted both John and Penny with an extra hand or some medical supplies. What a neat blessing!

Typically a man who is not the doctor or a very close family member (i.e. dad) wouldn’t be able to get near the delivery room setting without being beaten by the nurses and other family members attending the birth. Fortuntely, I’ve been able to help out enough now and the situation was urgent enough that my help was welcome. I spent 10 years as an EMT and as I’ve mentioned in these pages before, God has given me a great gift in allowing me to have a tiny medical role to play here at the hospital.

Of course, as anyone who has ever been involved in a birth can tell you, it is simply a miracle that a live human being can and does grow inside of mom’s tummy and is then delivered into this world. There are never words to describe the wonder of birth. In the midst of all of the public and private uncertainty in this place and with this mother, God’s miracle is still evident. He formed us in the womb and we are indeed His most special creation.

Here is a picture of the little baby that couldn’t wait. Please pray for this little life and for the mother.

“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you…..”