It has been an intense week! Last Wednesday I went to Kasana to help out but it was very slow. When I arrived, there was a mom and dad with their one-week-old baby boy. The mom had a c-section and it was infected, and baby was sick and not eating. I babysat while dad was in the room with mom as she had her incision cleaned out. The stress and tension on dad’s face was terrible. My heart broke for him. I spent about an hour holding baby and then went home. Saturday came around and I went back to Kasana. It was a very slow day with few deliveries, but the couple from Wednesday was back for treatment. Baby had been on IV, his health was improving, and he started eating, which is great. Mom was doing very poorly, though, and was being admitted to stay in the hospital because her infection had developed into sepsis. Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection. It occurs when chemicals that are released into the bloodstream to fight the infection trigger inflammatory responses throughout the body. This inflammation triggers a cascade of changes that can damage multiple organ systems, causing them to fail.   

   I ended up spending most of the day taking care of baby. I watched him so dad could help mom bathe. When they came back, dad kept saying to me, “You just take the baby and take care of him.   I cannot go to work and take care of him. My wife cannot take care of him. You please just take him.” What a tough and awkward situation to be put in. I want to help but obviously I’m not taking anyone’s baby. After I said no, I am not taking your baby, I helped mom get comfortable enough to breastfeed. Baby is not a very good eater and he is still sick, which made breastfeeding a bit of a task. He was quite fussy and kept kicking mom right in the same area as her c-section. What a tough situation—my heart broke for the poor woman. Baby eventually settled down, the feeding went well, they both got some rest, and I went home. 

I could not imagine going through what that couple is experiencing right now. Breastfeeding, being a mom, and parenting is already so hard. 

I went back to Kasana on Sunday morning to check on mom and baby.   

   As soon as I walked into the ward, there was a mom on the delivery bed and baby was coming fast. I walked up and held her hand. She was moving around on the table quite a bit and I could tell from the look on her face it had been a long and painful night. The midwife from the night shift, who was still on duty, wasn’t around. I stayed with mom so she wouldn’t be alone. After being in the room for about 10 minutes, mama started pushing. I could see a little bit of the head starting to emerge with each push and the midwife was still not there. I grabbed the latex gloves, looked at mama and she looked back at me and said, “You put,” meaning she wanted me to put on the gloves. I was seriously thinking about putting on the gloves and delivering the baby myself but the mamas bring all supplies, even gloves, for their births. There were only gloves for the midwife to wear yet there was no way I was doing it barehanded. Also, delivery is completely out of my scope of practice and I did not want to be responsible. So instead, I told her to not push and yelled for the midwife. Thank god she showed up in time to do the delivery because she had to pull and twist baby to get him out. Everything turned out okay. Baby and mama were happy and healthy.   

   During the first delivery, another young girl came in and lay on the other delivery bed. I hurried back to help her and she was instantly attached to me. Her mom eventually showed up but she wasn’t letting go of me. We pretty much just held onto each other for an hour and a half before she was ready to push. With every contraction, she squeezed the shit out of me, and then I massaged her and did acupressure on her back after every contraction. I held and supported her while she rested and leaned into my arms. She was amazing and birthed a beautiful little girl who came out screaming, letting us know she was here! Everyone was excited and happy. It was the sweetest birth I have experienced, yet—my lucky number seven! 

   After all that excitement, I went to check on the mom with sepsis. She looked a bit better, she said baby was definitely eating better, so I’m sure that lifted her spirits and eased some of her stress. It was such a great morning. I couldn’t imagine a better way to start the month of February than by helping bring sweet, new babies into the world.

   After a full moon hung in the night sky, I woke up and knew it was going to busy at Kasana, again. I went to Shanti early in the morning, came home, ate lunch, and headed back. And OMG, it was the busiest it had been in the delivery ward. Every bed was full, most spaces on the floor were taken, and there were a couple women in labour outside. I walked back to the delivery room and the midwife had just finished doing a delivery. She performed an episiotomy on a girl and they were waiting for the husband to get back from town with the needle and sutures. That poor girl had to lie there and wait for a half an hour before her husband got back and she could get stitched up. When the husband finally got back, the midwife asked me to suture her up because she was so busy with the other women. Unfortunately, I am not that skilled, so I couldn’t do the suturing. Instead I went and looked after some labouring women while she took care of the episiotomy.   

   It was an absolutely crazy day at Kasana. I spent six hours there today, helped deliver two more babies, cared for multiple women with back pain, while they were laboured. Women were coming in and out for vaginal exams. It was nuts. At 6:30 p.m. I had to call it a night and head home. Before I left, the midwife made sure to tell me to come back tomorrow and that I would be able to do a delivery on my own. I think they may be getting too comfortable with my help.

February started off with a bang. I’m in a bit of a daze but my heart is full.