Watching a Live Birth

While at a government hospital, I had the honor to shadow a birth. The child’s birth reminded me of the book, “The Spirit Catches You, and You Fall Down” because of how the mother processed the birth.

While shadowing ante-natal, I was able to learn how to measure a baby’s heartbeat while using a Pinard cone. Here is a picture of one just in case you have never seen one:



So during the visit, a woman came in talking about how she was dilating but her water did not break. The midwives instructed her to lie down so they could measure how far the mother was dilated. She was almost fully dilated at 7 cm ( usually 10 cm is considered fully dilated)  but her water still did not break, so the midwife broke her amniotic sac in order to induce labor. The midwife placed a bucket under the woman’s legs so when the sac broke, the liquid wouldn’t spill all over the place. The midwives placed a drug in the iv fluid which was supposed to help induce labor.

The woman did not scream or yell at all. The midwives instructed the mother to lie on her side because the baby was too far angled and it would have been uncomfortable for the baby to come out of the birth canal. Every time the woman contracted she did not make a single sound. She breathed a little harder but was calm throughout the process. When discussing birth in the United States, all I remember is hearing screaming noises and mothers using an epidural. Not that there is anything wrong with using an epidural, but some of the mothers in Uganda are unable to use these resources so some of the mothers give birth without using any type of pain killers. It was quite admirable!

The woman gave birth within an hour. Her baby was a beautiful boy. The midwife massaged the abdomen to get rid of any clots and to help assist with the “second birth.” The “second birth” is the delivery of the placenta. The placenta provides nutrients and oxygen. It is delivered 5-15 minutes after the birth of the baby. The baby was then wrapped up like a little burrito and placed under a light to keep the baby warm.

I will admit it, it was a very emotional experience. I have always wanted to be a midwife and the mother allowed me to be part of this experience with her. I am so thankful that the mother shared this  beautiful moment with me.

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