Thursday, August 4

Jesus is here.

Caution: this is graphic. If you were uncomfortable in your 9th grade Biology screening of "the Miracle of Life" let this be your warning….

At 3:00 yesterday afternoon I had a few problems. We were trying to prepare for Emily, stalking all the weather news, preparing the houses to hold all the extra people, storing enough clean water etc. Hannah (another volunteer) and I were having the hardest time covering a table in contact paper. Too many stinking air bubbles.

At 3:30 I heard Licia's yelling voice from the clinic yard, "CAROLINEEE" (a little panicky) and then I had a few more problems. Two specifically…

A mother in labor was being consulted by the momma and baby nurse, Bernita. She told Bernita that she had been having labor pains since 4 a.m. and started pushing without any progression. Her previous 3 children had come really fast so she was alarmed and had a midwife come who told her to go to a hospital. Mom and Grandma get on a moto and ride 3 hours (YES, I SAID 3 HOURS) down from the mountains. In labor. On a moto. They didn't get a hospital when they came to us, but they had nowhere else to go. It was clear by the time that she got here that her contractions are one on top of the other so Bernita puts her on the table to check her and when she does something doesn't feel right and the fluid mom was leaking was green. This is what Licia tells me as I'm running across the yard. Okay, hmm so that sounds interesting.

I like labor and delivery so I yell at Hannah to come down and help because we get to deliver another baby, yay! Let's get mom up on the table and see what's going on. I check her and sure enough baby has passed meconium (baby's first poop for all you 9th graders). And sure enough something didn't feel right. Babys pass meconium in utero most often when they are in distress. I am not a midwife yet. I am not an L&D nurse or an OB. I know enough to know that what I am feeling is not a head or a foot, but I can't tell you much more than that. Okay, so what are we going to do here? I have never delivered a breech baby. Lori is somewhere between Texas and California. Licia knows accounting really really well and has helped Lori birth some babies in the past. Yanick is the best non-nurse suterer and IV starter I know. Hannah is a very eager, very helpful college student. Bernita and I are technically the only trained medical professionals.

Momma's contractions are getting closer and stronger and she is looking like she is going to push. Our hearts beat a little harder and we breathe a little faster and Licia looks at me and says "we're in trouble here." Great, got that. Now what? The closest hospital is a two hour drive away. We both start to talk out loud, racking our brains for what to do. We finally get a glimpse as mom starts pushing and all we see is blue blue skin. And more meconium. The out loud rambling between me and Licia goes on, something like "okay calm your breathing, let's not freak out, what can we do?" Mom is pushing and hollering, grandma is crying waving her arms in the air. The name of Jesus is then envoked thousands of times over the next 2 hours. It is all sort of a blur but I will try to piece the next few minutes together.

Basically as mom is pushing out pops baby's blue butt. More meconium. None of us can get a finger around any other part of baby. We are stretching mom and yelling PUSH! PUSH! Out pops little girl part. She pees. PUSH! PUSH! Stuck, not budging. More stretching. More hands trying to get around any part of baby to help pull her out. Shoot, this is already taking way too long. PUSH! PUSH! Out pop's a very blue, very floppy leg. More stretching, more yelling, more Jesus. Licia screams out the door of the dressing room "everybody come pray!!!!" The entire staff crowds around the room, peeking through the window singing praise songs. PUSH! PUSH! Baby girl's abdomen comes out and we see her take a breath. PRAISE GOD! Now Jesus, get that baby out. More stretching, more pushing, and nothing. I try to reach in and grab an arm but can't get ahold of anything. Baby girl's shoulders were stuck with her arms above her head. JESUS! Mom has to rest between contractions and we are just losing time. JESUS! At one point, there were multiple hands inside momma trying to get a hold of her shoulders to pull her out. One very blue, very floppy arm is delivered. Another very blue, very floppy arm is delivered. I will never in my life forget the next few moments that seem to last for eternity. Baby girl's entire body was delivered except for her head, momma was exhausted and could hardly push anymore. We stood and watched baby girl's ribs rise and fall with every breath she tried to take. It has been minutes and we cannot get the head out. We try to turn baby around. We open mom's hips wider. Nothing. Licia looks at me and says "I can't do this." We were watching that baby die before our eyes and now have a mom who is at very high risk of losing her life. There would be no way to send mom in town if we were unable to deliver. JESUS. No signs of baby breathing anymore. Mom is starting to bleed. We have to get baby out. Let's get her up, let's get her squatting. It takes 4 people to get mom squatting on the bed. And with a few really good pushes the head comes out.

The little blue baby girl flops on the bed, nose and mouth full of fluid. My first breech and my first stillborn, I thought. We flip her upside down and I get underneath with a bulb syringe sucking as much out as possible. With the other hand we are slapping baby on the back trying any stimulation. Nothing. Thank God for the other women in the room because I completely forgot about mom. Nothing from baby. I probably said "come on little girl" 100 times. After a minute or so, we started CPR and had a good heartbeat but still no breathing. After 5 minute I was this close to saying "we're done" and then a tiny little gasp from baby girl. We stop and look at each other. Was that a breath? Licia yells "everybody pray for the baby." The voices singing praise rose and the rain came down hard. We could hardly hear each other's voice. We continued to give 2 breaths for a few minutes and she began to breathe every 20 seconds or so. We continued stimulation, warmed her up and got a the suction machine on. The gasps got closer together and before I knew it she had a steady respiratory rate. We put her on a little oxygen and though her limbs were still very blue and she had no tone, a little glimpse of hope stirred in our hearts.

Meanwhile, mom was bleeding pretty heavily. The other nurses gave her pitocin and started IV fluids and she began to regain her strength, eyes fixed on the baby between her legs God was saving. Licia had to run out the gate to give some medicine to someone and she came back with tears filled in her eyes. There were 75 people outside the clinic gate with their arms in the air praying for baby girl. They all wanted to know if she was alive. YES, JESUS she was alive. Over the next two hours we slowly watched her come into this world. With every faint cry there was a celebration. After an hour she opened her eyes and we all cried Jesus.

After a couple hours she was starting to pink up and gain a little more strength. Her cries became louder we decided to call our favorite and very available pedi guru, Dr. Jen. I had not been able to think past getting her to breathe so we wanted her help in knowing what to do next. She suggested an IV with some fluids with a little dextrose, since you know, little girl had been under a little bit of stress today. By 8 pm last night you would have never known what little girl had been through, she looked amazing and was even smacking her lips to get her momma's breast. I woke up every two hours last night to check on them and was continually amazed at how well she was doing. Mom was gently holding her and feeding her as she cried. A scene only hours before I thought was impossible.

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This is the beautiful, perfect, non-bruised face of a baby who did not come down the birth canal head first :) Instead she has tons of bruising on her butt and shoulders.

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All day I had been occupied by the impending storm and though the sky looked like this outside, inside the dressing room Jesus sweetly whispered to me "Child, I've got this."

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In all the madness yesterday, Yanick suggested that we name this little girl Jesula, which means Jesus is here. Because He is.

You can read Licia's version here.

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sea salt MOSAIC said...

oh His mercy makes me sob.

His strong and gentle hands, giving life to the fragile, vulnerable, and weak.

praise Him.

praying for you all and rejoicing in your faith.

Cindi said...

I am speechless! God is so very good! All the time!

Ronan D.R. said...


Okay, that was an /amazing/ story. Thanks so much for sharing. (Came here through Ritz.)

DeDe said...

Can't find any words to say. Praise Jesus!