A lesson in Humility…

        The evening started out quiet enough… two laboring moms, both had been at it all day, since early morning.  I am getting fairly good as spotting the shoulder dystocia labors and feel like I have a limit as far as how long I would let a laboring mom go.  There are 3 kinds of dystocia.  One, as the baby enters the pelvis way inside, one in the middle at the ischial spines and outlet dystocia.  Each as it’s signs and potential correction measures.

          Here at the clinic,  if they try the birth stool, if they try hands and knees, if they try a standing squat, and still not progress over 2 hours, then we transport.  I think that I would probably transport earlier, if I felt that there was true dystocia.   

          My laboring mom started getting high blood pressure and she had been laboring all night and all day, and pushing for 2 hours, so we decided to transport for mid-pelvic dsytocia and exhaustion.  It is such as disappointment for these moms to transport to the hospital.  None of them can afford it.  And, the hospital does not let them leave until they pay.  We have one mom who they are not letting her see her baby after c –section and she has been there for two days. Another mom we transported has been there for 5 days and is very ready to leave, but they have no money, so she and the baby must stay, separate beds (baby in nursery).  Her bana must bring her food to eat and the cats prowl the floors for mice at night. ( and day).

          As the lessons of the night progressed, I was totally blind-sighted by the next lesson that I was about to have. 

When we walked in the hospital admittance area, at the admission desk, I saw something as I climbed head first, out of the ambulance with my laboring mom, IV held high, that I couldn’t figure out.  About 20 feet away, I saw what looked like a huge acorn, sitting on a stretcher.  I couldn’t reason why everyone was hovering over this “ball” but I thought maybe someone’s body part was being protected with something brown and round.

          As I walked up closer I still could not register what I was seeing.. until I took an organized, good look.  I was in line right beside the gurney. There, lying quivering, was a baby, about 1 year old.  Her head was about the size of a beach ball.  About 1.5 ft all around.  The huge, tan, “acorn shape” was her head. Her little face was stretched completely out of proportion, as the skin was taut. The skin around her eyes stretched upwards and her eyes were opaque and obviously blind.  They wiggled with each heart beat. Her skin was very thin and blood vessels very prominent.  Her hair sparcely placed and stretched out over her scalp, were separated by individual hairs.  Actually, fairly large vessels were feeing this huge orb.  Her hands and feet were in a curled, spastic position.  It was obvious that this little one had not gotten there over night.  She was born with hydrocephalus and it had gone completely untreated.  Her huge head rested on a little pillow and her body shivered with seizures.  I have no idea how they had kept her alive that long feeding her.  She lay silently, not crying or even grimacing, obviously very used to being this way.


My stomach churned as I stood within 2 feet of her for quite a while.  I prayed, Oh how I prayed, that God would please take her home to be with Him. She did not look human. Her mommy and daddy and grandma, tenderly cared for her. Daddy carefully lifted her head. It took both of his arms to lift her head, another person supported the neck and another person the body.  All of this so they could weigh her.  He stood on the scale first without her, and then the 3 of them picked her up and then he stood with her alone on the scale for a moment and was weighed.  It is obvious that they are not treating her by inserting a shunt. And it looks like they are just waiting for her to die.  Are they just waiting so see how much fluid can collect in one little baby’s head?!?


            My heart was (and is) just so touched.  I do not usually have these experiences (in fact I cannot every remember anything like this happening to me.) But, at that moment, as I was looking at her with such pity, the Lord spoke to my heart, letting me see my own soul in comparison to this baby.  I knew in an instant, that this baby, in all of her swollenness and paralysis, is how I look to God.  My head swollen with pride, completely unable to help Him, I could see the tragedy of it all.  In my state of swollenness of mind, I am so dependent on Him and yet so full of myself.  To be of use to Him, to be functioning as His servant, I must be drained of myself and the pride that just keeps accumulating. Have you ever had the Lord reveal your true nature to you?  Ouch!  I hope that the Lord can speak to me in a quieter voice next time… 


               So, in a state of spiritual shock and being really tired, I cannot sleep and I am the only one awake here out of the 5 of us.  It is now 4:00am.  There is a laboring mom who is getting pretty close. I’d hate to handle a birth all by myself… actually the patient isn’t even mine tonight but Jenn is so tired, and I offered to labor sit for an hour or two.  I’ll wake her up as soon as mom wants to push.

      This is another sweet Christian couple.  Her Bible is by her side and she is saying scripture with each contraction.  Her bana is trying so hard to help her by rubbing her back and meeting her needs.  She is working through them very well.  Quietly, as they do.  She wanted to push sooner than I expected, so I set up all the equipment.  We sat with her, as she made tentative pushes for about ½ hour after having her get on her hands and knees for a few more contractions, then on the birthing stool, and working through getting the last few centimeters up over the baby’s head. Some wandered back to the couches to sleep. We were still working through, (painful and long lasting contractions) when 6:00 am arrived.  Time for shift change.  I considered staying, but I just longed to go hide my head under a pillow somewhere. I elected to go home to the air con room and slept for 5 hours.  It is so strange to wake up in the middle of the day and try to figure out where you are, and what it up.

          I slept soundly, but awoke with the picture of the baby burning a hole in my first conscious thought.  Oh Lord, I groaned… it this really me?  Gently He laid my thoughts to rest as He reminded be that pride is a choice, once we see it, and that I could lay it all his feet and truly be of use to Him, if I wanted to be.  I can choose to change.

        And now, a few days later, I am still feeling the effects of my “vision” of what I am like if I am full of pride.  It helps me remember to put others first. 


DSC00263 A cutie

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