Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Story


So it’s 9 am and I’m staring at this woman’s pwerta (vagina) thinking, “Oh my God, what have I gotten myself in to?” It’s just as much a prayer as it is anything else, because at this point, I really am praying just as much as I am freaking out.
I can see the head. I look at Ruth, the girl who’s charting for me. “3 cm visible with pushing.” I say. She nods and writes it down. I look at my supervisor, who is also my assistant. She gives me a reassuring smile. I take a deep breath. “Oh God. What am I doing?”

“5 cm visible.” I call out to Ruth. I look at the woman laying in front of me. “Ginhawa. Breathe.” I say. “Just breathe. Ginhawa lang.”
She nods between breaths and contractions. I smile at her, hoping that I look reassuring and not scared witless.
“8cm Ruth.” The bag of water breaks under the towel I’m holding. I see it trickle down the mother’s skin. “SROM.” I call out to let Ruth know that the membranes have spontaneously ruptured.
Then Heather is right next to me, her hands over mine, guiding me. “Support the head.” She says. I do as told and keep telling the mother to breathe. “Ha.” I say to her. “That’s right. Ha. Like a cough.”
She says “Ha.”
“Again.” Both Heather and I say.
“Good. Again.” I tell her softly as I watch the head crown.
She continues to ha and I watch the baby’s head slip out. “Head out.” I call.
Heather guides my hands again. “Check for a cord wrap or hands.”
I quickly check to make sure the umbilical cord isn’t wrapped around the baby. It isn’t, but the baby has it’s hand up by it’s head. Heather slips the hand out. I look at the mother. “Ok ginhawa.” I tell her. The baby slides out into my waiting hands.
I lay the baby on the mother’s belly. Heather takes over from there. It’s the assistant’s job to check the baby after birth. I watch for bleeding and wait for the placenta. We tell the father to check if the baby is a boy or girl. It’s a girl. And, for what feels like the first time in twenty minutes, I take a breath.
The rest of the birth went well. She delivered the placenta about 50 minutes after birth, breastfed well, and all of her checks were normal. I can’t stop smiling. They tell me they don’t have a name for the baby. But we all thinks she’s pretty cute anyways.
I bathe the baby and she cries. But the moment I have her wrapped back up and am snuggling her close she quiets down and her curious eyes dart all over. Her mother gets up to go to the CR (comfort room) and I do the newborn exam. She’s whole and perfect. She weighs 6 pounds exactly and refuses to let me get good foot prints.
When I’m done, I take her back to her mother and get them situated in the post partum area. And then I finally get a small break. It’s about noon and I stuff my face with more popcorn than I though was humanly possible. Then I get back to work. I get all the paperwork signed and finished. The only thing left is for the father to wash the plastic things we used. I do my last set of vitals. On my way out of the post partum area the father catches me and says, “We picked a name.” I pull out the birth certificate worksheet and wait for him to tell me what they picked. “Ashley Mae.” He tells me. I have him spell it for me and we just smile at each other.

“It’s a good name.” I tell him. He nods. He knows it’s a good name.
I go sit down and look over my chart. It’s the end of my shift and all my work is done. I sit back and sigh, ready to hand them over to the next shift. They’re almost ready to go home so I don’t feel bad handing them off. I just feel hungry. And happy.

The End