Birth and Gratitude

Our Big, Beautiful world and babies!! 

You guys… I saw a birth! I didn't know if it was going to happen while I was here because although many pregnant women come through they are only here for a few hours or a day or so. I have palpated bellies and listened to heart tones and given reassurance where I could. I have seen a few newly postpartum women and checked for infection and provided well baby check ups. I did a night shift in the family compound in Moria, an area designated for families. We had a busy shift and were steady all night. Not crazy busy but no one was sleeping. :) we had about 10 mins of quiet, just enough time to close our eyes. I opened mine quite quickly when the clinic door opened. I heard a woman making a very familiar sound, and watched her lean over and clutch her tightening belly. Needless to say I shot up and welcomed her. Then I said to the Doctors on shift, I think we will probably need to go. After watching the 2nd contraction my hypothesis was confirmed. haha!  I asked the mother, who is from Afghanistan, how many babies she has and Anissa (not her real name) said this is her second. She wasn't speaking english and I wasn't speaking farsi, but we were communicating. I said, I think your baby is coming and we should go to the hospital. She nodded and I knew we should hurry it along. Anissa was stoic and yet I could tell she was well on her way. The hospital is about 20 mins away. We called MSF(Doctors without Borders) and had their farsi translator speak with the father, Salam(not his real name) and Anissa to let them know we think we should head to hospital and ask if they had any questions. They were on board and we headed out in Dr. Clarissa’s car. Strangely Clarissa and I had already dubbed ourselves the dream team as she is an Urologist  and I am a midwife :) She was happy to drive, while I sat in the back seat in case I had to catch the baby on the way. Equipped with a few gloves, some towels, and a bulb syringe, which I rarely use but I grabbed it none the less. I thought we might have a car birth, and I know mama was holding baby in so we could make it to hospital. I am sure the car rental place is appreciative. We made it to the hospitaland we were told to sit in the hallway. Anissa was working hard and contractors were every 2 minutes. We waited for the doctor to come and check in but no one came and about 10 mins in, she looked at me, she really LOOKED at me. I said is the baby coming, she nodded. Clarissa grabbed a nurse and we walked down the hall to a room. Then her water broke and the baby came, she was holding tight onto our hands and the Greek staff wanted us out - we held on as long as we could. We saw the baby come and be held upside down and then put into a warmer. Anissa did amazing and Clarissa and I were shoed out of the room. 5 mins later we saw Anissa shuffling down the hall we cheered and greeted her with huge smiles and hugs! She was so happy. We tucked her into bed and went to find Salam who was with their 2 year old son and unable to come in to room with him. We made it work and gave Salam some time with Anissa, it took almost 2 hours to get mom and baby reunited, but they were. Both Anissa and Baby girl are HAPPY AND HEALTHY!! 

They took the ferry the next day to Athens. Many amazing volunteers came together to get this family some resources and their birth certificate, discharged,  to the ferry and a hotel once they arrived in Athens and some money. It was beautiful to be a part of the safety net we cast around this lovely family. When I came by to see them off, Anissa said she didn't want to leave with out saying goodbye and thank you. She told me she would pray for me everyday and that I was sent from God. You guys, all I did was hold her hand and show her kindness. That is all. Anyone would do the same and many did. While I was chatting with Anissa and a doctor that spoke some farsi, someone asked if I wanted a picture and I thought I better not. Then Anissa asked if she could take a photo with me and the baby because she didn't want to forget. She was happy to have our picture taken and since it was her idea, I am happy to have it! Thanks to Maria our lovely Greek doctor that helped with all the paperwork, and the many, many translators that stepped in and to the doctors, nurses and midwives that gave money and support. It was beautiful. As I walked the family out of camp where a ride to the ferry, we held hands and I could feel the gratitude, pride and hope this family felt I knew it was a win for humanity. Love wins.

xo, Nicole