Last week I had one of the most extraordinary experiences I have had in my life so far. I had the honour of not only helping to deliver a baby, but cutting the umbilical cord, cleaning her off and dressing her.
Here where I am volunteering in the Philippines there is a pre-natal clinic which I have helped at a few times. Normally these visits involve taking the mothers blood pressure, weighing her, measuring the babies heart rate and measuring it’s growth by feeling her stomach. This in itself to me already was amazing to be able to be a part of as I have had no experience with it previously. On one particular day last week I was invited back with Katherine (another volunteer who is here for a month) to help with a birth in the afternoon. Having never had children or witnessed a birth we were both slightly apprehensive as to what we should expect. Well if I’m being honest we were both petrified that we weren’t going to be able to even watch, let alone help. Determined though we both agreed to come back and at 3pm returned to the clinic with faces as though ready for battle.
In the end the mother’s labour continued on till about 6pm without much happening, apart from the occasional check to see how dilated she was and the fantastic husband running to get her a coke (things aren’t quite as strict in the Philippines).
I would just like to take this moment to say what an absolute trooper this mother was the entire time even during the birth. She barely made a sound. I have made more noise from stubbing my toe than she did from birthing her daughter. Never again will I take a TV or Movie birth seriously, the screaming and thrashing around…take a leaf out of super Mum’s book and just dig your nails into your husbands arm.
At around 6pm things really kicked up a gear, latex gloves went on, endless rolls of tissue and toilet paper were folded (I am now a fully certified toilet paper and tissue roller for births now) and almost mother assumed a position. 11 minutes later after some serious pushing, some pulling from our end, lots of encouragement and a grunt from Mum which could have been mistaken for the sound you make when you bite your tongue, and a brand new, beautiful, perfect baby popped into the world. I hadn’t quite realised how blue babies are when they are born, I felt as though I was looking at a baby Smurf, but over the next 20 minutes all the blue drained away and the most wonderful and fresh tanned skin tone crept in. After the birth as I said, I cut the umbilical cord and then we wiped her down and dressed her tiny body in her first outfit.
Watching a human coming into the world, hearing their first cry, seeing their eyes open for the first time and being there for the first 30 minutes of their life is an indescribable feeling. For me nothing else mattered at that time, nothing in the world was bad or wrong, all I could process was the tiny human staring back at me.
To Katherine and my wonderful surprise helping deliver the baby did not put us off from having children at all. In fact, made us more excited for when/if our time comes. To feel that much joy and not even be the one with the baby afterwards, I cannot imagine how sensational it must be to actually be the mother (minus the sleep deprivation). What a privilege to be there and do even a little something to help in God’s creation.