Nov 8 – My First Baby! (Just Kidding)

Got to see a live birth today! If giving birth in America is hard, giving birth in Africa is even more painful. Fatou, the woman in labor, had been laying on the maternity “bed” for over 13 hours. There’s no sedatives available when you’re in labor, there’s no comfy room, and you’re lucky if there’s a nurse that can stay and check up on you every once in a while. Eliane was on maternity duty today and she told me I’d be delivering the baby….funny. I gave her a ‘are you serious?!’ look, and the scary thing is, she would’ve gladly let me deliver the baby. ‘Rashou, you are afraid?’ (Eliane pronounces my name ‘Rashou’). I responded that I wasn’t afraid, I was just nervous for the moaning mother in agony. I was, however, a little scared I might throw up the lunch that I had just eaten 5 minutes ago when she called me to come to the poste de santé.

This is the type of maternity ‘bed’ that would be used for a delivery

The whole delivery went by really fast. I wasn’t helpful at all except for when Eliane wanted me to scoop some water from a bucket to ‘wash’ her gloved hands. Most of the time, I just stood there sort of gawking/ in shock/ being fascinated at the whole process. I won’t gross y’all out and go into details, but it was definitely an experience and quite interesting. This didn’t happen at my poste de santé but one of my friends told me that as part of superstition, some women saved their placentas and buried it for fertility. Interesting. However, I will say though, I’ve never seen a placenta before and didn’t realize how much it resembled a brain. That might be a silly comment but I think it’s true.

Anyway, I did get to cut the umbilical cord on the little guy though!


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