Sunday, February 20, 2011

#26 Can’t Sleep

Everyone who knows me well knows that I can fall asleep anywhere, and easily.  No, I’m not depressed.  In fact quite the opposite.  I’m loving it here.  But the sleep issue is  even worse with pregnancy!  Twenty two weeks now and the little baby is taking half of my energy.  I fall asleep every night when I’m putting Lyol to sleep in our bedroom at 8 pm!  My poor husband.

So if I can’t sleep, or if I sleep restlessly, there’s usually a good reason.  One of our new nurses, Albertine (who is excellent), came to tell me about a pregnant patient before I put Lyol to bed.  

It was the patient’s first pregnancy.  Who knows how far along, but she was measuring 31cm fundal height (maybe about 7 or 8 months?).  She had broken her water and was about 1-2 cm dilated.  Albertine felt a hand or a foot.  She wasn’t having contractions.  

“Start antibiotics and come get me if she goes into labor.”  

I thought I should go check on her after I put Lyol to bed, but I didn’t go over there.  I kept waking up, and was sleeping very restlessly.  

At 2 am, when there was a knock on the door, I knew it was for me somehow.  Grabbing my wrap, I oozed out of bed.  One of the other nurses had come to get me and said,  “Acouchement avec pieds.”  (Delivery with feet)

I knew that meant the patient was in the middle of her delivery, feet first.  I ran to the hospital, forgetting my headlamp and keys.  

Entering maternity, the baby was already delivered, small (2.3 kg or about 5 pounds) and not breathing.  She had just delivered and the nurse was trying to stimulate the baby by rubbing the back and feet.  

There was NO suction and NO Ambu-Bag.  The nurse had used an old and used kit that had been laying on the counter to cut the cord.  Remember my lock box that I put necessary supplies in?  Well, it doesn’t work if you don’t have a KEY!  I have a key (but I forgot it at home), and the day nurse has a key (but she didn’t give it to the night nurse!).  So, we had nothing to work with!  So frustrating!  

I told the other nurse to run and find an Ambu-Bag so I could help the baby breath.  He went to pediatrics to look.  We found a unclean, used bulb suction to help suction the baby’s mouth.  All of this was taking time.  The baby still wasn’t breathing, but had a heartbeat.  If I didn’t breath for the baby, she would die.  I’m tired of babies dying here!  

So, I breathed for her.  Just a few breaths.  She whimpered.  A few more breaths of air into her lungs.  She actually cried a weak cry.  It was working.  

By this time, the other nurse returned with an Ambu-Bag, and I breathed some more with the Ambu-Bag.  No oxygen, but it worked.  The baby made several good outbursts, bringing fresh air into her tiny virgin lungs.  We had no suture to tie off the umbilical cord because it was locked in the lockbox.  

I went home to get my keys.  I looked up at the beautiful stars that were even visible with the bright moonlight tonight.  Thank you God for another life.  The devil tried to take this one, but You have snatched her back into this life.  Thank You!  

I found the keys and returned to see if the baby could start breastfeeding.  She seemed to have a suck reflex.  While I was helping this first time mom give her premature infant her first milk, Albertine told me how she delivered.  The mother had progressed very rapidly in labor.  The feet and one arm delivered at the same time, but thankfully Albertine knew enough to grab the feet and deliver her breech.    

I went home with a grateful heart and gave my husband a big kiss (of course after I washed my mouth off with bleach water).  I fell asleep peacefully.

This 5 pound baby girl was eating very well her first day, but had a fever in the afternoon.  I wrote for antibiotics to start.  The nurses know that if the parents don’t have the money then they should search for one of us to sign a “free form” for medications when it is something urgent (any baby under 3 months of age with a fever is ALWAYS urgent).  I bragged to Olen that night that another good nurse was working and I didn’t have to go back and check to see if this new baby was getting antibiotics because I trusted him.  

The next morning I was livid to find out that the antibiotics had not been started!  It seems that these little ones keep getting strikes against them.  We started them on her second day, but they should have been started earlier.  Frustrating, but God is still watching out for them even with our human downfalls.  

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