Four days till I’m on a plane to Thailand.
My journey began fifteen months ago, during my second trip to Haiti to work in a cholera clinic. One of the women who had come in during the night was having a lot of pain. When I examined her in the morning, I thought she didn’t look like a typical cholera patient. Actually, she didn’t have cholera; she was in labor.
Our clinic staff mobilized quickly, preparing a semi-private area (that had just been bleached) in which she could have her baby. It happened to be a day we were short on gloves, so I washed the pair I had in as much soapy water as I could. We disinfected scissors and found clean blankets. The neonatologist began winding IV tubing into the adult sized ventilation mask to try to make it smaller in case the baby wasn’t breathing and we had to rescuscitate the her.
Our clinic had a very specific mission and very specific rules about what the volunteers could do, and letting me travel in the back of a tap-tap in case the baby came on the way to the maternity hospital was not of them. My supervisor heard my fears that the baby might die in the back of the truck but couldn’t allow me to deliver the baby in the clinic. She asked me what to do. I said Pray.
This is a tap-tap. Well, actually it’s a cola truck. But if you took out the cola and filled it with people going to work, it would be a tap-tap. If you put a woman in labor in it, it would be an ambulance.
While Maggie was praying, I caught a beautiful, little baby and laid her, crying, on her mother’s belly. God is good.
The next week, when I was home, it was time to renew my NRP certification. The NRP is the Neonatal Resuscitation Program, and every licensed birth attendant in this country maintains certification in this program. I told my story to the person retesting me and said I had a desire to adapt it for the developing world. She said the AAP had already done it.