The final rotation in ObGyn is something called a “baby catching posting”. It’s a period where you get to witness births, assist, and if you’re lucky (or pushy in this case), conduct a delivery yourself.
For our baby catching rotation, we were posted to a mission hospital somewhere in Ogidi, Anambra state, Nigeria.
Iyienu Mission Hospital is a sublime, pristine hospital located in Ogidi Anambra state. Established by the Church Missionary Society in 1907, it is undoubtedly one of the oldest hospitals in Nigeria (the oldest in South-East Nigeria).
There is an impressive Accidents and Emergency block, as well as male and female medical wards. There is also an entire block dedicated to maternal health: antenatal, labour and postnatal wards in-situ. The labour ward is run by an efficient team of nurses and midwives, and these women were our instructors for our entire stay there.
A friend once said that there is no greater joy than helping a mother bring a child into the world and seeing the smile on her face afterwards. I couldn’t agree more.
ObGyn textbooks would discuss the mechanisms of labour, along with physiologic explanations for each step. But nothing in the books prepares you for the actual moment when you witness your first birth.
One minute, a mother is moaning in pain and calling for the nurse to give her an epidural or something, and the next moment, she’s lying back silently, with a satisfied smile on her face, and responding to the congratulations of the team on-call after her baby is born.
It’s sublime. Seeing a baby bump, monitoring the fetal heart tones, and all of a sudden getting to meet the little fellow whose heart rate you counted with the help of the doppler device.
It’s almost divine, walking that line between life and death and being on hand to welcome yet another passenger, naked and squalling, into the world.
But it could be scary too.
For a process as beautiful and joyous as birthing a baby, any number of things could go wrong.
There could be poor progress of labour.
There could be an obstruction to the foetus’ passage.
Or the foetus could go into distress.
For all of these possible eventualities (there’s more still), if there is no intervention by skilled medical personnel, the outcome could be – bad.
(This is part of the reason there’s so much advocation for women to present to centres where they can receive emergency obstetric and neonatal care if necessary)
But it’s not just pregnant women that need trained midwives.
Would you believe me if I told you you were pregnant right now?
Believe it or not, you certainly are.
And it doesn’t matter if you’re male or if you ended your obstetric career years ago.
Here’s why- we all carry a seed within us.
So just in case you’re wondering I this is some religious mumbo-jumbo, it isn’t.
Your seed is your unique and specific assignment. The reality you were sent to earth to birth.
For Albert Einstein, it might have been the theory of relativity, for Martin Luther King Jr, the emancipation of the black race, for Mozart music.
You get the drift, right?
And believe it or not, no one comes in here barren. We are all with child.
But what determines if that seed ends up as a cute little 5-year-old at a piano recital or an early pregnancy loss is dependent on you and what you surround yourself with.
Just as we expect clients to book for antenatal care and be regular with their visits, it’s much the same for us.
We need the necessary information about what to expect in our “pregnancy”, how to identify if our purposes/visions are about to be aborted, and the proper diet and nutrition we need to nourish the growing seed within us.
When mothers don’t get enough folic acid during this period, their babies could have congenital defects. And you don’t want that for your baby, do You?
Your baby is depending on you to give them the right nourishment.
Be intentional with your preparation season.
Now you know you’re in labour. It’s finally time for those prophecies God told you about long ago to be fulfilled; what do you do?
Labour was never meant to be experienced alone. I mean, look at the oldest medical profession mentioned in the Bible: midwifery. [Exodus 1:15-16]
You need midwives to tell you what to do at each stage of labour- to breathe through your mouth and resist the urge to bear down prematurely (to try to get yourself where God has shown you ahead of the schedule). To push with contractions and bring forth your baby when the time is right…
Especially if you’re a primigravida (someone experiencing their first pregnancy).
Your midwives will protect the seed. [Exodus 1:15-20]
This is what Shiphrah and Puah did in Egypt when the Pharaoh commanded that all male babies be killed at birth. Because the enemy will try to kill your seed.
You need midwives who will birth your seed and stand against the enemy’s clawing hands.
You need a midwife like Elizabeth, whom when Mary came to visit, unsure of what was going on around her and within her, confirmed what God was doing in Mary’s life and encouraged her with her testimony. [Luke 1:39-45]