Saturday, October 26 – Welcome to Africa!
After a couple of long travel days, we arrived in Bo on Thursday afternoon. We settled in at the mission training center and took a tour of the grounds. Everyone here is so welcoming; they smile, hug us, and seem to already know us by name.
On Thursday evening we went to vespers, which is a worship service that the children at the Child Rescue Centre have every night. All of the children sing the songs from their heart; they don’t even need a hymnal. All of the songs have a beat to them, with drums as the accompaniment. After worship and prayer, we get toplay with the children. They all have lots of questions and are very friendly. These children are so loving; they hug longer and hold hands more often than other children I know.
Friday morning was an exciting day at the hospital. It was OB clinic day, where I performed 39 ultrasounds on pregnant women and the nurses did 20 + pap smears. We found a few babies that were in critical condition and needed to be delivered right away. One woman had a miscarriage and needed to be induced. Another was in labor with a set of twins.
The mother of the twins was sent to a hospital near here that is run by Doctors Without Borders. We have an OB doctor here with us and she is planning on 3 deliveries this evening.
I have never seen a woman give birth, and so when the call came, we went to the hospital. The first woman to give birth was one that had an ultrasound earlier. We knew from the scan that the baby was in distress. There was no amniotic fluid, an irregular heartbeat, and possibly renal problems.
The baby came out with the cord wrapped around its neck and had a complete cleft palate. He wasn’t a good color, had a low pulse, and was not breathing well.
We lost him.
In the middle of the night, Dr. Carol and Karen our OB nurse delivered 2 more babies. One was from the woman who had miscarried, the other a live and healthy birth.
Saturday morning first thing, we had another delivery and a healthy little girl. This has been a whirlwind, with lots of highs and lows. When we talk about the infant mortality rate it is just a number, but there is a person behind that number. This happens way too often in Sierra Leone. It is reality for these families, for these mothers.
The woman who lost her baby was gracious, kind, and had a beautiful smile. She lost her baby and yet she thanked us for all we did. We prayed over her and the baby, and God was in that, with us.
I am so blessed to be here, and I am learning so much.
Sunday, October 27 – I Love Sunday!
Spent lots of team time last night in fellowship, laughing, crying, and praying. We have bonded so well and so quickly.
With my job back home, I have to take calls and am called into work at all hours of the night. Things are no different here.
Had a blessed wakeup call at about 5:00 AM when Cyndi came in and said, “Sara let’s go”. Grabbed some scrubs, a headlamp, had a quick trip to the restroom, and we were on our way to Mercy.
At about 6:00 AM we delivered a healthy 5.8-pound baby girl. She is beautiful and looks at her new world with bright eyes! I love her!