June 26, 2018 at 6:00 AM
Luke Society interns from Northwestern College recently had the opportunity to help deliver this baby in the clinic in Kasei, Ghana. (Photo submitted)
(Editor's note: Three students from Northwestern College are spending the summer interning at the St. Luke Hospital in Kasei, Ghana, and blogging about their experience. The interns include: Kate Staab, a sophomore nursing major from Lincoln, NE; Maddie Godfredson, a junior nursing major, from Rock Valley, Iowa; and Rachel Mercer, a sophomore biology-health professions major, from Kingsley, Iowa.)
By Maddie Godfredson
(The following is a portion of Maddie Godfredson's blog. You can read the full entry on her site by clicking here.)
The last week at the clinic has been good. We have learned a lot and had some very exciting moments.
Tuesday, we waited for a few hours and ended up getting to see a delivery. Ahh, so exciting! It was very quick and a little hard to see since there was a handful of people helping deliver. It was a very different environment in the labor ward. Women lay completely nude, with no pain meds, waiting to give birth on a plastic sheet laid over an exam table.
Maddie and I spent the week in pediatrics. We spoke with the nurses, asking questions about diagnoses, what medications were being administered, symptoms and watching IVs be placed. We each got to administer IV meds and held and entertained a little girl there with malaria.
Rachel spent the week in the lab and they love her there. She looked at sickle cell disease and malaria parasites under microscopes. She drew blood samples and tested blood types. The blood grouping test was her favorite procedure in the lab. She also tested blood samples for Hepatitis B and C and pregnancy. She often went back in the afternoon while Maddie and I would rest or read.
Friday morning we checked in with the labor ward to find out a woman was in labor! A midwife came and grabbed us when it was time for her to deliver. “Who wants to catch the baby?” they asked. “I will!” volunteered Maddie. We spent some time waiting and periodically checking the mother’s dilation, gloved up and ready to go. Maddie was set to catch the baby with midwives supervising and offering guidance when needed). Rachel was positioned to take the baby, and I was the camera operator.
It was quite perfect, and also very different from home. The mother was never even asked if she would mind us watching, let alone delivering her child. We also were strongly encouraged to take pictures and videos all throughout which felt very odd. The mother was so sweet.
The Ghanaian word “kyem” pronounced “chim” means “push.” As the time neared, we shouted and encouraged the mom with all that she could understand being “push!” She laughed the first time as three obronis (white people) were delivering her baby. We are certain she will one day tell her child about who birthed him.
The delivery went smoothly and Maddie cut the cord and delivered the placenta while Rachel tended to the baby, checking his vitals. I was switching back and forth snapping pictures and trying to take in both processes. Sarah, one of the midwives, was so helpful and educational, explaining why we did certain steps and answering any questions. After everything was finished, we drifted back to our wards on cloud nine.
When we left the clinic for the day, we swung by to see mom telling her “your baby is beautiful;” “Good job;” and “Thank you so much,” with the short Twi phrases that we know. She smiled and thanked us What a wonderful lady. Also, she crushed that delivery.
We have three weeks left in the clinic, which is crazy! We are hopeful and optimistic to catch a few more births so we can each take a turn and deliver. This week, Rachel is heading to pharmacy, Maddie will likely head back to pediatrics, and I might try out the lab for a few days.
God is good all the time; all the time God is good. We have reflected multiple times together what a blessing it has been to serve together. Maddie stated that we have practically spent every waking and sleeping moment together — with the exception of showering and some time at the clinic — for the past 36 days. Wowza. Yet, through that time we have worked on learning about each other, discussed theological differences, vented, been silent and laughed. We respect that we operate differently and are finding time and space for those differences. What an immense blessing these two have been.
God has demonstrated himself in great and small ways: watching and helping with a delivery was a big one; the laughs of the nurses in pediatrics; being greeted after a run by the women sweeping outside; holding children of the midwives that live next door; and hugs from our host family (Dr. John, Momma Akos, Dinah and Pamela).
Our time left is beginning to feel so very short as Thursday will be less than 20 days remaining. Prayers for patience, persistence, and maximization of our time remaining rather than counting down would be oh so appreciated.
Thank you for the support we have received whether it be prayers, texts or reading our blog.