Sunday, September 7, 2008

Welcome to Patience Samuel!

At about 5am on August 17th, my colleague Poni gave birth to her first child, named Patience Samuel. Isn't she cute??? I believe she was about a month premature, because she was very tiny (they did not weigh her at birth, but these pictures were taken when she was 14 days old so she couldn't have been more than 6lbs when she was born) and Poni was not that big when she delivered.

Both Poni and her baby are both health and happy, but unfortunately the delivery did not go entirely well.What Poni told me was that she went into labour at about 10pm on Saturday night, when she went to Juba Teaching Hospital accompanied by her sister. She was in a room in labour for about 7 hours, mostly unattended, when the hospital staff brought her into the delivery room. Then they told her it was her time, and they started the pushing process, and cut her vagina open to assist in the delivery. She had 6 stitches put in, one of which was still in when I went to visit her 2 weeks after the birth.

Now, I know next to nothing about pregnancy, childbirth, etc, but cutting someone open, when they are to deliver a tinier-than-average baby, after only 7 hours (isn't the average something like 8 hours?)? To begin with, I had never heard of women being cut open to begin with, but even so, that seems incredulous to me. Again, I wasn't there, but Poni said even the midwife who came to her house to look after her and take out her stiches said that they should not have cut her open like that.

What it looks like to me is that it was a Saturday night/Sunday morning, the hospital was not fully staffed, and the medical personnel just wanted to hurry things along instead of letting the birth happen naturally. Gotta love that Juba Teaching Hospital is the main referral hospital in the country and this is the kind of care that is rendered there.

Are there any reasons in the above scenario where cutting would have been justified? I know many of you readers have had children or are in the health care profession, so I would appreciate some feedback.


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