The week before I left for our medical evacuation, four babies were born. Our village is about 300 people, so four babies in one week is pretty special.
These women gave birth IN A HUT. That means that they put some cloths down and had the baby on a bamboo floor. Their husband, or mom, or mother-in-law cut the cord with a shaving razor from town and tied it off with a small piece of cloth or string.
After that, someone boiled water to make a warm bath and they rinsed the baby off. Done.
The woman does less work for a week or two to recover and the baby spends most of its first days in a new string bag hung from a post or from their mama’s head. Most babies are given names within their first month of life.
I love natural childbirth and I love getting to see how strong these women are to give birth here in the village. At the same time, because of their distance from medical care, not all stories end well. In our 16 months here so far there has been one woman who was carried to the aid post at the beach with preeclampsia, one whose baby was breach and didn’t make it, and one who gave birth after just six months of pregnancy and now cares for an infant who is completely mentally handicapped.
I don’t know how many of these situations would have been different had the women been near a doctor, but it does remind me to be thankful for the access to healthcare that I had when delivering our two boys.
That said, most babies here are born with no complications – including all four of these sweet babies. They were born healthy and happy – and all four mamas are totally recovered and doing well! Here are pictures of two of the women:
Here is Mapian:This baby was her 6th child. She said that she started feeling labor pains as her husband left to get work done on a new house. So she knew not to leave for her garden, had the baby, and sent another child to tell the father. That was it. By herself.
How neat it is to live here in this village and get a peek into these women’s lives.