Given that we are all on lock-down, my daily routine lately is basically staying at home, reading, eating, walking around, watching TV and movies; my mornings have changed from the normal dashing out of the house to head to work to staying in my room and reading; this is my new normal. This Wednesday was no different; I got up at seven in the morning, prayed, did my bible study and then read a portion of SINGLE, DATING, ENGAGED, MARRIED by Ben Stuart. When I felt I was done with the reading I walked to the living room to catch up with TV and get a snack. The day was hot; at around 11am when I was trying to fix myself a snack, the sun was already bright and shining.
Around 11:40am, as I sat at the dining table flipping through the TV channels and eating my snack, I could vaguely see through the dining room window a young man who looked like one of our neighbors talking to my brother; un-bothered I continued with my channel flipping. My mom quickly walked into the house looking stressed-out, picked some things and walked out talking on her phone. Still un-bothered I went on with my TV business.
Not even 2 minutes had passed when my brother came to me with a toilet like bag filled with sewing thread (my mom tailors in her free time and she had sent my brother for this bag) and he says to me take this to mom quickly in the other house. I asked why. With a confused face then my brother replied, "the baby has come, go!", referring to the neighbor's baby. Completely baffled, I walked to the neighbor's house with quite a number of thoughts in mind. I knew the young woman in that house was pregnant but her stomach seemed too small to be ready for delivery? Is it a premature baby? Oh my God, what are we going to do?
Before my mind could wander any further, I was already in this single-roomed house that was fairly lit with a bright energy saver bulb, window closed and curtains drawn. One side of the room had a doubled sized bed and the other side of the room had this black and white carpet on which this young woman lay in a pool of blood seemingly half asleep. My mom was bent towards the young lady with one hand on the lady’s stomach and the other pulling a new-born baby; the young man who is also the father of the baby was holding the head of the baby as my mom tried to get the baby’s whole body out of the mother’s stomach. At that moment it hit me that this was real. I was assisting in the delivery of a baby at home during the COVID-19 pandemic in the middle of a lock-down. Without even looking, she (my mom) knew it was me. She instructed me to get a thread and make it thick, I didn’t really understand this instruction, at that moment I was confused and numb; my mom then looked at me and I think she realized I was confused; she then said, "give it to him (the father) and you hold the baby."
In the actual moment, I couldn’t feel or sense God, I was so confused by everything that was taking place that I was numb to God. However after the whole experience, a couple of bible scriptures popped up in my mind and they made me realise God was there all along. (Rom 8: 28, Ps 139:14 -16, John 14:16-17, James 2;14 -17 and Psalm 46).
I had to then squat and hold the baby whose lower body had now come out of the mother, it happened so fast,in a split second. I got to hold of the whole body of this little baby who looked so tiny, all red and covered in a whitish substance; for a moment she was quiet and then she burst out into a sharp cry. It kind of shocked me but it was a good sign, it showed she was normal. Still squatting, holding the baby, my mom asks for anything clean to wrap the baby in before she gets cold. The father of the baby gets a red sheet in which I wrap the baby and continue holding her. I had to stay squatting close to the mother because the baby’s umbilical cord was still attached to the mother. I was in this posture with the baby for some good minutes, because there was no solution to cutting the cord, until a new blaze appeared.Then my mom cut the cord and tied it with the thick thread the father of the baby had made. After this I carried the baby away to the bed and kept monitoring her if she was breathing and because we were not so sure if the thread had really tightened the cord we were monitoring to see if anything unusual was happening.
While all this was happening, the mother of the baby, lay on the floor completely spent still looking half a sleep. My mom turned to her (the mother) and asked her to push again for the sac to come out. My feelings were between a lot of pain for the mother and a lot of anger towards my mom; how could she ask the new mother to push in that state; like really!!?? Realising I didn’t know much about child birth, I didn’t comment; I chose to focus on my baby duties. The father of the baby was cleaning the floor. This whole cleaning took this young man the rest of the day, it was a lot!
My mom had called a nurse, who arrived just as my mom was pressing the mother’s stomach as she asked her to push the sac.
When the nurse entered, she was calm, put on her gloves, gave my mom a pair of gloves, then checked on the baby before she joined my mom to finish the whole delivery process. This was really traumatic for me to see; the mother was in pain but these two ladies kept pressing her stomach and asking her to push! The baby’s father was in disbelief as he continued to clean. This took 40 to 70 minutes before this was done. The mother, though still conscious, looked gone; she was so worn out.
Motherhood and mothers based on childbirth is now so humbling to me. I really have maximum respect for all mothers because from what I saw and experienced, I realized childbirth is more than just the baby coming out of a mother's body, it’s the mother literally sacrificing her whole being (life) to bring another life into the world. She endures the uncertainties of this life threatening experience, the pain of the experience, the different effects like tears, bleeding, trauma etc that come with the experience determined to go through it all just for a life to come into this world well and in perfect shape. Motherhood from the view of childbirth is laying down your life for another to live (for lack of better way to put it).
I was still watching the baby, making sure she was breathing and not cold, basically making sure she was okay. After my mom and the nurse were satisfied that the mother’s stomach was now free of all the "baby things", they started cleaning her up and the nurse prepared to stitch her, as she had gotten what the nurse called second degree tears.The nurse then told me to leave monitoring the baby and then go to my house to bring hot water; hot water was the only alternative for a disinfectant and a sterilizer for the stitching tools.
After the mother was stitched and cleaned up, my mom and the nurse made a pad from cotton and gauze to pad the mother and after they helped her up to the bed, to rest and then breastfeed. The new mother was given black tea at the nurse’s instruction. The nurse then put some eye cream on the baby’s eyes then gave the baby to the mother as she showed her how to hold the baby and breastfeed. That’s when I left the room to go make food for the new mother.
This was the very first time I witnessed, and participated in child birth. As human beings, we are always able to help whether we think we know what to do or not, skilled or not, there is something we are able to do to help someone during their point/time of need. Never be hesitant in helping or giving a hand, there is always something we can offer. A mother and child’s life can easily be saved or lost, if help is received in time or not received in time respectively. I think I learnt a couple of things about delivery what to do and what not to do, though I can’t really say this or that, I know if I ever find myself in the same situation I will be in a better position to help both the baby and the mother.
God knew this little one way before we even knew her, he ordained all the days of her life, when she will be born and how, who will be there and he made it happened. We were all home on a weekday, which never happens, but because of the lock down we were all home at this particular time of need. The Holy Spirit as our helper was there, to show us what to do even when we didn’t know anything but he was there with us and we did it right, praise God. As Christians we were given an opportunity to put our faith to work, not to just say we believe God and we have love like He has but to put what we say into action; to me all these affirm that God is real, He is sovereign, all-knowing and an ever present help in time of need for his people.
About the author
Grace Joyce Kemigisa is a Communications Officer working in Kampala, Uganda. She love people, loves life and most importantly is living to bring glory to God and positively impact lives. She enjoys reading, music and entertainment.