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Thursday, 9 May 2013

Pitocin? Nah, just go belly jumping!

I lived way out in the middle of the jungle for three years.  It was awesome.  We lived with a very isolated group of folks who became like family to us.

Four days after we arrived I overheard some village gossip.  I could communicate in the trade language and eventually discovered that a lady named Melila had given birth the day before.  Loving all things birth related, I pressed for details. I discovered that:

-She had delivered alone in the garden with her husband and kids

-She had delivered a baby girl

-Her husband had pulled on the cord and broken it

-It had been 24 hours and the placenta was still inside

Hmmm...  not good from the sound of things.

Now, the closest medical station is a little shack that sometimes has a staff person in it, and sometimes it doesn't.  It is about a 6 hour walk over mountains on jungle trails.  It is located in a tribe that is at war with the one we lived with.  The community health worker from there just happened to be passing through.  We hiked with him an hour to see Melila.

She was laying in a dark thatched hut.  She was on top of rags with her 2 and 4 year olds snuggled up close.  She was scared.  I asked where the baby was.  A neighbor brought her over.  The baby's umbilical chord was still 8 inches long and attatched.  She was naked and cold.  I tried to encourage Melila to put the baby to her breast as that would cause the uterus to contract.  The health worker guy started her on antibiotics. 

The next day the baby died, and the ladies took Melila down to the river and jumped...yes jumped on her belly and they said the placenta came out.

Melila is still doing well, she grins her toothless grin and keeps an amazing sense of humor even though her life is incredibly hard.

Three out of ten of her babies are still alive.

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