By Lena Allen
Director, Kunai Health Centre
How we thank the Lord for sending rain! It had been weeks and weeks of little or no rain, sometimes washing in the waterfall and re-using laundry water. Little did I realize that my first baby delivery would be in the rain!
Often we get requests for transport to the “hospital” over the mountain from us because no one wants to hike two more hours when they are sick. Simon came on Friday afternoon asking for transport because his wife was having a “stomach ache.” I was so thankful that Margaret and Bonita were still here and able to translate for us. Pregnancy and all that is related to it are taboo for discussion openly. Margaret asked the sensitive questions because she knew Simon’s wife Nelisa was pregnant. Oh yes, he said, she is having the same pain as when she delivered her other two children.
Because Simon had been in the market a couple hours ago, and did not seem to be in a hurry now, Rachel and I chose to go slowly. Okay, really, it was me that decided to go slowly. Often by the time I get there, the babies are already born and I was hoping this would be the case. However, the Lord had something else totally unexpected waiting for us!
The “puppy truck” (our tiny Daihatsu ambulance/pickup) had a tire going flat, so we decided to walk; after all, ladies here have babies all the time. The Kawasaki Mule was over the mountain at the airstrip already waiting on Matt to return on an incoming flight. When Rachel and I arrived at Simon’s hut, Nelisa was on her hands and knees outside in extreme pain. Simon was by her side, as was her mother, both looking to us expectantly. After three contractions only 20 seconds apart, I told Rachel that something is very wrong. I asked her to go back and have John bring the truck anyway. I was sending desperate prayers up to the Lord already.
Rachel and John came despite the fact the tire could deflate at any moment. But first… they had to rebuild a bridge! Yes, some of the boards had broken off and needed to be replaced before they could drive over it. Later, we all laughed about the “ambulance” coming—but only after the “crew” rebuilt the bridge.
While Rachel was gone, I decided I really needed to do an exam. I asked to move Nelisa into the bush hut, since she was outside in the grass and it was raining lightly. They agreed, but we could not move her. The contractions were too intense and too close together. So I checked right there in her yard, in the mud, and in the drizzling rain. Sure enough, two little feet were making an entrance! More desperate prayers! That was when Simon, the father, decided to tell me that both of Nelisa’s previous babies had died, one before birth and one during birth. Even more desperate prayers!
Finally the umbilicus was visible; then I noticed the cord wrapped around the arm, over the shoulder and around the neck. I tried to unwrap it all, knowing precious time was ticking away, and while holding his hips I turned him like the books say to do. It was so tricky since everything was upside down. Mom was on her hands and knees with her belly facing downward; the baby was feet first and his face was downward too. For the medical people, that is a footling breech, sunny-side up… man, what a mess. I even had to do a finger sweep to get one arm down too. More desperate prayers… and he was born! He was born in the mud, rain and in the yard! Unfortunately, he was not breathing!
I grabbed the suction and worked it and worked it. I turned his wet and muddy little body over with his head down and rubbed his back and then his chest, roughing him up and still desperately praying. Oh—a little peep!!!! That was the happiest moment! He was alive! After more work, he finally cried and I passed him off to the grandmother. Now, it was Nelisa’s turn for treatment.
She was doing well, considering what she had just been through. I imagine she was just so thankful to have this ordeal close to done with, and had a son to boot! I heard the Kawasaki Mule coming down the mountain, so I went up the hill from her house to flag down Andrew, our missionary intern from GoForth Baptist Missions. At the same time, the truck arrived from the opposite direction. Help had finally arrived, and plenty of it. We carried Nelisa up the hill on a plastic tarp, and grandma carried the baby. Rachel and I finished the afternoon by taking her to the hospital for a few nights so they could observe mother and baby.
Much, much praise to the Father of Life, Who showed Himself mighty today! Not only did He orchestrate this first delivery of mine, but spared two lives. Praise to Him, He gets all the glory!
Now, please pray for Simon, Nelisa, the baby boy, and the grandma, Kasiapia. Pray that the Lord will orchestrate their spiritual births. Pray that this little man will grown up in a Christian home with parents that love the Lord, knowing how He spared their son, but not His own. May God call this little man (who was born feet-first) to preach, that he could be proof for the verse, “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel.”