Heartbeats

Shakhi Begum - Senegal


November 20, 2013

The concept of having my own children ever since I started understanding life terrified me immensely. This is why I decided to adopt kids when I would settle down in life with everything. It’s a really weird coincidence that my apprenticeship is placed in Maternite Centre de Soins, a maternity health post here in Ndianda.

On October 10th, it was the first time I witnessed childbirth.There were two births that day in the health post; first was a girl and the second was a boy. Around 9:20, my supervisor asked me to go inside one of the compartments of the health post. As soon as I walked in, I saw a pregnant woman laying on one of the beds in extreme pain. The temperature started to rise as I walked further down to the next room where another woman was in labor. She came to the post first so we had to take care of her. She was in the care unit while the other woman was in the waiting room.

Suddenly we heard a scream from the woman in the waiting room. My supervisor gathered all the utensils for this delicate job and hurried there. I went along with her. We were preparing the woman to give birth in the waiting room! The beat of my heart was getting louder with every inch I was getting close to the woman. I held her hands and squeezed them tight as my supervisor instructed me in Wolof as well as hand signals (obviously). She looked super weak and thin to be pregnant and give birth. With all her strength, she gave birth to a baby girl. It was at 9:48. The baby weighed 3kg 200g and her height was 48 cm.

Babies are supposed to cry right after birth; it’s a sign that they are breathing. She didn’t! My supervisor grabbed her to the care unit and laid her on a bed that was for newborns. I helped her with a thin pipe which she put in through the holes of the baby’s nose and her mouth. Several tries after, the baby finally started crying. I was so relieved! I didn’t realize how nervous I was until my supervisor patted my back and her hand was dripping wet with my sweat. I never thought that I would go through such an experience in life. After awhile, I carried the baby girl for a few minutes and then gave her to her mother. Later I went in to help my supervisor with the second birth. It was at 10:17 when the other woman gave birth to a boy. He weight 3kg 550g and he was 3 cm taller than the baby girl. There were no complications with this birth fortunately!

This was probably one of my most nerve wracking as well as exciting experiences I had throughout my entire life; one that I will never forget! Seeing how happy the mothers were with their newborns even after going through so much pain, it made me realize that I have nothing to be afraid of. These women were weak but they still were able to bring new lives into this world. My fear of having my own kids is no longer a fear, it’s something that would make me taste life to its fullest.

Shakhi Begum