This morning, we walked into the clinic and there were 5 mothers “on deck”, waiting in chairs until their contractions. After a slow hour, two mothers went into labor at once. However, both of them had very long labors. After a few series of pushes, one was transferred to the Khayelitsha hospital because of her “high-risk labor”. While the clinic offers many services, unfortunately it doesn’t have unlimited resources and must transfer many patients to the nearby hospital. While it is only a ten minute drive away, sometimes EMTs can take up to six hours to arrive due to high demand. Thankfully, in this case, they arrived after only twenty minutes. However, when I was working in the emergency unit, patients were waiting for at least two hours before being picked up. This follows a trend of townships being offered too few resources for the demand and population it’s catering to.
After the first mother was transferred, the second mother neared birth. The sister taking care of her gave her a hard time mid-labor because she wasn’t pushing hard enough and the baby was “getting tired”. For the first time, I thought I may see a stillborn baby. I was put into action as the “pusher”, using all of my weight to push down on the abdomen to force the baby down. I swear I thought I was about to crack a rib. About five minutes later, the baby was born but seemed to be stillborn with blue extremities. After about thirty seconds, though, this child came to life, absolutely wailing and thrashing around. Watching this little alien-baby-thing enter the world was still as amazing as watching it the first time. I don’t know if I could ever get tired of that. We were tasked with measuring the baby again and I got to put on the baby’s first “nappy”!
All other interns only work Monday-Thursday so we took a half-day and arrived home around 1 (instead of 4). Due to the early mornings, I took a nap that lasted 4 hours and may be the best decision I’ve made since I arrived in Cape Town. For dinner, I headed down to Camps Bay with some Connect friends and ate at a restaurant called 41. It was here I adventured out enough to try ostrich and it was INCREDIBLE! Definitely would recommend to anybody who has the chance to order it. After stopping by Café Caprice, we headed back to Bree St. to check out the nightlife scene (surprisingly dead for a Friday night) before returning home. That’s a wrap on the first week of work! Very excited for a fun weekend of exploration! Xhosa word of the day is “push”: dudula. Heard this one and an English version (“poosha”) a lot today.