Most people who know about the YWAM Medical Ship are well aware that one of our main aims is to help address the Millennium Development Goals to reduce infant and maternal mortality. With up to 1 in 7 women in parts of rural Papua New Guinea dying during childbirth, even one life saved can make a huge difference.
That’s exactly what happened last week on the YWAM Medical Ship. Join with us as volunteer RN/Midwife, Jenny Sutherland recounts the story:
Yesterday we were halfway through our morning clinic when word came that a woman in a neighbouring village had given birth to one twin, but the second was not coming. A small team of us arrived there with some difficulty, as we climbed up slippery logs and made our way into an incredibly poverty-stricken shack, where this labouring woman was on a bamboo floor, upon which we had to choose our steps wisely or fall through.
She had not a thing under her and her newborn baby girl was semi-wrapped in a dirty looking cloth nappy. The umbilical cord tied was tied with bamboo, but the baby was looking well. The woman had been pushing since the morning before, with Twin 1 born at 1am. When we arrived the unclamped cord was hanging out. Due to finding it difficult to find a fetal heartbeat on the unborn twin and given the mother’s deteriorated condition, we decided to transport her to a local clinic, not certain whether either of them would live through this.
We carried the woman on a stretcher through calf-deep mud and onto the Zodiac (which is used to carry patients to and from the YWAM Medical Ship). The voyage took 4 hours and despite the difficulties, this woman never whimpered once. Frightened and exhausted, she had seemingly no interest in the baby she had birthed and had not fed her yet. We encouraged her to feed the baby girl on the journey though, and to our delight she had a great feed and slept the rest of the trip, sheltered by some donated birthing kit bunny rugs, a cloth nappy and the strong arms of one of our manly engineers whose heart was taken for this baby girl!
We arrived at the clinic and were amazed to hear the healthy heart beat of the unborn baby. After bringing on labour again, with one push, out came a healthy baby girl! The labouring mum finally smiled – her life saved and two sweet baby girls safe in her arms.
Thank you so much to the many people who have helped to make this a reality – and especially you, our incredible support team! We couldn’t do this without you!