Again, sorry it’s been so long since I updated. At some point life here just starts to feel like normal life and it’s harder to know what to write home about! Convention week has come and go.
Convention is a gathering of CGM (Church of God Ministries) leaders and members. Mama Margaret Idahosa (Feb’s mother) is the head of the ministry so convention is here in Benin City and she hosts a lot of people on the compound. So there were a ton of visitors here and every day was extremely long. I had work in the mornings and then convention in the evenings. I figured I was in church for about 15 hours over 5 days which I think is a new record for me!
Mama Idahosa was consecrated as an archbishop and Feb was consecrated as a bishop. ALL of the pastors, deacons, and deaconesses were anointed and prayed for – and there were A LOT of them! In some ways it was interesting to see history take place for CGM as Mama and Feb were consecrated. In other ways, the convention was exhausting; there was an overwhelming amount of protocol and ceremony. And then back at the compound there were bishops everywhere! So the protocol continued at home.
I am enjoying feeling more proficient at the hospital and able to actually help with practical tasks. Last week at Antenatal Clinic I was able to be the third nurse to see patients. We were done earlier than we usually are and I had to ask the nurses only a few questions. It feels good to start to get the hang of things and to care for patients on my own terms!
Friday last week was crazy busy on the labor ward. We were full already and women were walking in left and right saying they thought they were in labor. I really enjoy being busy, though! Because it means I get to do more and see more.
I helped catch my fifth baby today. It was frustrating, though, because I still would have done things differently if I was on my own. The woman wasn’t allowed to stand at the end of her labor even though she kept asking. She was given an episiotomy automatically (since it was her first baby) before she had even pushed twice. Here they don’t like for the women to push for very long. Most of the women, with encouragement, are able to push out their baby in 5 minutes or less after starting to push. So, it can be really stressful because the women are pressured into pushing as hard as they can and are scolded if they don’t push well.
I feel like I have small victories on the labor ward that are quickly followed by feelings of defeat. Last week I encouraged a woman to keep pushing after staff had given up hope and were planning for a c-section delivery. Half and hour later when she delivered on the labor ward, I was so relieved and grateful. YES! This is what midwifery is about! Then five minutes later I watched her being yelled at by the midwife (for a totally inappropriate reason). And my heart just sunk. Some days I don’t have a problem accepting the reality of what happens at the hospital. Other days it just breaks my heart all over again.
I talked with the Medical Director at the hospital on Monday and he was completely supportive of all of my ideas for change. He gave me the thumbs up for doing patient satisfaction surveys in the Newborn/Immunization Clinics for mothers who have been through Antenatal Clinic and the labor ward. I started today and got somewhat confusing results. I don’t know if the women are afraid to be honest with me, don’t understand my survey, or really do feel satisfied with the care they receive and wouldn’t change anything. I hope to do two more days of surveys so we’ll see how the final results turn out. I also got the green light from the Director to bring up some suggestions I have for change. I’ve picked three specific practices on the labor ward and found research to support a change for each of them. The Chief Matron (head nurse) and I plan to meet later this week with the labor ward Matron to talk about them. Then, the Director asked me to bring them up in a meeting with all the staff nurses at the end of this month. I was REALLY encouraged to have his support so now I just have to DO what I’ve planned! Please pray for the staff at the hospital and for me to communicate well.
I have about 3 weeks left here. Some days I can’t wait to go back to DC and other days I can’t imagine leaving here. I know I will really miss everyone. I’m trying not to get anxious about leaving but just enjoy each day and the experiences that come with it.