What I once thought would go on forever, ended almost as suddenly as this very second, or so it felt. Now: Each day gives reality the weight needed to sink deeper and deeper into my heart, and it manages to find places so dark I nearly lose myself in it many times. To sit down and think about one's life is a challenge, to think about the lives you have changed is greater yet, but to sit down and realize the lives that have changed yours, well that, for me, has been life changing.
Each day was so different, yet looking back they all blur themselves together, as if it were all just a dream. You wake up to find the people that were in the dream are nowhere around, and those who are now around you seem only to be happy that you are awake. But in those fine moments of awakening, you can't help but wonder, “Was I really dreaming? Or was my dreaming really real!?”
It was our last day in the hospital, and I was assigned to the admissions ward. Work was hit and miss with the admissions ward, some days you never sat down, other days it seemed sitting was all there was to be done, but this day was different, it was like one of those sweltering summer days that begs to differ the very existence of snow ever falling on the same land. The thought of having nothing to do on this day laid only in the minds of those who could not think.
Multiple women on beds, many on the floor, and more were coming in. The few doctors there looked like octopuses, in my mind, as they were moving so fast I could hardly count the amount of hands they actually had. Young student nurses ran around busy as ever but always seemed to have the “deer in the headlights” look about them as they had almost no supervision and nearly everything they were doing, they were doing for the first time. We stepped into the middle of it all. Those of us, who were not taking orders from the doctors, were giving orders to the student nurses.
With just a few moments to asset each situation I managed to work my way towards the examination room. I pulled the green stained curtains back just enough to get in and asset any situations inside. Two metals beds, one empty, the other with a mother lying alone. I first saw her eyes, they were dark and distant. She stared at the wall continuously as if I hadn't even entered. I followed her eyes down, her sari modestly covered her chest, but her legs were open and bare for the world to see. And there, just next to me, a site I had seen too many times before. A baby, a little girl, tiny, limp, macerated. Lying in her mother’s fluids, and alongside her a placenta as black as death itself.
I'm sure the mother was waiting for me to slap her around and sweep the baby away just to get her out of the room to make way for the multitude of women in waiting. But no, I ran to her side and grabbed up her hands in mine. We didn't share the same language, but I spoke anyways. I prayed. She had no idea what I was saying, no idea who I even was, we were strangers in every way, yet after just a few words, she clang to me. She gripped my hands tighter and tighter with every word, and then she cried. She didn't dare let me go, even as I checked her vitals. And I was with her as we watched a cleaning lady put on one glove, and toss the baby into a cardboard box as if it were meat to go out to the trash. I ran my fingers through her hair, gave her a kiss on the forehead and then with one last prayer I pried her fingers from me, and walked away. Back to my duties, for I had only been there twenty minutes….
To be continued.
Hi, I'm Kaitlin. I love traveling and working as a midwife. These are a few of my adventures and the lessons I've learned from them, as well as lessons I'm still learning.