Last night was Hosanna’s first time to come with me on a birth room shift. Her first shift was a busy one! I’ve chosen to take the girls at night for their first shift for two reasons. First, eight hours is a long time for a little person and at night they’ll sleep for part of the time. Second, apart from births there is a lot less going on during night shift — no prenatals, no baby checks, no extra clinic staff. In the morning the birth center can be extremely busy even if there is no one in labor!
Hosanna was very excited about her first shift, the more so because the scrubs we had made for the girls were finished the week before. Night shift starts at 10 pm. Hosanna took a nap at 5:00 pm and at 7:30 was up and asking me, “Can we go now?”
When we arrived at the birth center at 9:45, we found that swing shift (2:00 pm to 10 pm) had been quite busy: three births — one baby born in a taxi just before pulling up outside the clinic at 9:30 pm — and one patient still in labor. The first thing we saw when we walked in was a newborn wrapped up in a blanket lying by himself on a couch. His mother had been transported to the hospital because of a complication and the midwives on shift were all busy with the taxi birth that had just taken place. Hosanna made sure little “Superman” didn’t get lonely waiting for his daddy and lola (grandmother) to come and pick him up.
After endorsements (when the outgoing shift gives report to the incoming midwives) Hosanna and I were assigned to take care of the “taxi baby.” We monitored the mother and baby, did a newborn exam, gave injections, filled out lots of paperwork (okay I did that part without much help from Hosanna) and then Hosanna got to snuggle her second baby of the night while his mother went to the CR (the euphemistically named “Comfort room”.)
During this time Hosanna went back and forth between the birthroom and the “midwives station.” She played Minecraft on my laptop while I did the boring parts — she was happy not to have to compete with her siblings for a turn at the computer. But she was also very willing to help out whenever there was a job she could do.
By the time we had this mother and baby settled into the postpartum room it was well after midnight, and I suggested Hosanna try to sleep a bit. But she was wide awake and perky. Good thing, too, because less than an hour later the patient in labor was ready to push. One of the younger Filipina midwives was delivering the baby, and Hosanna got a front row seat for her first birth. “Another baby boy — it’s all boys tonight!!” I wasn’t needed for anything else so I could sit with Hosanna and answer all her questions (and she did have lots of questions and comments!)
Finally, after 3:00 am, she fell asleep. She had asked me to wake her up when it was time to give the taxi baby his bath but when the time came there was no waking her.