Let There Be Life

Sometimes you get to be a part of something that brings pure joy. Those are the moments we all seek – that we hope will find us. Yesterday we had that moment as Nancy and Eileen from Team IWA assisted in an emergency C-section for twins. I caught up with Nancy today to get the full story.

She said it all started when a 27 year old pregnant woman made her way to the clinic with headaches and edema (severe swelling) in her hands, face, and ankles. She was with twins but only 36 weeks out of a 40 week pregnancy and it quickly became clear that she had preeclampsia. They had to get the babies out asap.

I asked her why it was so high risk, and she explained to me that preeclampsia can ultimately lead to convulsions which means risk of brain damage for the mother and babies. It was going to be tricky because they weren’t set up to do a C-section for premature babies with a sick mother.

“What did you do to overcome it?” I asked.

“Well, we had to rig an anaesthesia machine in case we had to give the babies oxygen. Since we had no fetal monitor, we only knew the babies were ok by feeling for movement in the mother’s stomach,” Nancy said. She was able to find one dose of magnesium that she gave the mother before the operation to reduce the risk of seizure. They had to do anything they could to keep the woman from seizing.

Finally it was time for the operation to start. The team consisted of David – an Ob/Gyn who did the surgery, Nancy – who was assistant surgeon, Eileen – who is a perinatal nurse, 2 pediatricians, and two more nurses to take care of the babies. The boy came out first. He weighed 4.5 and looked good and vigorous. The little girl came out second, weighing only 2.7 and they were worried because she was more blue. They quickly rushed her to the team of nurses and doctors and she eventually came around.

The mother did very well through the surgery and right afterwards. After the babies were tended to in another area, Nancy and the team went to deliver the babies to their mother. I had happened to be nearby and got to go with them.

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“She was so happy,” Nancy said. “She was so grateful and her family said how scared they had been and how scared she was. They were glad we got the babies out safely.” She paused. “The family asked me if I would name the babies as they see it as a blessing. So I said ‘Sure, I’ll name them!'” So now there is a new baby David and baby Nancy in Cambodia. Nancy looked at me as a smile spread over her face like morning light. “The family is so happy that we saved their lives.”

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