Labor and delivery trauma

I have been traumatized by the state of our hospital here and have decided to NEVER take any member of my family there. . .  I won’t bore you with the list of things you have to bring for your hospital stay.  Basically, just pack everything.  All they provide is a bed.  Period.  

These words stuck in my mind this week as I visited my very nice hospital, interacted with very professional, competent staff and, with every random contraction, eagerly anticipated my final visit to the hospital to deliver our baby.  Yes, I’m grateful I don’t have to deliver in the conditions Bethany Fader describes in her blog from South Sudan this week.  She went to the hospital to care for and feed a friend who had a very scary, difficult delivery.   Praise God the mother and child survived.  You can read about the entire ordeal on her blog, The Fader Five.  I am grateful God placed Bethany and her family in South Sudan and has equipped her to be an encouraging presence in those situations.  We aren’t all going to be put in those situations.

But her post also makes me think of other mothers’ birth stories, including my own.  Whether you give birth in South Sudan or New York City, that experience is unique and special.  It’s distinctly womanly.  It’s also distinctly painful, bloody, messy and exhausting.  It’s miraculous.  Your body is ravaged.  You may end up with stitches.  How do we even survive such a thing? Let me state, again, that it’s miraculous.  That’s why I marvel at birth stories.  How long was the labor?  How long did you push?  What was unexpected?  You can have 17 children and no delivery is exactly alike.  Most women, after participating in such a miraculous ordeal, want to share their story.  It’s a defining moment for them.  For many, they are fortunate to have survived.

A mother and two-week-old at the hospital in Melut, South Sudan.  Photo courtesy of Bethany Fader.
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In January I interviewed the Faders for a series on Americans raising their families overseas.  You can read the interview here.

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