Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Memorable 31st Birthday

After being on-call the night before I woke-up to a page. Malin got-up as well and said, "Happy Birthday" and gave me a stone he purchased in Tanzania (any guesses as to the type?). After receiving cards from the girls, I round and then work on knot typing with the new interns. That brought me to lunch. We're sitting down as a family to eat tacos, one of my favorite things Janet makes, I get a phone call,"Daktari there are two emergencies; come to casualty."

Running up the hill again. There in casualty is a 20 year-old pregnant woman brought in for eclampsia coding. I ask how long she's been down, no one knows but they think around 5-10 minutes. Asking for a scalpel and gloves I perform what I hope is a peri-mortem C/S. We stop resuscitating her and begin working on the baby boy. I wish I could say we were successful....I believe the mother actually died prior to beginning our resuscitation efforts as did the baby. We found the family and talked to the husband and brother. The brother says this is the husband's 2nd wife and child to die from eclampsia. After praying we take him to see his wife and son. There are no words to explain the grief.

Remembering there was a second emergency I go to the OR. Dr Hage, a visiting MFM, explains that this woman also coded, but was resuscitated and they have nearly completed the surgery for the ruptured ectopic pregnancy. I ask if there is anything I could do, "She needs blood," replies the anesthetist. She's O-positive and I head to blood bank to see how much they have. Only one unit left, she needs more than that, so I give a unit of my O-positive blood. It's now 4pm, Malin walks me home.

After some chai, I'm feeling well, and prepare for my "surprise party." At least Malin made a tremendous effort to surprise me, but accidentally sent me the e-mail describing the surprise party. We head to the kipiganga for cakes, pies, fellowship and a singing program put on by the girl missionary kids. Amelia sang her heart out to "Doe, a deer..." from the Sound of Music and then led us all in Hookie-Pookie with her friends, Emma, Claire, Elizabeth and Bella. It was a delight.

So, what is most memorable about this birthday? The tragedy of this woman and baby's death and learning this am that the woman who received my blood also died are inescapable, but in the end God has provided Malin, Amelia, Meredith and friends at Tenwek to encourage and support me. Furthermore we have family and friends back home also praying, sending packages and letters to encourage us. So, what stands-out most to me about this birthday is God's love. God's love for me, for our family, for the patients and their families, and my prayer is that you would also know how deeply God loves you.

8 comments:

Emily said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SARA!!! Sorry for the loses of that day. But you've got a great perspective on life and that will carry you during the hard times. It sounds like you had several things to smile about as well. We'll keep you and your family in our prayers. God Bless.

amy said...

wow -- what a day you had. and what a blessing you are to the people there, and also to everyone back home who gets to learn and reflect along with you. Derek said he is using your story in his sermon this weekend. Maybe I will too! :)

Lots of love to you all,
Amy

laffing dawg said...

Oh, Sara, a memorable birthday in so many ways. Go gracefully into your new year. We are all so thankful for you.

Love and best wishes (and prayers too),
Kathy
Bend, OR

Jennifer said...

Sara,
Once again your stories brought tears to my eyes. What a blessing you are to your patients. Happy Birthday.
Jennifer

The Brown Family said...

Hi Sara and all -
Happy Birthday to you! What amazing work you are doing there! We think of you often! Your blog is visited by us almost weekly. We love reading about your life there : the good and the hard. Know that you are in our prayers! Today I leave you with words from today's sermon at church: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own insight; in all your ways acknowledge HIM and he will make your paths straight!" Be encouraged and confident in the calling God has placed on your family! You inspire me all the time!
Love,
Kristyn Brown

Grammie said...

What a memorable birthday you had Sara. Even when things don't go as you would choose, we are so glad that you can still see God's love and care for all of you. It is easy to get bogged down in the dailies and even discouraged, but we are so thankful for the encouragement that God has provided through the other families at Tenwek. As Grampie Friess would say, "Keep marching."

Dad said...

thank you Sara and Malin for sharing yourselves with the disadvantaged of our world community. Dad [Chris]

Genet said...

Oh I love you, Sara! You are a blessing to so many, including me. Happy birthday!