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.