Sophie’s Diary – December 17, 2017,
I have had the great pleasure of shadowing midwives at Skaraborgs Sjukhus in Skövde over the past few weeks to gain knowledge for the Maternity & Health clinic in Kenya. This weekend I shadowed for two nights and have learnt a lot about giving birth, monitoring babies and mothers post birth. I got the opportunity to shadow a fantastic woman, Ingrid in the post-natal department ward. She had so much knowledge to teach me about breastfeeding and monitoring the baby’s after birth.
During this week, quite a few C-sections took place and I got to learn a lot on how to care for the mothers antenatal (post birth). There are three types of C-sections, planned C-section, unplanned C-section and an emergency C-section. With a planned C-section, the woman has a scheduled date and time that the caesarian will take place. During an unplanned C-section is when there has been a complication during labor then the doctor has 20 minutes to get the baby out. An emergency C-section occurs when there are serious complications and the doctor only has 10 minutes to get the baby out.
A C-section is performed in an OR (operating room), which I got to have a study tour of by a midwife during one of my night shifts and I also had the opportunity to talk to a doctor. She informed me that the basic items needed to perform a C-section are a head lamp, clamps, scalpel and sutures to name a few. After speaking with her I realized that the Maternity & Health clinic should have an OR for C-sections, because it could save the lives of mothers and their babies, and that is the whole reason behind the Maternity & Health clinic. I learned that in Mozambique, the midwives are taught how to perform C-sections. I hope that our Kenyan staff at the Maternity & Health clinic can also be taught how to perform C-sections, so that they can have the skills and knowledge to help mothers and their babies as best as possible. The OR at the Maternity & Health clinic would be half of the size of a Swedish OR. It seems as if the most important items used to save lives during labor are blood stopping medicine and good hygienic routines.
By interacting with mothers and shadowing the staff, I have learnt so much about breastfeeding. The staff taught me that some mothers need nipple shields to help them be able to start breastfeeding if the baby cannot latch properly. The staff also provided telephone support on breast feeding for mothers in their homes, that experienced lactation problems where they have engorgement of the breasts. This is often due to changes in temperature, such as a draft from the outdoors, freezer, etc.
Neonatal ward (premature baby ward)
During one of my night shifts this weekend I got to follow one of the staff members in the neonatal ward. She showed me around and taught me a lot about the care of premature babies. I learnt that premature babies (and other babies too) can get jaundice and the treatment is a sun-bed. I also got to learn about tube feeding premature babies.
Later, during the night I had the wonderful opportunity to hold a baby in order for the mother to get some rest. It was the best moment this weekend!!! He slept so peacefully in my arms. Some mothers can experience pain from breastfeeding. That can be due to the uterus contracting and can stay for up to four days post birth. The staff gives mothers magic bags heated in the microwave to help with the pain. It seemed as if some mothers can experience swelling after birth in their legs and feet due to the different hormones in their bodies. However, it is important that the swelling is equal in both legs, because if it is only present in one leg, this could mean there is a blood clot somewhere which is not good. They advise those mothers to put their feet up!
I feel so happy, grateful and inspired after these night shifts this weekend, I’ve learnt so much. All staff at Skaraborgs Sjukhus in Skövde have been so welcoming and happy to teach me! They are so knowledgeable, and I feel so impressed and inspired by their work!
A big thank you to all the staff who I have learnt so much from! I hope that with all the new-found knowledge I have learned, I will be able to pass it along to be able to help as many women, babies and families as possible! My education at the hospital continues after the new year. I must learn a lot about the preventative work, also the follow up on the babies when they grow up, as for example vaccination that is extremely important to save children’s lives.
Founder and Chairman of Lööf Foundation