Monday, 16 February 2015

Martha's Baby

I recently posted about Matthew a little boy who died in my compound. Unfortunately that wasn't the end of the heartbreak for his Mum, Martha.
 
Matthew was the third child that Martha had lost.
 
When Matthew died Martha came to live in my compound and kind of became the caretaker for the compound. A few months after Matthew died I was working late one night catching up on some work on the PC. Around midnight one of the other security guards came knocking on my door and told me that Martha had 'fallen down', I took this to mean she had passed out.
 
I quickly got dressed and followed the security to a nearby pan house (a house made from corrugated metal panels). I went inside and found Martha and an older lady. The only light in the room was from an oil lantern so it took my eyes a while to adjust and take in what I was seeing. Martha was laying on the floor naked, she had had a stillbirth and the baby was still attached - I hadn't known that Martha was pregnant so this was a huge shock to me.
 
I needed to get Martha to hospital, but I'd let Sullay the driver go home for the night - I don't usually drive in Sierra Leone, but I didn't have much option. So we ran home to get the vehicle then drove back around and picked Martha up. Luckily the maternity hospital was not far from home.
 
We got Martha to the hospital but before she was given a bed I had to pay for plastic sheeting, Dettol, soap and pads. Once Martha had been admitted the long wait began. We were told the afterbirth was still inside her and we had to wait for a doctor.
 
Although the nursing staff were reluctant I was allowed to go to see Martha in the ward. All of the ladies in labour (around 6 of them if my memory serves me) were naked and lying on plastic sheeting on trolleys.
Martha didn't want to stay in the hospital as she said that the nurses were unkind - I pleaded with her to stay and in the end she agreed.
 
We waiting hours until eventually we were told that she would have a procedure in the morning to have the afterbirth removed - so around 5am we went home with the plan to return to see Martha in the morning.
 
Martha had the procedure the next day and after 2 days she was back home again, having lost yet another child.
 
I didn't find out what happened to the baby - I was scared to asked to be honest....the baby didn't come to the hospital with us, so I can only presume that the lady who was helping Martha removed the baby while I went to get the car.
 

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