2:30 am Surprise

My youngest daughter who is a medical doctor is presently serving in the remote Karanda hospital in Zimbabwe. I lifted the following story from her blog. She says that the only course for which she ever got a B was in writing but I find this true story touching and so I thought that I’d share it. If you are interested you can access Anne’s blog through the following link:  http://hotzesbeyondtheborder.blogspot.com/

Two nights ago when I was on call at the hospital, I received a phone call at 230am from the maternity ward requesting for me to come do a C section.  I asked why the patient needed a C section.  I was told on the phone it was her fourth C section, or at least that’s what I thought the nurse said.  I clarified, “it is her fourth C section?”  The nurse said, “yes”.  I asked, “is she in labor?”  Again, “yes”.   So I said I would be right in.

Upon arrival to the operating room where anesthesia was already putting in a spinal, I noticed that her abdomen did not have an apparent scar on it. I asked, “I do not see a scar, why are we doing a C section?” The anesthetist said, “for tubal.” At least that’s what I thought he said. I thought this was a somewhat odd indication for a C section, although it would not be the first time I had seen it done (even in the United States). But I clarified again, because when he said “tubal” it did not sound crisp and clear. He said, “tubal” again. And then I repeated it, to which he replied “yes”.

So we started a C section without any problems. The time came when I entered the uterus and pulled out the infant. It was smaller than I had anticipated, and I thought it must be growth restricted. I next pulled the placenta out, but noted that the uterus was still quite large. So I reached in while thinking, I wonder if there is a twin that nobody knew about? Sure enough, I could feel another infant! So I broke its amniotic sac and pulled it out, followed by the placenta. At that moment, I thought, “oh they must have been saying twins when I thought they said tubal,” as nobody else but me seemed surprised in the room. But given that I had been surprised by one extra infant inside the uterus, I thought I should be sure and thoroughly explore the uterus to make sure there were no more surprises. Sure enough, a third infant was inside, also with its own amniotic sac and placenta. Triplets.

All the babies and mother did fine. 1.4, 1.5 and 1.7 kilograms. 2 boys, 1 girl.

Only in Africa.


© April 2014, Anne Hofer