Monday, December 26, 2016

and now I've seen ..EVERYTHING  
Remember that time when I was a burnt out social worker for the homeless and I decided to stay at home full time with my daughter, but then I learned how to teach fitness when she was five years old so that I could go back to work part-time. But remember how we were growing every less enchanted with the discrepency between rich and poor people in New York and we thought we should change our lives by moving to Italy where our daughter could receive a first rate education? But then remember how two years ago we started finding all of these desperate migrants at our doorstep, and we decided to take a group of them and try to help them to better their lives in Italy?
Well, cut to Christmas when we brought presents to as many of the 150 people living in the tents of the Red Cross as we possibly could and made Christmas happen for the people that we adopted over the past year. The group is supposed to be six people strong, but, of course, they have family members who are in need and who they sometimes shelter and care for, which means we help them, too. One of the first African immigrants I met was Tina, who this year became Stanley's wife. Stanley is the super annoying brother of Cool, who is in the group, and who is baby Wisdom's father. Tina is fully pregnant and had a due date of January first. On Christmas day we got the call that instead of going to the hospital immediately after her water broke like I had told her to, Tina went to church. I found out six hours later that she was still not at the hospital so I yelled at everyone until they got her an ambulance. I never had the chance to get her file opened at the best hospital, so there was some doubt they would receive her. Luckily, no good catholic is going to say no to a pregnant woman on Christmas day so they took her in anyway. The other two hospitals nearby are not as clean or professional looking. 
I spoke to Stanley on the phone. He insisted that she was not going to give birth until next month and that the hospital wanted to keep her anyway. I spoke to the nurse who said that Tina needed to get the baby out as soon as possible to not risk infection. I told Stanley this, but he insisted that he understood Italian and decided to go home and eat African food for dinner and have his bath. I yelled at him and Cool and Jennifer and Mamma Peace, the other Tina, and told them to talk some sense into him. Last night I did not sleep a wink. Today I woke up and called Tina herself. She told me that she was in tremendous pain. That is when I found out at that Stanley had not been with her for the last nine hours. I called Cool and told him that when I got to the hospital he better have Stanley stay clear of me because I was planning to beat his ass into pulp. 
While we were in the car, I came up with the plan to storm into the maternity ward, complaining about how Caritas had called me on my holiday, December 26th is the holiday of San Stefano in Italy, and forced me to come translate for a Nigerian woman. It worked! F could not believe. I marched around like I owned the place. I told him that had I been Trump, I could have grabbed every .. well, you get the idea.
I got to her room and got to work. I taught her how to get through her contractions through breathing and massage. She asked me to teach Stanley, too. It was then I realized that Stanley still believed they had a month before the baby would come out. I broke it down for him. He looked pretty shocked. She was two centimeters dialated. Her contractions on the pitocin they gave her were 90 seconds a part for the next two hours. I did not even get a sip of water or the chance to scratch my nose. Then we moved into the delivery room.
I bumped into some of the nurses I had given cookies to when baby Peace was born. We hugged briefly. I saw the M&M nurse (hard candy outside, soft inside) from last time inside the delivery room. She was in a pissy mood. She yelled at Stanley because he made her mess up the birth certificate form with his pretend Italian skills and his uncertainty about how to spell the baby's name in Nigerian. I mediated.
delivery room
The bad news was that Tina did not understand that she was going to have to work to push the baby out and she just lay their passively doing nothing. There were hardly any nurses or doctors on duty. Another woman started to scream in the room next door. The obstetrics nurse and janitor? lady took turns running back and forth between the rooms. The doctor never appeared. I explained the directions from Italian that the nurse was giving Tina. Her contractions had slowed down when they took out the pitocin patch and she only had three in the last half hour of the delivery. She wasted the first one, the other two times we coached the hell out of her. I asked Stanley, just for safety how he felt about blood. It turns out he is not a fan. And that is how I saw everything. And the baby was born. His name is FREEDOM. 
Freedom! (all other photos are too graphic)

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