I received a call from Mercyline, one of the clinical officers, this morning while I was still at home.
- “Are you coming to the hospital this morning? We have a woman in labor and we need your help with the ultrasound to tell the fetal lie”.
|The delivery room|
|Our portable US machine|
I took over with the ultrasound to get a quick lay of the land. Not much fluid left in the uterus, consistent with mom’s story of a broken bag of water. A good, strong fetal heart beat at 140 beats per minute. But yet something wasn’t right. As I followed the head down, instead of seeing the chest and heart, I kept seeing an abdomen first, then the chest. Now, I might not have aced anatomy lab in med school, but I’m pretty sure the chest should come south of the head and north of the belly. Sure enough, following the line of the baby’s body further down, we came upon a bright white ring, low in mom’s abdomen and pelvis. Another bright white ring.
Mom was having twins.
And she didn’t have much time to digest this bit of news. The nurse checked her cervix, and it was now fully dilated. Bingo. Time to have a baby. But at this tiny hospital, they don’t deliver twins. They’re not set up to do cesarean sections, they don’t have any consistent fetal monitoring (the baby’s heart rate was last checked 11 hours before I arrived), there is no oxygen in the delivery room, etc. The first twin was head down, or vertex, so should be able to be delivered easily. But the second twin was lying 90 degrees the wrong way, with the head towards mom’s left side and the feet toward mom’s right side. She needed to be delivered in an operating room, so that in case of any complication, she could have an emergency c-section.
|The postpartum ward|
|Two boys in a tree|
It hadn't hit me that it was 9/11 until late today. On the day that so many Americans were affected when the Twin Towers were attacked, it's a small but moving coincidence to have been involved in this uplifting twin delivery. On the way home, as the evening storm was rolling in, two boys playing in a tree asked me to take their picture. Hopefully the new twins will have many such happy, carefree times ahead of them as well. I hope we all do.
Thanks for reading,