Today the Long and Short Stories of Life welcomes author Julie Watson on her Spotlight Author Tour sponsored by the Rave Reviews Book Club.
Julie is the author of Born for Life: A Midwife’s Story and
Born for Life: Midwife in Africa
Notes from Julie’s Diary—Born for Life: Midwife in Africa.
Yesterday was my first day working at Kalene Hospital as a midwife.
We had our first rains two nights ago and the power went off but there is a back up system using 12 volt power so we used that until power was restored. Apart from the rain that night, the weather has been very hot and well over 30 degrees and getting more humid.
As I said, yesterday was my first day at work and when I arrived it was report time which they always have. They also have a hymn or praise song and a prayer. Latia then gave me a tour of the ward. There were 2 women in labour. We continued with the tour. Three of the women in the ward had lost their babies while the others had a range of problems.
There was a baby in the incubator in the office which had dropped it’s weight from 3100kg to 1500kg at 6 weeks of age.They were caring for it with 3 hourly tube feeds, antibiotics and continual oxygen. I was helping with this baby and it was around 9.30am by this time. I went into the labour room and Frezia, a woman who was in labour looked to be pushing. I took her into the delivery area and examined her. She was fully dilated and involuntary pushing.
Frezia progressed to have a normal birth at 10.30 hours. The baby came out very sick. No respiratory effort, limb and floppy. I quickly cut and clamped the cord and took the baby over to the resusitaire and started giving inflation breathes via a mask. There was no one around. I called out for help and fortunately Dr John Woodfield was close by. The suction had been unplugged and it was a job to plug the machine in. He started bagging and I did the suctioning. The baby started making some respiratory effort and the colour started improving. The baby never cryed though and the tone and reflexes did improve.
I spent the rest of the day specialling the baby. We had the baby on continual oxygen as the baby was weak and still making very little response. The baby remained unstable and was started on antibiotics and three hourly tube feeds. The baby remained on continuous oxygen.
Throughout that day and the next the baby was very weak, indrawing and very lethargic. We got the baby reviewed again by one of the Drs and they said there was nothing else they could do. It is in Gods hands now. When I went off today the baby was still in the same condition. Freiza was coming and seeing baby and expressing milk for the baby. She was so lovely and accepting of how her baby was. We are doing everything we can. In New Zealand the baby would have been flown to a major center but in Africa you have to work with what you have.
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From a young age Julie pondered what she would do with her life. A job as a nurse aide in the local Maternity Annexe at the age of sixteen gave her a love for being with women during labour and birth and caring for mothers and their babies.
Life could not have been happier, married to the man she loved and the birth of a son. The tragic and unexpected death of her second baby in her first hour of life led to depression, loneliness and despair.
Born for Life: A Midwife’s Story tells of Julie’s struggle to overcome tragedy and who triumphs to become the midwife that she was born to be.
The many birth stories are told from an era in the 1970s through the eyes of a young nurse aide to modern day midwifery in New Zealand as an independent midwife with her own caseload.
Julie grew up in a small, rural town in New Zealand. After leaving school, she worked at the local maternity annexe as a nurse aide, which gave her a love for caring for mothers and babies. Life could not have been happier, until the death of her second baby at birth led to depression, loneliness and despair.
Julie’s first book Born for Life: A Midwife’s Story follows her journey to overcome the challenges she faced to become the midwife that she was born to be.
She always had a dream to travel and work in a developing country. She had the opportunity to work as a midwife in many countries – including Zambia, Africa where she worked at Kalene Mission Hospital.
Julie’s second book Born for Life: Midwife in Africa describes her experiences living and working in Africa. She shares her incredible journey to make a difference in the lives of African women and their babies.
Julie lives in Palmerston North, New Zealand with her husband, Barry. She has recently retired and enjoys writing, travelling, volunteer work and spending time with her friends and family.
Follow Julie online!
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