It was an unusually quiet night, but it was soon to be the highlight of my six weeks volunteering with Magen David Adom and an experience that will remain with me for a lifetime. The alarm sounded at 12am, paging my ambulance to only our second call of the night. My roommate Liza and I were still half asleep as we ran out the door behind our driver, Aiman. As we climbed onto the ambulance, we retied our hair and straightened out our uniform in an attempt to look more alert.
This was to be one of our last shifts before our volunteering period was complete. Throughout those five weeks, we had been called to almost every imaginable scenario. We had attended to patients who had been stabbed, involved in car accidents, fights or fires, patients with fevers, chest pains, stomach pains and almost everything in between. Yet, the one thing that we hadn’t seen and wanted more than anything was a birth.
Liza and I began to prepare the ambulance for the call when Aiman turned to us and asked “What is the one thing that you both still want to do?”. We took one look at each other and without even thinking, we responded with “a birth”. With a smile I’ll never forget, he responded “so let’s go deliver a baby”. We both let out a squeal of excitement. “Liza, we are going to deliver a baby! A real baby!”.
After what felt like the longest drive, we had arrived at our patients home shortly after the first responders. Our patient was 26 years old and was 40 weeks pregnant with her second child. For religious reasons, our patient requested that she was not examined by a male. Liza and I were the only females so we were to check her vital signs, if her water had broken and if the baby was crowning. Despite all the training we had, we were not taught how to deliver a baby! Aiman guided us through the examination and thankfully, her water had not broken and there was no sign that the baby would come in the next few minutes. After several minutes and in between contractions, we managed to transfer her to the ambulance bed. In the ambulance we continued to monitor her vital signs and check for signs of crowning.
Her contractions began getting closer together and only 10 minutes into the drive, her water broke. My beautiful white shirt was white no longer! We lifted the bed head and continued to do everything we could to try make her as comfortable as possible. With every contraction, bump on the road or movement, she would cry out in pain. The drive to the hospital felt even longer than the drive to her house. We arrived at the hospital and we quickly wheeled her out the ambulance and sprinted through the hospital corridors to the lift to the Labour and Delivery ward. We all took a sigh of relief because in less than a minute we would be handing the expectant mother to hospital staff. As I turned around to press the button to close the lift, Liza screams ‘head’. Seconds later, we were pulling a beautiful baby boy into the world. As we stepped out of the lift holding this baby, no words could express how we felt. We were so incredibly proud of ourselves and so grateful to have been given the opportunity to bring a new life into the world. Throughout the last few weeks we saw heart break, pain and loss. On that night, we saw joy, love and the miracle of life.
This photo of Liza and I was taken moments after we had delivered the baby.