July 15th, 2018
I would be lying if I said that when I walked out of Greater Accra Regional Hospital at Ridge for the last time on Friday afternoon I was not emotional. This past week shadowing in Ridge Hospital has been one of the most impactful weeks of the Ghana Service Learning Program for me. My time spent in Ghana has consisted of enormous amounts of personal growth, first time experiences, and more learning than you can fathom. In Ridge hospital I didn't just learn about medicine, I was able to gain the affirmation I have desperately been searching for to pursue a career in obstetrics and gynecology.
I have been interested in becoming an OBGYN for a while now, but I have been unsure of whether or not that was God’s purpose for my life. The past few months, as my undergraduate career has slowly been dwindling down, I have been praying for signs to continue on this long journey to MD and this week in Ridge Hospital I finally recieved just the one I needed. I shadowed in the Gynecology/Post-Natal ward, the Labor and Delivery ward, the NICU, and the Day Surgery Ward, but the connection I felt to the Labor and Delivery Ward was unsurpassable in comparison to the other wards.
The morning of working in the Labor and Delivery Ward I woke up feeling excited. I couldn’t help but think about how amazing it was going to be to experience new life coming into the world. A little person with a clean slate and so much opportunity to become whoever it wants to be is so beautiful. I walked in and introduced myself as Cheese; the nurses and midwives loved it and we automatically formed a connection. The charge nurse told us that there was a woman in active labor and we could go observe there. When I walked in the room, she was at 9cm and it was 8:30 AM. After just a few moments in the room, I quickly became invested in this woman and her unborn child. I sat with her until she delivered at 10:52 AM. I learned how to count her contractions and reassured her that everything would be okay and that she was doing a great job. When the baby finally came, I can’t even explain how I truly felt. Tears welled up in my eyes and I was filled with joy at the first sound of the baby crying.
Later in the day, a midwife told me that a c-section was going to be happening soon and I immediately began to feel ‘giddy’ again! This would be my first time walking into an OR, much less to see another baby be brought into this world! Not much in my life has felt as right as suiting up in that hairnet, face mask, and booties and then walking into that sterile OR. Upon walking into the OR I felt overcome with a strong sense of belongingness. I got nervous as the surgeon went in to make the first incision but she worked with such precision and cofidence, within five minutes we were welcoming a brand new baby girl into the world. Seeing the imediate intimate connection between baby and mother was truly heartwarming. In the mere thirty minutes that it took to finish the entire c-section, I knew that I was meant to be the person that holds a new mom’s hand as she starts to push or save a baby’s life by performing a successful emergency c-section.
I was so excited about being a part of these miracles that my face was hurting at the end of the day from smiling so much! My colleagues mentioned that I was even blushing as we were waiting to enter the OR for the first time. While standing in the OR I felt very comfortable, like it was my hundredth time witnessing a c-section. As I observed the procedure, I felt inspired by the way that the surgeons confidently performed the operation while maintaining a cool, calm and collected demeanor. I couldn’t help but imagine myself as the surgeon, carefully stitching the sutures, as the newborn baby cries in the background while being cleaned up. The day dream left me feeling motivated to fully pursue my dream in the years to come. Leaving Ridge Hospital that day, I felt a new sense of calmness in my life because I knew that what I have been working towards for the past four years will all be worth it soon.
If you think you suffer from traffic in Atlanta, Georgia – you are sorely mistaken!
Ghana has reminded me of the value in slowing down to find joy in the simplicity.
Seeing the true innovation and organization in Ghana's "crazy" traffic
It is clear that hospitality and community are at the center of the Ghanaian culture.
A recount of our first shopping experiences in Ghana