Home birth in Mozambique - Tawnya's Story
My husband and I had originally planned to have two children, close together. My son was 5 months old when my husband told me he was ready to have another. At first I cried. Not because I wasn’t ready but because I knew I’d never be pregnant again and I loved being pregnant.
We were Youth pastors in Oregon USA when our daughter was born. Our plan worked perfectly, two kids, 16 months apart, and the bonus of having a boy and a girl left no need to “try” for one or the other, it was perfect. After one year we would make it final that we’d never have another, but although the consultations were scheduled it just never fit into our calendar and it never happened.
In 2013 we travelled with our 2 and 3-year-old toddlers to Pemba, Mozambique. It was an unexpected thought when I had it, but I told my husband that maybe we should have another baby. He was quiet, which meant he didn’t feel quite ready to answer. Our time in Pemba ended and we knew we’d be returning to Africa in a few months to start our new life in a foreign place with our 2 little ones. During the transition time, I asked again what he thought and he said it would be best to wait and see what the situation was like in our soon to be new environment.
We arrived in Dondo, Mozambique in April 2014 with a 3 and 4-year-old to begin our lives as missionaries. Like I said before, our plan was perfectly laid out and we were doing what we wanted. However, when we asked God how many children we should have, I got pregnant immediately. While I was pregnant with my son I went into premature labour and they had to stop it and place me on bed rest. Due to this I was at a slightly higher risk during my second pregnancy but carried full term with both. Since I had little to no issues with my previous pregnancies we decided we would have the baby in Mozambique. We decided to have a home birth, as we felt apprehensive of delivering in the hospitals.
Of course our families were terrified, but we trusted in the Lord for His hands to guide the process. I was able to have my mom send me a care package before the pregnancy and asked her to include very specific things that were so helpful while I was recovering from my other labours in the States. It of course was challenging to navigate everything in a new country with a different language. We ordered an emergency birth kit from Amazon and had my mom send it. It had all you need to deliver a baby; gloves, umbilical clamp and a bag for the placenta amongst other things. We decided to have my husband deliver the baby since we didn’t know anyone and had a backup plan that if something went wrong we could drive the 45 minutes to a private clinic in the city.
I went to some appointments at that clinic to make sure that I could gain access to documents that proved I was pregnant in Mozambique to help file for citizenship when the time came. I would go in, the woman would look at my feet and ankles to see if they were swollen and then weigh me and that would be my appointment. One time I went in and she listened to the heartbeat with one of those ear trumpet stethoscopes.
A friend of ours volunteered to come and deliver the baby since she had worked as a labour and delivery nurse. We had planned for her to come and walk my husband through the delivery. We bought plastic tarps from the side of the road here; they use them for roofs and cover it with grass. We bought it to put under a sheet we bought in the open market so we could keep our bed clean.
On the day that the baby came, my water broke and I was 2 weeks early. My friend who was supposed to come and deliver the baby was scheduled to arrive that afternoon, her plane was delayed and she missed a connecting flight and missed the birth by 12 hours. We had Argentinean doctors staying nearby at the time and we asked if he could help if anything went wrong. I am RH- blood type so I had to find a special medication that has to be given 2 times during pregnancy and he could help administer this and give me stitches if needed. I was able to find sutures and some lidocaine in a pharmacy, praise god!
The baby was delivered in the evening and everything went great. We had to weight her with a vegetable scale since we didn’t have anything else. Her name is Ahava Adonai which means “Love my Lord” in Hebrew. She is the best gift we've ever been given and truly lives to her name. She has brought so much Love into our family and to all those she comes in contact with. Her spirit is soft and kind.