If you have been following my blog for a year or more, you most likely read about the birth I witnessed when Josiah and I visited last September. Africa is not a very labor and delivery friendly continent and Sierra Leone has one of the worst records when it comes to maternal and infant deaths. So, why, many would think, would you voluntarily go to Sierra Leone while pregnant and deliver your 4th child there. Truth be known, I cannot logically explain it. God has lead our family to minister to the people of Sierra Leone physically and spiritually and He works in mysterious ways.
While there was some trepidation on our part about me delivering a baby in Sierra Leone, we were confident in God’s provision, no matter the circumstances. We also looked back at my previous three deliveries which were quick (2-8 hours long) and uncomplicated. God did provide even though the labor and delivery did not go as we envisioned.
I started labor on the evening of July 8th with some mild contractions and both Jeneson and I figured that in a few hours (while the kids were conveniently asleep) I would have our newest daughter. Needless to say, it did not happen like that. Hours past and still not much progress. We called Ann Marie, one of the national nurses who was going to help us with the delivery. 12 hours later and still in labor…. By noon we sent the kids over to our neighbors for lunch. It was decision time. Do we get in the truck to start the 2 hour drive to the nearest hospital where I would be almost assured a c-section or just be patient. We needed to make the decision soon since travelling in the dark on the roads is not any fun, especially during the rainy season. Ann Marie and I wanted to stick it out at home, while Jeneson was ready to head to the truck. I decided that we needed some more advice. So, I decided to make a call to my old midwives back in Forest Park, Illinois. Thankfully, the office was open and Shirley was there. An hour after implementing her advice, Rebekah was born! She took 18 hours to enter the world, longer than all her older siblings combined!
Our running joke is that Rebekah truly is an African child as she was born in ‘African time’. In North America we are a very time-oriented people, constantly looking at our calendar or watch. In Sierra Leone ‘tomorrow’ just means sometime in the future, which may or may not be the next day and scheduled events often start hours later than planned
Rebekah was given the middle name ‘Salone’ which is African short hand for Sierra Leone. This way she will always know that she was born in Sierra Leone, Africa. She was also christened with the Mende name Kenyah which means ‘born in another country’.
Jeneson and I were so grateful for God’s provision, even if it was not how we had anticipated!