|Happy mum and chubby healthy baby (she was about to be discharged)|
|Tiny twins, whose combined birthweight was that of a normal term baby|
As a medical student we are taught the steps of breaking bad news, you initially start with a warning shot i.e. did you bring anyone with you today? You might want to take a seat etc, which is generally followed by the bad news and a grief reaction. At the MTC it can be difficult to gauge whether or not the woman is aware of her situation (miscarriage or interuterine fetal death) as they do not have the typical Western grief reaction. Sadly enoughthere is a tradition amongst Burmese people that they do not name their newborn for the first 7 days in case it does not reach 7 days of age. Although many cultures observe similar traditions, rooted in the fact that historically not all newborns survived, the traditions are observed as a part of history rather than for an actually statistical reason. It is not uncommon to see women with a history of 9 pregnancies but only 3 live children.
Another difference is that the Burmese women all breastfeed and the clinic only provides milk powder to orphaned babies, women with HIV or multiple children. Breastfeeding is not taboo at all as it is in most Western countries and women will happily breastfeed in front of a room full of men and women whilst holding a conversation with you. It ensures a supply of food for the newborn, basically for free and conveys immunity to the child as well.
|Another cute baby in a handmade beanie (yay they fit) - if the baby looks yellow to you (yellow jaundice not yellow like an asian baby then you would be correct)|
|Cute baby with unknown cause of low haemoglobin|
There's a facebook group what's happening in Mae Sot which is really helpful if you are going to be there for any amount of time. There are people selling bikes/ furniture as they move on to different places, important announcements such as the time the power was scheduled to go out and helpful long termers who are happy to answer all kinds of questions like where to find a good English speaking dentist etc. And there are all kinds of invitations to events happening in the small town of Mae Sot. One of those was for a Christmas Eve pot luck dinner at one of the local orphanages. The grassroots orphanage also rents out rooms for people who want to help out but can't afford to donate more,the cost of accommodation include a donation.
The children's playroom has had indoor hammocks and tyre swings, basically a child's dream.
As I mentioned on my facebook page I generally feel quite awkward whipping out my point + shoot camera to take photos, so I did the next best thing and handed it over to one of the children and got some amazing shots, including this one of the mischievous photographer Charlotte.
And with all kids the squeal of delight at the gift of candy was equally high pitched and excited.
I'll always value my time at Mae Tao Clinic for opening my eyes to those less fortunate and teaching me that working with less does not mean a lower standard of care, it just requires more creative in the medical approach. I'm equally grateful for the friends I made and the people I was able to meet who opened my eyes to the plight of their causes and how much the world need more people like those who dedicate their lives to international development and the developing world.
Happy Crafting! and Happy Belated New Year.