The sun shone brightly in Sabu as Barbalinda, 31, was cooking and washing clothes for her family. She gingerly went about her normal daily routine, occasionally rubbing her belly, as she was heavy with her child.
Thirteen days from now, she reminded herself, she would be holding a lovely baby girl.
But after her husband left to tap palm sugar in the field, Barbalinda felt intense pain. It came without warning. She paused, collected herself and sat by the door of her house alone. She held tightly to the door and, after 15 excruciating minutes, she gave birth!
Barbalinda was delighted to welcome baby Adiva to the world! It was a miracle, but Barbalinda was struggling, bleeding profusely.
“I started to feel dizzy and weak. I could feel my lower body was wet and cold. I felt so much pain in my stomach,” she says.
Calling Survival Staff for Help
Thankfully, her father arrived, shocked to see his daughter’s condition and the baby already born. As Barbalinda was registered with the local center’s Survival initiative, her father immediately tried to contact the Survival midwife. After failing to reach her because of a weak phone signal, he ran to the beach, where his call went through.
Survival staff Yuni and Ina soon arrived with a midwife and an ambulance. The midwife couldn’t stop the bleeding, so they immediately carried Barbalinda to the ambulance and took her to the nearest clinic.
The health workers there couldn’t stop Barbalinda’s bleeding either. Baby Adiva was examined, declared healthy and sent to stay with her grandmother. But the health workers gave Barbalinda an IV and drove to a bigger hospital. Because of bad road conditions, the 12-mile trip took an hour and a half.
“I was distraught when I saw Barbalinda’s condition. Her blood gushed out and soaked the floor of the ambulance. I didn’t stop praying,” Yuni says.
At the hospital, Barbalinda lost consciousness. Her entire body was swollen, and she was diagnosed with a retained placenta. If she didn’t receive treatment quickly, she’d likely suffer infection and life-threatening blood loss.
The doctors ordered her taken to another hospital in the city, eight hours away by boat, for a procedure. But Barbalinda’s husband and mother-in-law declined and instead decided to take her home. In Sabu custom, an important family decision should first be discussed with all the elders of the family.
Advocating for Barbalinda