Wake-up call number three: I found an amazing doctor who safely delivered our bundle of joy, but he was not our original doctor, and the birth ended up taking place in an entirely different hospital than we had originally planned.
We only met him a couple of months before our daughter was due, as our original doctor wanted to deliver our baby in a clinic that had yet to open. Unlike my husband and I, our original doctor showed little concern about the clinic being up and running in time.
I didn’t have his confidence, so we sought an alternative. Hindsight proved we made the right decision: the clinic didn’t open until a few months after I gave birth. Life can move a little “pole, pole” (slowly in Swahili) in east Africa at times.
I had other worries, but they all seem so petty when I consider how lucky I really was. I was in Tanzania, one of the most dangerous places in the world to give birth. But I had excellent health cover and the luxury of admittance to a private hospital. I had my own bed and, most importantly, access to qualified doctor and nurses.
My situation isn’t the norm for expectant mothers in Tanzania. Most don’t get to choose their doctor, and are lucky if they have a qualified nurse or midwife to help them during delivery.
I met many children in Tanzania who never got to meet the woman who brought them into this world, or who had lost siblings, cousins, aunties and other people close to them because of the immense barriers women face getting access to healthcare.
I’m so happy the decision to have our baby in Tanzania turned out well for myself and my daughter. Without the professional healthcare and support I received, the outcome could have been so different. And I will always be conscious of what a true blessing it is to be able to safely give birth to a healthy child.