Tobiah Carl Zimmerman was born at 11:45 pm on 11/11. Baby weighed 3.7 kg = 8 lbs, 2 ounces. Tobiah and Rebecca are fine and are now resting at our house at Good Shepherd. Tobiah is the main character of the book of Tobit, found in the Catholic Bible, but not in the Protestant Bible. Rebecca and I enjoyed reading Tobit together while we were dating and we had Tobit 8:4-8 read at our wedding (http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/r/rsv/rsv-idx?type=DIV1&byte=3785365). Carl is the name of Rebecca’s deceased grandfather on her father’s side, who was a man of great faith and the original owner of the farm we lived on in New York before we came to PNG. Here are the details of the birth.
Rebecca and I decided to use Mingende Hospital for the birth of Zimmerbabe III. It’s about an hour drive from us on beautiful mountain roads. We had stayed at Mingende once about two years ago when our roadtrip to Madang was cancelled by a landslide. Mingende is main Catholic station in the province of Chimbu. It was founded back in the 1930’s by the original missionaries and has a large church, the bishop’s residence, schools, a catechist training center, and a small hospital. Rebecca divided her prenatal visits between Mingende and Kudjip Nazarene Hospital, which is closer to us.
On the night of the 10th, Rebecca started having contractions, but they were sporadic and not heavy, so she went to bed. Light contractions continued the next morning (the 11th) so we decided it was time. I furiously finished some grading, turned in my marks for the semester, and we hit the road! We arrived at the hospital around 11:30 am. A midwife from Manus Island named Joan came out to meet us, lead us to the private room that we had reserved, and served us fried egg sandwiches. Joan was very friendly and dedicated to making sure that our stay was comfortable. The room was nice – we had a private bathroom with hot water, and a mini-fridge, and the hospital supplied us with coffee, tea, juice, and all our meals.
In Papua New Guinea much of the health care is provided by church run hospitals and health centers that are financially supported by the government. Unfortunately this means that if the government were to forget to budget sufficient funds for healthcare or were to overspend on preparing the country for the 2015 Pacific Games, then health providers would not get the funds and supplies from the national government that they need to operate. Alas, now is such a time, and Mingende Hospital was open only for births and emergencies since the national government has not given it funds since September, such that the hospital cannot afford to pay all its staff. While we received good care, much of the hospital was deserted. On the good side for us, this meant that we were free to walk around outside to help the labor progress.
Rebecca was not really settling into active labor, so we went for a walk through the main station, and we went part of the way down the hillside that Mingende is perched upon. Many of the locals were very confused why two white skins were wandering aimlessly around and walking down the road to the cow paddock. This man insisted that we take a picture of him and his dog:
Dinner was fish with many vegetables:
As night fell, Rebecca was having stronger contractions, but not settling into a good rhythm. We decided to take it easy. We took showers and laid down to sleep. I was sure that the baby would not come until the next morning. Around 11:00 pm, Rebecca was sleeping, when she was awoken by a contraction and her water breaking! We alerted the nurses and told them to contact Joan (who lived nearby) and went to the labor and delivery room. There a well-meaning, but somewhat overwhelmed nurse checked Rebecca and said that she was only 4 cm dilated, even though she was clearly going through transition. However, the nurse also said that the baby could come at any moment, which greatly confused us! Rebecca felt like pushing, disregarded the nurse who wanted her to get in the traditional lying on your back position, and got in a good hands + knees position (which was how Tabitha was delivered). Luckily Joan the midwife suddenly arrived and guided everyone through a surprisingly quick birth. Tobiah was almost a kilogram heavier than Tabitha, but the delivery was without complications – no tearing!
Soon Rebecca was wheeled back to our room. Tobiah picked up nursing rather quickly. I swaddled him and he and I slept together on a mattress on the floor. The three of us rested in our room the next morning. Breakfast was egg sandwiches. Lunch was egg with rice and vegetables. Wanting something else for dinner, we decided to return to the seminary, where Rebecca’s parents were taking care of Annie and Tabitha. Rebecca was also doing quite well, less tired and in less pain than the other two deliveries. On the way out, the bishop of Chimbu blessed Tobiah!
Today (the 12th) was our seminary’s graduation mass, presided over by the bishop of Wabag. Our girls and Rebecca’s parents had a good time though and learned how to butcher a pig for a mumu. We unfortunately missed the celebration and this scene:
Alan (Rebecca’s dad) responds to a knock at the door:
Visitor: Hello. I’m Doug.
Alan: Hi. I’m Alan, Rebecca’s father.
Visitor: Brandon asked me to pick up some orange juice for Rebecca. Here you go. (Two bottles of OJ exchange hands).
Alan: Oh. Thank-you.
Visitor: Well, my duty is discharged and I am off.
Alan: Thanks. Good-bye.
Visitor: Good-bye. (Alan shuts the door)
Annie: That was the Archbishop!
We are very grateful that the delivery went so well, that Alan and Lisa could come to help us, and that we have a big, beautiful, and healthy baby boy!