The other day, while making our daily rounds in the patient’s ward, we met a lady who had come to the hospital with her son. He needed an operation on his foot, and had just gone into the O.R. She said that she wasn’t nervous about the surgery, but she looked like she could have used a hospital bed as well. We chatted with her for a while and learned that she was pregnant. In fact, she was very pregnant, even though it wasn’t immediately obvious. We asked her when she was due, and she said, “Any time now,” with a half-smile which (in hindsight) was probably more grimace than smile.
“Don’t worry,” we told her, half-jokingly, which (in hindsight) was said more prophetically than jokingly, “there is a maternity clinic right next door. And if you can’t make it there, at least you are already in a hospital!”
We are hilarious.
Then Aichatou, our animatrice grabbed her arm and said, “Come on, we are going to do laps around the hospital until the baby comes!” Seriously, we are so funny. Everyone was laughing. The lady was laughing as well, even as she kindly turned down Aichatou’s offer. We said goodbye and continued on our way.
The next morning the lady was gone. We asked the nurses where she went and they told us that she had her baby!
“What? No way!” we said. “That is wonderful. So she went over to the maternity after all huh?”
“No,” they said. “They were closed. It was in the middle of the night.”
“What?” We were not anticipating that. “So where did she have the baby?”
“Right here,” the nurses said, as they pointed to the bed the lady was sitting at the day before. It was empty.
“What? Wait, so where is she now”
“Now she is at the maternity. She went when they opened this morning.”
That was a first for us. We do not have a maternity ward, so we have never had a baby born in our hospital. Lots of newborns, some of them very newborn, but never justborn. Thankfully some of the nurses on duty had spent time in a delivery room before. Everything went well and the baby was born without any complications. Since he is a boy, the nurses decided that he should be named Jean-Francois, in honor of Dr. Negrini, our Medical Director and Head Surgeon. The boy’s mother didn’t seem sold on the idea, but she did seem happy and relieved. Everyone came by to congratulate her when she came back, and we took some pictures. It isn’t every day that a baby is born in our ward.
 Not sure how to translate this – animator? Her job is to do different activities with the patients and keep them busy and happy, and she certainly is animated.