"I don't remember anything. I only know that I woke up at a certain moment. I thought I had to go to the toilet but it was actually the baby on its way. I only woke up after the baby was born. I was cold," said Chantal the next morning in Dubie Hospital. Chantal will not soon forget the birth of her ninth child. Actually, she just might as this 32-year-old woman underwent an improbable adventure while being unconscious almost the whole time.
Just as every morning, Chantal Kombe Kishimba left for the fields to pick manioc. Although she was close to her delivery date, there was no indication that the baby would arrive soon.
Once she was at work, the contractions started suddenly and she fainted. Her brother-in-law decided to bring her to the hospital in Dubie, 35 kilometers away. He strapped her to the back of his bike and set off. Chantal was still unconscious.
During the rainy season, the road is close to impassable and the journey went very slowly. After a few kilometers they met a woman who offered to help labour along in the traditional way. She used local herbs to do this. However, after a few hours, it was clear that this was not working and the two continued on their journey. Chantal remained unconscious.
A little bit farther up the road, they came across a man on a bike. He told them that he would go look for a car that can bring them to Dubie. Soon after that they came across two motorcycle riders who promised to ride to Dubie so they could send a car back for them. When the car from Dubie finally picked them up, Chantal was still unconscious.
Meanwhile in Dubie, they start to prepare for a caesarean section, but during the car ride to the hospital, Chantal regained consciousness. "I don't remember anything. I only know that I woke up at a certain moment. I thought I had to go to the toilet but it was actually the baby on its way.
I only woke up after the baby was born. I was cold," said Chantal the next morning in Dubie Hospital. The baby arrived quickly without any problems. However, the car was not equipped for deliveries. Chantal and her baby finally arrived in Dubie Hospital after nightfall. At that time, the mother and baby were still connected by the umbilical cord. All's well that ends well. Chantal and baby Chancel are both doing fine.
"I'm very happy that I've had my baby," she said. "I hope this is my last delivery as it's becoming dangerous for me. I can die during the birth. I'm now going to use contraception. I already wanted to do that, but I couldn't find any in the place where I live. Now it is available. I hope that Chancel grows up happy and healthy, that she studies, marries and has her own children."