By Carly Wheeler | Contributor
Within the acres of Taylor University, about 2,000 students live in community from September to May. From around the world, we come together to do similar things: go to chapel, go to class, share meals. But we are all unique, and we all have stories. What's yours?
This column is entitled "Humans of Taylor U," and my hope is to give Taylor a taste of each other's unique and interesting experiences. When was that time you felt unstoppable? Who was the person who changed your perspective? What did you do on a dare that no one believes?
What's your story?
When a Social Work Major Delivered a Baby
"When you look outside, it's just dirt and stray dogs and chickens and trash everywhere. And just picturing that lady walking in those conditions is really sad, and then going to live in her little makeshift house and taking care of a newborn baby there the day she gave birth was crazy."
Prior to her trip to the Philippines, the best days of junior Caroline Kemper's life included fun days of hanging out with her friends and meeting the singing group Fifth Harmony. She had no idea what was in store for her when, even after switching her major from education to social work, she accompanied the education department on their annual J-term trip. Lead by Cindy Tyner, professor and chair of the education department at Taylor, the group was to spend the month teaching in a school in Manila, all except Kemper. She was set to work in an orphanage and in the local pregnancy clinic while the other Taylor students taught in the school.
Kemper remembered how others in the group joked about what could happen when helping out at a pregnancy clinic. Tyner had even mentioned how she could possibly help deliver a baby, but no one could have known the prophetic weight of their words, and Kemper never imagined she would do such a thing. And when her first day at the clinic was rather uneventful, having only performed tasks such as taking blood pressure and sorting diapers, pills and eggs for the patients, Kemper went back the second day thinking there would be nothing knew added to her docket.
"But on the second day, when I walked into the clinic, I saw a woman sweeping the stairs. When she saw me, all she said was, 'labor,'" Kemper said.
It took some processing for Kemper to realize that the woman was wanting her to go into the room where someone was having a baby. After asking two important questions to clarify this information that was given to her so casually, "Labor? Where?" she approached the room. Inside, she indeed found a woman in labor, and then saw a doctor was already busy with standard procedure. Kemper knocked on the door, took her shoes off, and then entered the room. The doctor simply instructed her to put gloves on, and then she helped deliver a baby - barefoot and with unwashed hands.
Laughing that she had watched plenty of "Grey's Anatomy," a popular medical drama television series, Kemper remembered the surreal feeling of confidence through it all.
"As soon as it was happening, I was calm and in the zone and I felt prepared to do it," Kemper said, "and afterwards I was just so joyful that there was new life in the world that I helped bring."
Perhaps the most shocking part of her day, however, was when she watched this new mother walk home just hours after giving birth to her daughter, whom she named Rayzen. Down the dirt road where Kemper was instructed to never walk alone, the woman went to her home, exposing her newborn so quickly to the elements: the trash lining the streets, the dust in the air, the stray animals. Kemper considered how differently this would look in America.
In the midst of the chaos, beauty emerges. This is something Kemper saw as a message of hope.
"It really made me appreciate life and how cool God is," Kemper marvelled. "It made me appreciate my life more, and just seeing life come into the world was really cool. It made me more excited to do things well."
As these emotions ran wild within her, she ran to everyone she could find, saying, "I delivered a baby!"
Q: Where do you see value in sharing stories?
"I think it just gives us a better understanding of how we see the world and how we view different events, because how one thing might affect me after experiencing (delivering a baby) or anything really, will affect somebody else completely differently. And if we don't share our stories then we don't appreciate those differences in each other; it would just be confusing or misunderstood. It just allows for a deeper appreciation and understanding." - Caroline Kemper