Posted: July 19, 2010 in Uncategorized
Women are vulnerable when they are in labor.  They can get exhausted if
they labor for hours and those that care for them can get weary as well.
 We are incredibly proud of our beautiful maternity center and we
respect and love the women in our program.  Each woman receives quality
care, lovely surroundings, sweet new baby clothes, fresh clothes for
herself, a bathroom to herself, and two midwives at her service.  This
is her reward for faithful attendance to our program throughout her
pregnancy.  Our goal is to have a healthy mom and baby happily breast
feeding within a reasonable amount of time.
Occasionally complications come our way and we have to look for others
to help.  We have back up medical professionals an email and phone call
away.  People with our same passion and commitment to these women and
their health.
Over the weekend we had two laboring gals.  One has had high blood
pressure over the last several weeks.  The other had her water break and
needed to deliver within a certain amount of time.  Labor and delivery
can be like a game of chess – working each move with skill, thinking
through all the possible outcomes and working with what we have
available to us here in Haiti.
The decision came after two days to transport to a hospital for both
ladies for different reasons.   This rarely happens but when it does it
is a disappointment and a concern that a woman receive higher quality
care then what we can give.
Our weekend had been consumed with these ladies.  On Sunday night we
headed out to find a hospital to take our gal.  For various reasons our
choices are limited.  Of course it was raining, and we headed our with
our little family, food and their grocery sacks of supplies loaded on
their laps.  We ended up at a government hospital that has joined up
with an international organization.   Rain, mud, finding parking, twists
and turns  in the dark  we finally found ourselves at a very old and
run down building.
The Haitian resident doctor  was kind, accommodating, and helpful.  Yes,
he knew of our mom we sent for high blood pressure this morning.  We
took her BP every 15- 30 minutes.  They had not taken it in 12 hours.
 He grabbed a BP cuff to take it, oh, the cuff was broken.
He discussed our two cases with us,  he satisfied us with his responses
for right choices and we gave over our ladies to join hundreds of other
moaning, laboring, walking, sitting ladies. All vulnerable, probably all
afraid, all wanting to make it out alive.
We hadn’t slept in many hours, it was night, but the conditions of this
hospital sent my head spinning.  I saw two doctors and one nurse for
many, many laboring women.  The plight of Haiti – understaffed and
overworked.  Broken equipment, no sheets, no supplies, bare, dirty,
rooms, no clean up crew rushing over for every spill of vomit and blood.
 Joanna spoke as an expert midwife to the doctor giving over the dossier 
while I stood there, looking around, trying to keep back the flood of
emotions.  I so wanted to grab our ladies and head back to our clean,
sterile maternity center.  But they have what we don’t.  An operating
room for a possible c-section.  We know our limits, we know when care is
beyond our skills.
I envisioned our ladies grabbing our bodies and hanging on as we headed
our the door.  They didn’t.  The hugged and kissed us with promises to
call when babies were born.  They accepted this.  They are poor, Haitian
and this is what hospital means to them.  They were not appalled as we
were.  They were not fighting back tears.  They were not thinking human
beings should not birth in places like this.  They understood.
I don’t understand.  And as a person with power I have to advocate and
fight for them.  We can be a voice for them.  Hospitals should have
equipment, clean sheets and women should be treated with dignity.
Our prenatal program services 20 pregnant women at a time.  We lavish
them with good care, dignity, love and respect.  All women should have
this.  We feel ownership once a woman joins our program and we have a
commitment to see her through till that child is six months old and
Sometimes pregnancy means complications especially with an impoverished
population.  We can only go so far when dealing with these
complications.  I want a better transport option.  I want quality care
in decent surroundings.  This should not be a luxury for the wealthy
only.  All laboring women should be guaranteed good care in a clean
If we can’t find it here then we have to take action.  We either need
more money to send our ladies to the hospitals that only the rich and
powerful can afford to go to or we expand and provide a hospital
ourselves.  Let’s do it.  A small hospital with clean sheets, equipment
that works, a caring staff and patients that come out whole in body and
spirit.  Our field hospital showed us that this is a possibly.  We can
do it and we can do it well.

Beth McHoul

Help Heartline help the women in our care.  Click here to donate.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s