Posted: March 20, 2011 in Uncategorized

We can usually guarantee  when there is political upheaval we will have a birth.  Since both happen a lot around here it’s pretty much a sure bet.  Weeks ago we brought a post-partum mom home and dropped her off in front of burning tires.  She waddled off with her family in billows of smoke.  All in a days work around here.

Friday morning one of our ladies pulled up to our gate in dramatic fashion  in a public transportation van filled with the laboring lady and her friends.  Right from the beginning we knew something wasn’t right.  She had missed prenatals the day before even though she knows we expect to see her daily as her baby could come at any time.  I think she got sick of waiting.

While we were checking our laboring mom out we noticed she had lots of pieces of leaves in her clothing.  Her behavior and her contractions were not normal.  We realized quickly we were in a crisis situation and we would have to transport to our back-up hospital in short order.   We questioned her about the leaves and asked if she took anything to bring on labor.  She wasn’t telling.

Realizing we could lose this baby we sprung into action.  Oxygen, IV, equipment, and the laboring mom were hustled into our ambulance.  Troy met us at the gate and jumped into the driver’s seat and sped off with siren blaring and lights flashing.  Jonna was co-pilot holding down the siren button and Cookie and I were holding mom, IV and oxygen.  Tara and Heather were calling in the prayer warriors via internet.

We started out and realized that former President Aristide’s plane was landing and the route to his house is through our area.  Crowds, vehicles and police filled the streets.  How could we get through this chaos?  Troy weaved through traffic, drove on the wrong side of the street and somehow flew through the streets by the airport road and onto very normally congested areas.  Somehow, some way, the streets opened before us and we arrived in record time.  We don’t know how he did  it except that God went before us and opened the way.

An emergency cesarean section was done and a life was saved although the baby is not yet out of the woods.  The baby has been seizing and is in respiratory  distress.   Continued prayer is needed.

Three cultural factors remind me that we are in the third world working against odds that keep us on our knees dependent on God.

1.     Transport doesn’t mean we can get to the hospital easily and without roadblocks.  Haiti is volatile and we live in an area where protest and burning tires happen often.

2.     Although we transport to a hospital they do not have the equipment or training that is available in the first world.  Much of the equipment and skills are antiquated.  Life saving equipment may not be in the room.  We are learning to bring our own.

3.       We are dealing with a population who may go to alternative sources when they are frustrated.  This mom was sick of being pregnant and since the missionary midwives weren’t bringing on  labor she may have gone to someone who would.  Many women go to “country midwives” and “voodoo healers” to get concoctions that bring on labor.  Some of these potions can kill an unborn baby.  We suspect that our lady did just this.  She was tired of being pregnant and went to find a medicine that would bring on labor.   Instead it brought on trouble – perhaps deadly trouble.

The ladies in our program know we would not approve of this.  Since prescriptions are not needed here medicines are bought and used often wrongly and can cost lives.

Our ladies trust us to a point.  When frustrated they may go to what is familiar and is part of their culture.    The thinking is if the hospital doesn’t work then try voodoo.

Haiti is a country full of superstitions and voodoo permeated thinking.    All cultures have beliefs and “old wives tales” but  we are battling some beliefs that hurt, keep people in darkness and cause babies to die.  Such as the  misbelief that bottle feeding is superior to breast feeding is just one example of how people are kept poor and babies easily die.   Recently one of our guards was telling John how receiving an automated cell phone call was causing people to die.  Superstitions abound and keep people slaves to fear.    Sending and receiving curses keep people from trusting each other.  Many still believe that AIDS can be sent through curse.

Pray with us for this baby and for our women to fully trust our program.   Birth shouldn’t be a disaster and medicines shouldn’t kill.

Beth McHoul


We want to thank you for your faithful support.  You are helping us make a difference here in Haiti.  In this instance a life or lives were saved in part because Heartline has an ambulance that our supporters helped us purchase.  Thank you for being hands of support that reaches Haiti, the land of unlimited impossibility.

Beth and Joanna, today after church, visited the mom and her baby girl in the hospital.  The mom can be released tomorrow but the child is still struggling to survive.  Please pray for this newborn girl.  Please pray for the women in our programs and please pray for Heartline as we endeavor to be the hands of Christ in Haiti.

John McHoul

  1. i continue to be touched very deeply by your writings and the writings of the Livesays. i find myself incredibly grateful that somehow i found these blogs to read because what i get from them is how deeply God touches our lives, but also how difficult the challenge that Christ puts before us actually is. i think i can go as far as to say that reading y’all’s blogs has helped me on my faith journey. there aren’t enough thank yous for that.

  2. Tara L. says:

    So bummed this birth went this way … praying for redemption!

  3. Ann Y Stokes says:

    I was wondering how this little one was doing. Will be praying. Does the mother know that the concoction she took has jeopardized the baby’s life?

    • johnmchoul says:

      Beth picked up the mom at the hospital today but the baby needs to stay 7 more days. She is on anti seizure med, antibiotics, and the prognosis is uncertain. The mother isn’t saying much and Beth has not addressed it with her in length and will for several more days. Please continue to pray!

      • Ann Y Stokes says:

        Still praying for this baby to live and prosper under the merciful, redeeming hand of Jesus. His mother, too.

        May the Lord give you all more and more favor in the eyes of the people.


  4. Sami says:

    Thank you Jesus for life. Thank you for Heartline. Thank you for healing that comes through your name!!!

  5. danette weddle says:

    love you guys… keep on with the light…. Jesus….

  6. Marjorie says:

    Lord Jesus, author and perfector of our faith, we know that nothing is impossible for you. We ask that you break down any strongholds that are preventing truth and trust. I pray for wisdom and discernment for Beth as she interacts with this Mom. I pray for this Mom to be overwhelmed by your love and forgiveness. I beg for your healing hand to surround this precious, precious child. I pray protection over the Heartline program and its women, children and staff. Lord God, before even time began You had this family’s story written and we look with expectation to see You redeem this situation, to see You glorified and Your name exalted. Amen

  7. Lori says:

    I drove that rode just the day before and know how difficult it would be to just sail down (although the other side does make it easier). Thanking God for how He goes before you. I’m really enjoying your blogs. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability.

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