Marathon Baby!

Posted: September 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

Saturday September 15, 2012

I woke up this morning and realized two things – I slept through the night without being interrupted by my cell phone and John had left hours before to take Barry McDonald to Goat Mountain to train.  I burst into tears in relief that we midwives had gotten a full night’s sleep.  They are rare these days.  Catching up is hard to do.

I also realized that although we are runners: Tara, Melissa, Sarah O, Jen, Wini and I are on a new sort of marathon.  We, like Barry, run for life for the same women; we just do it differently now.

I cried over that transition this morning.  Years ago it was me off on a morning training run armed with Gatorade and running an insane amount of miles.  Our daughter Morgan would skip school to bring me new clothes and drinks every hour.  The school never agreed that this was a legit stay home reason.   Running used to be a huge part of my life and rarely a day went by that I didn’t run.  Now I catch a few miles here and there hoping to stay fresh.

We run different marathons, but we run never the less.  Barry is running to highlight the women of our program.  He is highlighting maternal health at Heartline.  We midwives are working each day to make sure that health happens.  Like Barry, some days we feel like we can’t do another mile, and yet when the phone rings or the sun comes up for Barry, off we go putting one foot in front of the other.

Mostly we love what we do beyond measure.  Like runners love running.  Midwives love women and babies but somewhere mid-run we realize you can’t stop and go home when this ceases to be comfortable.  Tired means more coffee and chocolate not more sleep:  Walls are hit, walls are overcome.

Women come into the program prenatally.  They come with lifelong unmet health needs.  The blood pressures in this country leave me with my jaw hanging open.  They come with fears, they come with a hope that finally some mother and grandmother (that’s me) like figures will listen to them and help them.  All through their pregnancies they have health needs that have to be taken care of.  Births can be a sprint and we are lucky if we arrive on time (had one on the porch recently) or they can be a two day marathon where we are all hitting the wall of mile 20 and wish this baby would come.   Then postpartum is where maintenance begins.  A mom has to be encouraged to now put into place all the things she has learned in our program.  She and baby need constant monitoring.  Some go home at 24 hours others stay for a week or two depending on her situation.

All my years of running have taught me how to be a midwife.  You can go on when you think you can’t.  Running and birth have taught me the human body is an amazing machine and can do wondrous, difficult things.  The human spirit can rise up and accomplish incredible feats, push when there is no more strength, run when energy is gone.  Coaches in birth and running are invaluable figures who can be the key to success for a runner.  Midwives are coaches and protectors of the process of birth.  We stand beside our runners and step in when necessary.

While Barry runs up Goat mountain to bring awareness and huge money to our new maternity center site I’ll catch a few miles around the neighborhood knowing the cell phone might ring at any moment:

Mme John “I have contractions”, “my baby has a fever”, “I am bleeding”, “I lost my housing”, “my older child is sick”, “I have pelvic pain”, “I think I am in labor”, are just a few of the calls we get.  Women need to be heard.   Tara and I spend many the night fielding phone calls, consorting together on how to respond and meeting up at the maternity center.  Troy has talked many a women through contractions on the cell phone since he has the best language skills.  We may give him an honorary midwifery and ambulance driving medal for all his help!

Barry is running  the distance of several laborious marathons through the cities and villages of Haiti to bring awareness.   Maternal health in Haiti is deplorable.  We have hit on a method that works:  a small program seeing women weekly (or more) and ministering to the whole person until the baby is six months old.  This works so well we are twinning it on our land with a bigger center.

Midwives caring for women on an intimate level works.  Mom and baby thrive!   Families catch the vision.  We had a dad last week that said this baby will be breastfed for six months just like my wife learned in class!  Success!

We run for women!  We run for life!  We run because these women have no voice of their own.

Click here to learn more about Barry McDonald and the Run for Life.  Your support will help Heartline build a new Maternity Center where women and babies will be given the care that they deserve.

Press here to see a one minutes clip of Barry running in a Haitian town.

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Run on!

Beth McHoul


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