11.16.2009

Our Program is for Joranne

Labor and Delivery
Joranne is a vibrant, beautiful, spunky 21 year old woman. From the first day she joined the program she became one of the "stand-out" ladies. She always has a great smile and peppy attitude when she comes for prenatal class.

We all agreed that being able to see her baby come into the world and help her with it would be an amazing privilege. We were happy to look ahead on the calendar and know that by November when she was due, we would likely be able to deliver her baby.

Joranne has never been pregnant before. Unlike the vast majority of first-time moms in Haiti, Joranne received consistent pre-natal care and lots of attention through 7 months of her pregnancy.

On Saturday evening she called Beth to let her know she had been having contractions for three hours and was getting a ride over to us. She arrived and Jonna, a midwife staying in Haiti to work with us for 8 months, began to assess things and help Joranne get settled in for a night of laboring.

Lisa and Beth and others that were there to support took turns sleeping. Vivien (an EMT living in Haiti for 9 months) and Jonna handled all of Joranne's needs during the night.

Morning came and people who had not yet slept got a nap while others jumped in to help. We continued to help her through each contraction, to encourage, to pray, and to monitor.

Giving a Haitian woman an opportunity to labor while surrounded by love and help (and great back rubs) is an important part of what we offer. This experience is nothing like what they would experience elsewhere in Haiti. It is truly unique.

Around 10am Joranne's baby started showing a few signs of distress. The baby's heartrate decelerated and the midwives began to be a little bit concerned, but they also knew she was close to delivering.

At 10:35 Jonna, the midwife acting as primary for this delivery, told Joranne that she could push. A few minutes passed and Joranne was able to begin pushing with each contraction. At that point Lisa, another midwife, was getting fetal heart rates of about 70-80 beats per minute.

Lisa told Vivien to be ready for a baby that might need resuscitation. It was calm but incredibly intense for the next six minutes. We could see the head and we knew she was just a push or two away from delivering, but we did not know how the baby would fare. We prayed aloud and individually as Joranne pushed.

At 10:45 Joranne's 7 pound 7 ounce son was delivered and he started crying instantly. A collective sigh of relief was breathed by all in the room. Thank God for another safe delivery.



In this case, we were blessed with a healthy baby. Had he come out needing more medical attention than we could provide it would have been our responsibility to find him help. If you read the post prior to this one, you know that medical emergencies are extra difficult in Haiti. The roads are bad, the traffic is worse, and there is no "911" option. In emergencies (and there will be emergencies) we need to be ready to move and we need to be ready to move fast. We need a vehicle ready for use at all times that is equipped with oxygen, IV fluids and other life saving medical supplies. We need to be ready to give these women the best care possible.

Not to be ready - is to offer them less than they deserve. And that is wrong.

We cannot fix the lack of infrastructure in Haiti. We cannot make most things better for them. We cannot control a lot of things. But we can be prepared to take really good care of women while they are in labor and delivering their babies. We SHOULD be prepared to do that.




More on Vehicles

On Sunday there were 6 at the Buxman house, 11 at the Livesay house, 5 at the McHoul house, 11 plus at the Tlucek house ... all needing to get to church about 40 minutes from the area we all live. (These are the four households that work with Heartline full or part time.)

We were already begging for rides and trying to find vehicles to pick a few up and help out. We all usually have one working vehicle (per family) and we're always stretched to figure out transportation. We swap and trade and jockey to make it work.

On Sunday we needed a vehicle to stay at the Women's Center and ready to make a hospital run if need be. This meant a large group of people needed to stay home so that the vehicle could stay ready for emergency transport. The vehicle that was there was not sufficient. It was not outfitted with medical devices - it was better than nothing, and all we had.

If the question has crossed your mind, "Why do they need such an expensive vehicle?" I want to address that. I am a frugal person by nature and I get why you might wonder that.

We (our family) bought a vehicle 16 months ago. It is a 2005 with few miles on it. It has had three major issues, all three related to the fact that it is not a sturdy enough vehicle with high enough clearance for the roads that Haiti offers. Each time there are issues it takes about two to four weeks to locate parts and another week or two to get it fixed. At this moment Beth has been without her truck for 12 weeks due to issues finding parts. I don't share this to whine about it, I share it to explain the reality of vehicle maintenance in Haiti. Nothing is convenient or easy here.

We need a very reliable, sturdy, high-clearance, totally outfitted vehicle that we can count on. We truly never want to find ourselves in a situation where we lose a lady because we were not as prepared as possible to deal with a problem.

I know if someone I love had a major medical emergency, I would want more than a half broken down jalopy to get them to the hospital, if at all possible. The lives of these women are every bit as important as the lives of the people I love. A reliable vehicle that will serve 100's of women for years to come is a necessity.

We're so hopeful that we'll receive the funds to both buy and outfit the vehicle (60K does both) - we're available to answer your questions.

Please help us reach the goal by sponsoring our efforts. The Chip In button on the right is one way to donate, you can also mail a check to Heartline in Washington.

Thank you for helping us help them!The Heartline Team

(Written by T. Livesay)

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