Welcome to my blog!

This blog was created with the intention of sharing my life and midwifery experiences with my community as I branch into international midwifery. I hope to keep people up to date and in touch with me, and with the places and people where I'll be.

Monday, May 24, 2010


Hello to everyone...
I have missed writing in the blog...unfortunately the internet where I am staying is down, and I think it is going to be AWHILE before it is fixed. So, I have been unable to blog...but I will continue to do it as much as possible; it is a relief for me when I can, because I feel connected to all of you and like I am sharing my life/story with all of you...right now I came to this building at the hospital that has internet...so, good.
Things here are going allright. Each day I feel that I can understand more Creole and speak more. When you are learning a language you always understand more than you speak. That is how it is for me. I feel more accustomed to the hospital, although still surprised and dismayed at things there pretty often...I have made more friends in Hinche, so that is nice...
What is going on here currently...well, my 30th birthday is in 2 days...still don't really have any kind of plan for how to mark it...I want to do something, but here, there is nowhere to really go, and I don't have a house where I can throw a party...so, I don't know...maybe I will just spend the evening (after work) alone, reflecting, writing...which I have been doing alot of recently...there is alot of time to think here...maybe too much time...that was what one of the Cuban doctors was saying the other day...I went to the house where they all stay...we were hanging out, talking about living in Hinche. He was saying that you have too much time to think. He was saying that there have been doctors that have come here and left crazy. Everything he was describing...were things that I have noticed and thought about already, but it was interesting hearing him put it all out there. He was saying how, this is a hard place to live. It is a town with no electricity. There is nowhere to go and sit, listen to nice music, dance. There are a few little nightclubs, but they mostly play Haitian Kompa music, which to me and them is very boring and repetitive. To me it is like generic watered down carribean music. sorry to say. I would rather listen to salsa, merengue, anything Latin. I was thinking about this the other day: it dawned on me that I really miss Latina culture in general. The vibe here is different. I think that is part of why I am also not really attracted to any of the men here. They don't have that sensual Latino energy. Anyway, this doctor, he was describing how hard it is for himself and others from Cuba to live here, and, he just sounded so burned out already. He has onloy been here for 4 months. He has 2 YEARS to be here, in Haiti. It is a hard place to be. You also get burned out on the apathy of the healthcare providers around you. That was another thing they were talking about. I am thankful that I only have another 3 months to go. I am at the halfway point of the 6 months that I committed. I may possibly stay longer--through Nov--through graduation of the students--but, I don't really want to. I am trying to just enjoy and appreciate the life experience that I am getting here. I don't want to be pessimistic about it. I really do want to enjoy the culture and people. I stop and talk to alot of people on the street. I let people talk to me. you have to put up somewhat of a protective shell around you, because you are constantly on display. People just stare at you, or yell out "blan!"--it gets taxing when it is people over and over all day every time you go onto the street--but, I try to not take it personally. I know not to but I still have to really make an effort not to. Sometimes I feel like I could stay longer, when I feel really uplifted because I am understanding so much more creole, or when there is a busy day in the delivery room. But, it is also just so hard to imagine staying longer, because it is such a harsh environment to live in. Lots of dust and pollution in the air. Not good access to food. I am not in shape anymore the way I used to be, which is depressing to me. I want to leave after the 6 months, get in shape again, get healthier, and also, spend time with my family in NC. It has been almost 7 years that I have been living apart from them and seeing them 1-2 times a year for 2 weeks at a time. So, we will see what happens. I am still open to the possibility of staying longer than the 6 months, but at this time, I just have to think of it as 6 months.
Interesting things recently...I did another hard manual removal (of the placenta) the other day--this lady had birthed at home about 5 hours prior--the placenta was way up there, on one side of the top of the uterus. Hard to get. But I got it. Also, I sutured someone 5 days after they gave birth--at this same hospital--she had a tear that separated her clit hood from inner labia, shich was just hanging down--it was easy to do, and easy to debride--just with gauze. Haven't had a lot of births, but some...I stayed late the other day and caught someone's baby who I had been supporting since she was in active labor--a 2/1 being induced on misoprostol (cytotec) for 44 weeks gestation--who know if those dates were really correct...maybe they were...anyway, her birth was fun...she benefitted from the support...the midwives here, they don't do any kind of labor support, at all. There was this woman the other afternoon--I stayed after class with 2 american MW's until the night shift arrived (with more american MW's and 3 students) because this woman was in agony, being induced with pitocin after being diagnosed with placental abruption and fetal demise...her first pregnancy, 18 years old...just writhing on the table...myself and the 2 midwives came into the delivery room where she was, and the haitian midwives were just doing paperwprk, not doing anything at all with this lady, except telling her not to cry...
I know that part of the lack of compassion & support for the laboring and birthing women is cultural, and I accept that. I just don't know how much of it is cultural and useless to try to show another way, and how much of it is just training and experience with that model. Same thing when there are dying babies. They just get left on this table to die by themselves. How much of this is worthy of attention, of discussion, of trying to show another way, and how much of if is appropriate, in a place where so many babies and people die all the time...a survival mechanism, to be able to keep functioning, in a place so devoid of resources and help, options...I don't know the answers to these questions, but I think there must be a balance of both realities in the answer...it is possible to improve certain aspects of the care we provide, even in a place that sees so much death...it is also possible for someone like me to accept and validate the way they already deal with this...and respect it.
Certain things I just cannot accept though...like, the other day I walked into the delivery room and there were a few graduate midwives there, one wqas catching a baby...3 were seated, one was asking the mom, who was pushing her baby out, questions like "are you married/where do you live"---and no one was listening to the baby's heartbeat....things like this, it just feels like total negligence to me, and things like this need to be improved. basic midwifery skills, like labor monitoring, neonatal resusitation, etc. VERY IMPORTANT skills.
so, it is a long process. the graduates need continuing education. the current students, I hope that something I do here will be of value to them in their practice of midwifery.
Marthonie, my co-teacher, I am enjoying her alot. She knows alot of stuff that I want to learn, and vice versa. Our skills and experience are quite different and we both need what the other has. We both see that. SO, it is good.
American volunteers come wach week, and it is mostly my job to orient them and put them in the schedule. We have them doing 3 nights/week with the students, which is realyl good. I am glad that they are being utilized, since it takes so much energy and money to come here. Sometimes I have really felt that the volunteers are not being utilized well and that it's a big waste of energy to come here for only 1 week. As things have becoem more and more organized, it feels more worth it.
I hope this posts after all of this writing! I miss all of you and love all of you! I will write again as soon as I can...maybe in 1-2 weeks.


  1. Such wisdom and insight in your observations.Hard to be in that place of trying to understand the culture and how people have had to cope with the harshness of their reality while at the same time trying to model other ways of being and caring.Patience and understanding,my biggest life lessons as a midwife.

  2. Interesting reading this post. Desiree and I were just yesterday talking about the differences in care and in coping in Haiti. I have to stick to my constant coping thought of "Haiti is complicated". I will be returning soon. Most likely at the end of summer or in the early fall. Be well Reina. Creating a more compassionate world can be exhausting.