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, June 20, 2011

6-20 june, 2011

6-11-11

Things here are going really well. This is the easiest time so far this year. The students are doing great; we’re over halfway through the class year. The house is way more relaxed--for the 1st 5 months of this class year, starting in January, we had volunteers every single week, with no break. For 5 months. Now, we have had a couple of breaks, and, for over the past month, we have had all really great, really easy (low maintenance) and fun volunteers. And, Kirsty and Mackenzy have now been here for 2 weeks, and this has added a wonderful element to the household. It feels like more of a community now. We’re living with people who we share a lot of things in common with, even just with our lifestyles and overall beliefs…we get along really really well. It is so good. I like Kirsty so much. Also, with them here, and knowing their vision for their life here, it makes living in Haiti more appealing. They have land in the south…they have lots of gardens…

What a blessing. Blada and I are great, just more and more connected and in love with each passage of time. He is so wonderful, I just can’t wait for those of you who can, to meet him when we come to the US. This weekend is our one year anniversary. A year ago, there was a day that marked a change in the course of our friendship. We had already been getting together for awhile, on and off for 1-2 months, to dance. To practice. Well this one day, we had finished practicing, and then their was a huge downpour of rain. A thunderstorm, with lightning, wind…and 2 full arc rainbows in the sky. A beautiful storm, a sign from nature. This day, we danced in the rain. And then sat down and talked for awhile, in the rain. This day, the energy began to shift. This was the beginning of us dating.

Anyway I could go on about that but I’ll leave it there.

Nothing else too spectacular to report…well, one sad event, which repeats itself every 1-2 months without fail: a woman died at the hospital. She was a small woman, who was very pale and weak from anemia. She came in with a hemoglobin of 5, not as low as some people who make it here--got a transfusion after days of waiting for blood, and then was at the hospital still for about 2 weeks. I spent some time with her, talking to her about her ailment (to her it was a sickness that someone had sent upon her with black magic, someone who was jealous of her…)…talking to her about nutrition and all the thing sshe could eat at home for iron…
Well, this came as a surprise to me because I had just seen her 2 days before, but yesterday I heard that she had died. Apparently she started having diarrhea and vomiting. I don’t know if it was cholera--but it definetly could have been, and I think she should have been rushed over to the cholera tents (in front of the hospital) for treatment. Anyway, I guess she got really dehydrated and died. I don’t know more info about it except for that. She had one child.

6-20-11
Well, this week was crazier than last week. Another woman died at the hospital--this time from a placental abruption. I wasn’t there--apparently she had the classic signs--her belly was hard and full of blood (but no external bleeding). Anyway, they didn’t do a c/s--they don’t always do them for abruptions, if the mom isn’t bleeding a lot and she’s stable--but, in this case, she had already lost so much blood when she showed up, it may have been too late anyway even with a c/s (they don’t have blood available in the hospital)…so, she birthed (a dead baby), and then died 1 hour later.
The next day, there 2 eclamptic women--one of them was 16 years old and came in seizing. She was in labor, 6cms. We got her on mag sulfate…I had to leave before she had her baby, but she was pushing when I left. Most of the time when I was there, she was unconscious, after the seizure. She started coming around a little, getting a little responsive…but really out of it, thrashing her body around, really agitated…when she was unconscious, you could still tell when she had a contraction…she would moan and kind of thrash around..it was still hurting her..
Well, she had her baby after I left (the FHT’s were great the whole time I was there, and we were listening often). I guess the baby wasn’t OK when he was born, and needed to be recessed, and then they gave him to the “ped unit”…(it’s not a real ped unit…)…anyway, he died the next day..there were 2 or 3 babies who died this week…1-2 days after they were born…the hospital just doesn’t have any means of giving care to babies who need anything more than IV antibiotics…they don’t even have oxygen to give them…anyway…this mom, I’m not sure how well she’s doing…I haven’t heard any really bad news, but, I heard that the next day, after her birth, she was unconscious again…I guess she seized again….I don’t know if they were monitoring her appropriately and keeping her or mag sulfate to prevent more seizures…
Well, the same day that she birthed, there was another woman, who had a previa. (the placenta is situated over the cervix…so when the cervix starts to open, the placenta separates and the mom bleeds a lot and both mom and bb can die). This woman, at one moment, I thought she was dying in my hands. She was waiting to be wheeled into the OR for a c/s, and I was doing vitals on her. She was bleeding A LOT, and a few times said that she was going to die right there. Well, she lost consciousness at one point, and I opened her eye and looked into it and it looked like it was flat, fixed. I took her B/P, and it sounded like either 40-20 or nothing at all…it was faint. Well, she was still alive and when I took her B/P again, it was actually 80-40. She got her c/s and a blood transfusion and was OK. I don’t know if her baby made it though.
The next day after the 16 year-old eclamptic woman and the placenta previa woman, there was another woman who came in with an abruption, but birthed and was ok, and another woman who was eclamptic, and, to top it off, there was another woman, who had a bowel obstruction and was vomiting shit. I’m not kidding. Thank god, she was transported to Cange and hopefully had her operation STAT and hopefully was ok.
So, this week was crazy. The students see so much here. They are like 6 months into the program and they’re working on super super high risk sick women. Being a midwife in Haiti means that you will work with a high-risk population, no matter what. You will see death, and severe pathology that midwives (and doctors) in the states would never see. People here become midwives because they want to save peoples’ lives. If you ask anyone here why they wanted to be a MW, that is what they say.

Our new housemates, Kirsty and Mackenzy, we are really enjoying them. We flow super easily, enjoy hanging out together, etc. it’s great. We always had a sort of community here at the house, but now, it’s on a totally different level. They’ve started gardens, compost…he’s an agronomist. He’ll be bringing his little daughter here soon too, which will be nice for the house…we already have Jamlex, our cook’s baby, who comes here with here all the time and is SOO much fun (he’s 14 months old…), so this will make it even more like…a family. Really cool.

What else…I’m still trying to figure out in my mind some way to not be affected by the way people can often be in the street…comments all the time about the white girl…I’ve written about this before…anyway, I haven’t found a way to filter it out yet…but it must be possible, because in order to survive at the hospital, I have had to convert myself to not being devastated every time I see birth rape…somehow, as a survival mechanism, I did that, without even realizing it…so it must be possible to filter this out as well…the thing is that with this, the way people make me feel is that I will never fit in, I will always be strange, different…anyway, still working on that…in the meantime it still hurts my feelings all the time, and Blada has spent countless nights holding me in his arms while I cried about it…there has to be a better way…

We visited Blada’s family this weekend in Okap…(Cap Haitian)…it was so nice to be with them…but traveling there and back is exhausting…plus we went on eday and returned the next…it’s a 4-5 hour ride jam-packed in an old pickup truck, that they have to push start…seriously, the whole road is just rocks…you’re bottoming out the whole time, bouncing so hard that you feel like your organs are just slamming against each other constantly…seriously, this is the reality of traveling in Haiti. Since there’s no actual real government that provides any kind of services to its citizens, such as mail service, it’s the chauffeurs who deliver packages and letters for people along the way…part of the way, it was raining, and the road was just all mud…going up and down hills…this guy, the driver, he is so experienced at driving those hills, he was fishtailing on purpose just to get the heavily-loaded truck up and down those hills…you have to cross a few rivers too…(drive through the river)…one time the water was deep enough that it came into the cab of the truck…
All of this is just another day for people here, who, that has always been the way you travel…you have no other option. I don’t mind it, it is interesting, but also very tiring.

The students are doing great. I am really proud of them. They have the right attitude. They really care about the women they serve. It shines through in the ways they talk to the women, and the energy that keeps them on their feet all day instead of sitting down and yelling at patients from across the room…

Well I guess that’s all for now…
Love all fo you…thank you to all fo you for reading my blog and staying current on my life…

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