Saturday, April 13, 2013

tough advocate

Yesterday I was walking through the kitchen of the Maternity Center when I saw the little old toothless lady on the right in the photo above.  If I were in this photo, you'd know she is approximately four feet nine inches tall on a good day. I instantly knew that I had seen and spoken with her before. "I know your face",  I said in Kreyol. She laughed and said "wi" and started speaking a million words a minute. I did not catch a lot of it, but I knew she was telling me that she'd brought a pregnant person and she wanted them in the program.

On Fridays newly pregnant women are able to come get their name on the waiting list. We don't always have the space in the month they are due to take them into the program.  It is difficult to disappoint them. It isn't that we think we can help everyone or ever even make a significant dent in the overwhelming need for Maternal Health. It stinks to say no to someone with real needs and very few options.

When Granny sat down with the woman she'd brought, I learned that she was the sister of Jesula (above on left). Jesula delivered last year.  Gran is the mom of Jesula and the woman she brought on Friday was Jesula's sister.

We asked a few questions and checked her blood pressure to try to determine if we are able to offer care.  High blood pressure is tricky to manage and we always try to refer on to higher level of care (the problem with that lies in very little access or availablity of higher level care).  I told the two women that the blood pressure was pretty concerning and that I could not decide anything without talking to Beth and other more experienced midwives.  I told them I'd call on Tuesday with an answer.

Upon hearing that Gran kicked into high-level-advocacy and started talking with a bit of force. She told me that when we call on Tuesday we will be calling to tell her daughter that we will take her.  When I said, "No, not promising that", she said,  "You will take her. You must take her. Today or Tuesday it doesn't matter but Thursday she will start."  She continued talking very fast just to keep me from objecting. :) She didn't back down ever. In Haiti they call that "tet di" (hard head or stubborn.)

I loved so much to see a mom pushing so hard for her 30-something daughter.  This is the kind of advocate everyone needs.