Sunday, May 05, 2013

International Day of the Midwife

most recent birth @ Heartline Maternity Center

The World Needs Midwives Now More than Ever! 

Over 287,000 women and over 3 million infants around the world die each year as a result of preventable pregnancy and childbirth complications. Most of these deaths would be prevented if there were enough qualified and adequately resourced midwives.

When mothers and newborns die, approximately US$15.5 billion in potential productivity is lost each year. 

Universal access to a well-educated, regulated midwifery 
workforce in a health system with adequate equipment and supplies could prevent up to 60% of maternal deaths.

To ensure universal coverage for maternity care an estimated 350,000 extra midwives are needed. Developed and developing countries both need better quality midwifery care.

~         ~         ~

Looking Back:
In the spring of 2007, after a couple of years as friends, Beth McHoul invited me to come to a class being taught in Port au Prince by a visiting midwife. Beth was listening to her heart and following God's prompting on her life to pursue a dream of a prenatal program for women in the densely populated and under served area of Port au Prince. I came to that class as an escape from the village life, a change of pace, and to see my friend. I wasn't necessarily interested in midwifery, but I was curious enough to come to the class. 

In mid 2008 we moved to Port-au-Prince and were given a front row seat to watch Beth's dream unfold. That year Heartline Ministries offered weekly education and basic prenatal care, as well as support and follow up education for the first twelve months of the the baby's life. 

By late September of 2009, Heartline's Prenatal program began to offer a birth-center style delivery option for lower-risk births. We have the records from then and get a kick out of our haphazard notes from the very first birth. Suffice it to say, many, many hands and minds have helped to create the necessary paperwork and protocols and we now have a program that is both methodical and organized. 

We would love to list each person that played a part in the evolution of the program but we fear we would miss someone. We are grateful to each and every one of you.

Currently the program serves approximately 45 pregnant women at a time, as one mother delivers a newly pregnant woman enters the program. The last few years since the earthquake have brought so much sorrow and joy as we have been honored and privileged to walk through tragedy and triumph with hundreds of Haitian women.  

Our dreams for the future include a new maternity center, expansion in order to serve a larger number of women at once, and having an operating suite with the option to keep the ladies that need Cesarean Sections

first official birth, September 2009
first (only) *miraculous* emergency C/S  - after earthquake, January 2010 -
this is one of the most amazing moments!
first (planned for) high-risk birth, February 2011
first ambulance birth, January 2013

We had no idea in 2007 that the first small gathering Beth planned would eventually lead to a full and well-rounded program offering prenatal care, labor and delivery services, and postpartum care. Each step of growth has taken place thanks to prayer and careful thought and planning, as well as some trial and error.

God has been faithful to slowly grow the program while providing amazing and brilliant women & men (midwives, nurse midwives, doctors, educators) to teach, guide, encourage, and steer as needed. 

On this International Day of the Midwife we are so grateful to be where we are! We especially want to thank YOU ...  Not a week goes by without a tangible moment of recognition for your part in this work. You help us more than you can possibly understand as you pray, give, and therefore honor , the incredible and tenacious women of Haiti.