She was newly pregnant and had just joined the prenatal program, "My eardrum hurts a lot," she said.
"How long has it hurt? Maybe it is infected?"
"Ever since my Mom died", she replied.
Later that day she shared the entire story of how she lost her mother after the earthquake, in 2010. Her mother had survived the earthquake; they'd spoken numerous times. When things settled down, a few weeks later, she went to visit her mother in an area near downtown and found her in her home, brutally murdered.
Throughout her time in the Prenatal program she shared bits and pieces of her story and we began to build a relationship with her. We were touched by her tenderness and inspired by her strength. She grew to be close friends with another woman in the prenatal program. They became and inseparable pregnant duo, frequently stopping in to visit us on non-program days too.
When it came time for her to deliver, she was fully invested in what she had learned during her pregnancy. She knew that a first baby would not likely come quickly. She trusted her body and the process. She trusted our team to guide and advise and put her safety and health first.
Throughout her laboring she continued to trust her body. She shared that her mother had not been able to deliver babies "the normal way" but needed a c-section with each baby. She said she hoped she could stay to deliver with us. We all listened to one another and cautiously and patiently moved forward.
She slowly labored for a couple of days. The lack of progress indicated a problem. Our team wanted to see her little girl enter the world and to celebrate with her in the loving, feel good environment of the Heartline birth-room. It was not to be. Like her mother many years before her, her body would not cooperate and she needed a C-Section too. We dropped her off at the emergency hospital, specializing in obstetrics. We sent her off with a gift bag and a prayer, asking her to call us with news and to let us know when she wanted to be picked up from the hospital.
|Her grandmother and mother-in-law came to support|
We loaded into the ambulance. "Congratulations! I am glad you are okay. Were the people nice to you", I asked. "Oh, you know, Miss Tara, it is Haiti. Not really." I sighed.
"I'm sorry you didn't get to stay at Heartline to deliver", I said.
"But I am coming back there now, aren't I?" she exclaimed.
We happily headed back to the postpartum wing for a few days of rest, relaxation, and tender -loving - care. This sweet and brave first-time mom lost her own mother to violence, but found a new connection to her in the birth of her first-born daughter.
Two families, two groups of women that love and want the best for her, surrounded her. The Heartline family, her maternal grandmother and her mother-in-law were all invested in standing with her to welcome her child into the world. She seems to recognize that she is loved. That is a gift we all need and deserve. Through our program community and trust are built. Because of that community and trust, the gifts of grace and healing are taking place. We are grateful.