One of the small things Heartline's Maternity Program does once a woman is finished delivering her baby and has had sufficient time to rest and recover in the post-partum area is to help her find her way home.
Originally I would have thought this to be an insignificant part of the prenatal, labor and delivery and post-partum package. I have learned otherwise. No one turns down the ride. At times women will even have their husband or sister take a tap-tap (public transportation) to the Maternity Center in order to get into the ambulance with them and ride back home.
For whatever reason - the ride home is something the ladies enjoy. Bringing people home happens to be my very favorite assignment. I'm grateful to frequently be assigned this job.
We are lucky to get to know the women when we meet with them each Thursday. Slowly, throughout the months of weekly interaction, we build trust and relationship. I don't overestimate the depth of these relationships. As much as I want to know each woman well, I recognize that socioeconomic status and life experiences are such that I am only allowed and able to understand exactly as much as I am allowed and able to understand. All of that to say, when invited to visit a woman's home, I am cognizant that I am being given a giant gift. I cherish the chance to be on turf that is not my own, to listen, to see, to seek to understand.
Today Manise and her newborn son Richard went home. I walked in to get her 20 minutes later than promised, she stood dressed and ready to go. She was excited to get home to her family as her post-partum stay extended about four days longer than she had hoped due to some blood pressure issues.
We drove further and further from where we had started; she asked me if I could ever find my way back to the Maternity Center. At the time she asked I was still pretty confident I could. I told her "pa gen pwoblem". As we kept winding and turning and advancing deep into an unending chasm of narrow non-descript roads, I began taking notes. Without notes I feared cement wall after cement wall would swallow me into permanent disorientation. Manise laughed when she saw I had lost my confidence.
After a brief time chatting with Manise and her husband I climbed back into the ambulance to follow these directions for the first half of my return drive: left at Jesus, right at green gate, left at pre-school, right at God's beauty supply store, left at the solar light ...
Manise found her way home today; so did I.