Friday, January 31, 2014

Push, it's supposed to hurt

~I sat with a woman that had lost multiple children. Over and over again her pregnancies have ended in the delivery of a baby without a heartbeat. She is pregnant again, hopeful again, trusting and having faith in God and hope for the unknown future again. It hurts. She pushes.

~I talked with a friend.  She is choosing to be vulnerable, hoping something again that she has hoped in the past, trusting and choosing to have faith in God and hope for the unknown future again. It hurts. She pushes.

~I heard from a friend that she has experienced loss this week.  Her heart is grieving. She is trying to find solace. She is daily trying to trust in God and place her unknown future in His care. It hurts. She pushes.

~My husband met with a person he had never met this week.  He was nervous and uncertain about the meeting. He sat across from the first father of one of our precious children and he chose to be vulnerable rather than feel threatened. He set up a time for us to all meet again. Troy is trusting that God is in the risky things and has faith that He can walk us through it.  It hurts. He pushes. I am given a beautiful opportunity to look around at people I know that are inspiring me with their faith - with their willingness to push. They have experienced much loss, they have known deep pain.  They are people that are working through the pain and pushing through the hurt to love and hope again. That is what faith looks like.

*Photo by Esther Havens

Sunday, January 26, 2014

a story of life (and its many surprises)

There are many ways to tell a story.  Five people in the same room would all choose different details to share. The more experienced midwives and nurses would tell this story with far more sagesse (wisdom) than I, but they are exhausted from using their wisdom so stinkin much this last 36 hours. They elected me to write this story. 

Midwives love telling birth stories. It is kind of their thing. After DOING birth stories; their second favorite activity is TELLING birth stories. When I wasn't in the club I used to feel very left out. Half the words start with V or P and none of it sounds earthly to a novice.  The stories fishermen tell always evolve until the fish is bigger than the boat. If you had only been there before it got away, you would believe it, too. The stories midwives tell evolve until the maneuvers they used to get the baby out mirror that of a martial arts master. If you had only been there, you would know about the back flip I did with that mother in my arms. Every midwife at some point or another has thought of themselves as Bruce Lee.  The stories are told and their husbands roll their eyes and slowly back toward the nearest door. Their good friends either come to accept and enjoy these special stories, or they do what husbands do.

This is a fact of midwife life.  The story-telling and shoptalk cannot be stopped. To love a midwife is to love birth stories.

~          ~          ~

Last Thursday, we posted this photo of the classroom on Prenatal Day.  More than a few people commented on "yellow shirt girl" in the front row. A few wise bookies and numbers runners even placed bets on yellow shirt to pop next. She can't even sit up, they astutely noted.

Truth be told, we were all getting impatient. We had a 23 day streak with no births, and had not yet welcomed a baby in 2014. We hoped all you bet makers were onto something.

After class on Thursday all the midwives and nurses went about doing prenatal visits. On Thursdays we yell from room to room, "Hey, come feel this, this is unusual" - or - "You guys, tell me if I am right here, this feels like a breech baby."  The way we go about it is not all that polite, but our leader is Bostonian and we have all assimilated.  Her nickname is 'boombox'. She bellows. We bellow. 

Dr. Jen happens to be in Haiti for a couple weeks.  While prenatal ultrasound is not her specialty by any means, she is better than the rest of us at ultrasound. Our machine is older, but still very useful to us during key times in a woman's pregnancy. We had accepted five new ladies into the program Thursday and Jen was "dating" (not going out for coffee, rather finding out how pregnant they were) a few of the brand new ladies for us. 

When Beth McHoul got to the prenatal visit with yellow shirt, she said, "I need to see what this is all about", she asked Jen to do an ultrasound.

Stephanie (yellow shirt) was measuring very large and other midwives and nurses had been seeing her on and off for many weeks, but Beth felt something was off about her fundal height (the measurement of her large tummy). An ultrasound was done. We all gathered round to watch. Five sets of eyes looked on with Jen. As a group we saw a head down and we saw a vant that was plen (a tummy that was full). There was agreement in the room that Stephanie would deliver her baby soon, hopefully very soon. The midwives stripped her membranes and tried to get her to a place where she'd begin contractions soon.

Jen, Beth, Beth, Tara (a few others were also in the room at this time)

That evening, around 7:30 pm, Stephanie came back to the Maternity Center having regular, intense contractions.  That was what we had hoped for at her afternoon consultation. The team of Beths (count them - 2 Beths) got her settled in and decided this was the real deal.  They made calls to let others know that Stephanie had come back.  We labored with her until 2am before putting her to bed to sleep (it is not sleep so much as it is a darker room with the same contractions but a little bit more relaxing atmosphere) for a couple of hours. All night long Stephanie labored. She was vocal and miserable, as laboring women are sometimes known to be. In between contractions she snoozed. 

Morning light came, Stephanie had made some progress. She did some walking and stair climbing and took a shower in between her vocal exercises. She worked hard all morning and into the mid afternoon.  Her blood pressure was high and the appropriate steps were taken to manage that.  Stephanie said every hour or so, "I can't do this anymore. I feel that I have suffered too much."  

That is an understandable way to feel. These are things women in labor say. When those things are said, we say, "di tet w, mwen ka fe sa, mwen gen fos" - "tell yourself I can do this, I have strength."  These  are easily the most often uttered words during a labor at the Heartline Maternity Center. Di tet w - 'MWEN KA FE SA.'

Around 4:30 Friday afternoon, Stephanie had reached the magical number we all love to hear; ten centimeters.  

Our team at the Maternity Center varies from time to time, but as of last week the group that will be in place for the next six or seven months all found their way back to Haiti after short and long breaks. Dr. Jen was the bonus player in house.

At each birth we generally take turns playing different roles. We all have a turn assisting, we all get to be the primary, we rotate spots and try to know how to do everything, should we ever find ourselves alone to deliver a baby. Our entire team knows how to act as a team and knows how to play varying roles. 

Because I am so near finished with my clinical requirements, I was being supervised by Beth Johnson (my official preceptor and an experienced midwife) and was ready to catch Stephanie's baby. Stephanie leaned on the side of the bed with her knees on the floor. We watched and encouraged as she pushed. Jen popped in and out to see how the pushing was going.

I debated writing this story for the other midwives, using all the jargon and asking the wiser ones to edit me and make me sound smarter.  In the end I decided everyone can enjoy this story if I write it for everyone, (less gore, detail, and official vernacular) and leave the sounding smart part to the very smartest people.

Stephanie wanted to be where she was, at the side of the bed. She continued pushing and pushed for about 30 minutes. As each contraction subsided, she rested.  Everything was going beautifully, even with the IV lines she was forced to deal with due to her blood pressure and signs of preeclampsia, and even in spite of her fatigue from 24 hours of labor. Her baby's heart rate remained strong and steady. 

A few minutes after 5pm Stephanie pushed her baby's head out.  I felt a hand up near the baby's neck and called out that we had a nuchal hand but no cord around the neck.  As it turned out the baby had her right hand up next to her left ear.  (Take your right hand, put your arm on your chest and rest your right hand so it is touching your left earlobe. That's your visual.)  

Because of the position of that right arm and hand, we had about a 90 second delay between the delivery of the baby's head and completion of delivery of the body.  Beth J. was great at coaching and telling me how to proceed and allowing me to learn and do the delivery.  

Helping a woman deliver is technically a plyometrics workout. We did our workout and a shoulder and then an entire baby emerged. Once the baby was out we passed her through so she was on the front side of Stephanie and we had Stephanie turn around and lie down on her back on the edge of the bed to deliver her placenta. Her baby had a very short cord, making that a little bit interesting, but the flip happened (this is where Bruce Lee and some fancy-pants moves come in handy.)  

Wini and Beth M and Dr. Jen and Jenny, the photographer that caught this excitement on camera, were all in the room helping and playing their roles. (There are people with towels ready to dry baby, there are people with pitocin ready to stop a large hemorrhage. There are people handing supplies to the primary. There are people charting the time and vitals.) 

L to R - Wini, Beth M., Tara, Beth J.
A few minutes post delivery Stephanie began to bleed pretty heavily. Midwives with some experience under their belt don't flip out about blood gushing, it is part of the story sometimes. Beth J. calmly watched and directed and said, "I think we need to get this placenta out, don't you?"  Meanwhile Wini had pointed out that Stephanie's tummy was still pretty large. 

Beth J. asked me if I was comfortable going in for the placenta.  I basically said, "No, but I'll do it."  (Beth McHoul cheers out loud for you when you do and say things like this. Who doesn't love a good cheer from Madame John?)  I put on new sterile gloves and reached in to try to manually remove the placenta. Below you will see the face a person makes when a placenta feels like a fluid filled sac with a thing that is not placenta-like inside. I pulled my hand out and said it doesn't feel like a placenta. Later I added, it felt more like little bones. Wini tossed the doppler back onto Stephanie's uterus to listen for another heartbeat. It was sort of a moment of the entire room adding up the puzzle pieces from Thursday and Friday and a collective, "YIKES" was screaming from our souls.

At that point so much happened so fast that I know each one of us would recall different parts of the story.  Beth J put on new gloves to confirm the second baby herself. I think Wini went to get the ultrasound machine.  I think Jen cut and clamped and took the first baby out of the picture. I think Beth M. abandoned her charting job and get in on the action. I think Jen put the ultrasound probe onto Stephanie and said, "that looks like a butt first". I think I pooped my pants. I think Beth J, the most experienced in the room, turned into a ninja midwife warrior.  I think Beth McHoul hurriedly called Troy from two blocks away to ask him to high-tail it over to the ambulance and be ready with whatever his mid-husband duties required of him. I think Wini put the oxygen on Stephanie.

We talked to Stephanie.  "Stephanie, nou gen lot baby. W' gen marasa." (Stephanie, we have another baby. You have twins.)  I am still very amused at how Stephanie handled this announcement. If anything, she seemed kind of entertained by this news. She smirked and said, "I have two?" Later I asked her about twins in her family.  She said yes, her mother, no longer alive, had been a twin. 

Twin B's heart rate was sketchy. (Fancy medical terminology here, try to stick with me.) It had dropped to 60 beats per minute. A decision was made to break the amniotic sac and try to get the baby delivered as quickly as a breech position would allow. I held the baby from the outside with my hands as Beth Johnson broke the sac and touched the baby from the inside. Beth J. had Stephanie flip back to her hands and knees. 

She was near the edge of the bed so three of us sort of supported her and gave her help by pushing back on her as her feet pushed into our legs while we stood at the bedside. We figured another plyometric workout was in order. After-all, it had been six or seven minutes since we last worked out. 

Stephanie followed instructions like delivering surprise twins - one breech - was a thing she had been practicing doing for decades. She pushed hard when asked. 

Troy came into the delivery room and said the ambulance was ready and available. We started bossing him around. Beth McHoul asked him to move a few things in the room. He was given the camera. (Those photos are amazingly beautiful but far too personal for the Internet.) In the minutes that felt like hours, Stephanie delivered one foot, then the butt, then the second leg came, then the torso of her second daughter. Beth McHoul wrapped towels around the baby to keep it warm and hopefully prevent it from taking a breath before the head was delivered. The fan in the room was turned off. 

We were all sweating bullets of nervousness.  I dripped on the people around me. I wish we had audio on these moments, people just kept praying out loud as needed. Jesus was asked to protect, guide, and direct. (Multiple times by multiple people.) 

At 5:34pm the limp little baby's head slowly emerged, in fact we saw the chin pop out, and then a little pink tongue.  We could feel the heart beating as the baby hung mostly outside of her mother. "Baby is alive" was announced. Once the head was fully delivered, we cut and clamped quickly and Dr. Jen (trained in Emergency Pediatrics) went to work on baby B while Jenny held baby A and the rest of us (Wini, the two Beths and Tara) focused on Stephanie. The amount of blood and fluid was abundant. We had it up our arms and splattered all over our feet.

Troy told me late that night, "I really wanted to cry at what I was seeing but I looked around the room full of women doing their jobs without melting down and decided I best not do that."  

Instead of crying, Troy captured many beautiful images...

At that point, we were finally in a position to actually deliver a placenta. 

Back in the day, surprise twins were a thing. It happened. Technology has meant that it is not typically a surprise anymore, especially in the developed world. We are not in the developed world and we don't routinely do ultrasounds; obviously we hadn't ever done an early ultrasound on Stephanie. The babies were positioned in a way that made it really difficult to detect. We certainly did not see twins at the Thursday ultrasound. 

Delivering a breech baby is a lost art. There are many newer, younger docs and nurses that won't ever see it because C-Section has become the answer for a breech baby. The reality is, knowing what to do when a C/S is not an option is a really wonderful thing. We are 20 minutes from the hospital in the best conditions and you don't even want to know what the worst traffic conditions could mean. We need to have plan A and B.  Midwives learn about breech deliveries, they read birth guru, Ina May Gaskin, and they hear older midwives tell their stories and while they may never see it, they know what to do. Thank the good Lord, Beth Johnson took charge of the situation and those of us around her knew how to support her and we did what we have been trained to do. 

Without being uber dramatic and self-congratulatory, we do want to acknowledge that had Stephanie not been in our program and had she chosen to deliver at home, two and possibly three people wouldn't have lived. The first baby was not an uncomplicated delivery, the second was the opposite of uncomplicated and many measures were taken to stop bleeding. Giving birth at home without help is risky business in Haiti. Most women do it because they don't have access to better options.  

We quickly took turns getting showered and changed. Nirva (nurse on staff) arrived. She and Jenny helped feed the twins a breast milk snack while Stephanie underwent some pretty major repair work.  Wini started the repair, and Nirva and Dr. Jen jumped in to help. Beth and I began charting the insanity of the previous hour and we all collectively sighed our "thank you Jesus" prayers.  

Within a few minutes of starting the repair, Stephanie began to bleed very heavily again. That took us back into adrenaline mode. Orders were shouted to those in a position to help and many measures and maneuvers to stop the bleeding were done. 

After a lot of investigation and repair, it turned out that poor Stephanie also had a cervical laceration. At this point, the bleeding was under control but we always want every woman to be given the treatment we would want. Because the cervical tear was of questionable severity it was decided that we should try to see if we could get a second opinion. We called the hospital and they said to come. Troy fired up the ambulance and we transported Stephanie to another hospital with OB doctors on staff. The hospital staff and OB doctor looked at it and agreed it was torn but said they felt that repairing it could potentially worsen the bleeding (which had since slowed considerably) and cause more damage. We took Stephanie back to Heartline and got her settled in for the night. Her bleeding continued to improve overnight. 

Nirva, Jenny and important nutrition while Momma is off in the ambulance

Twin B (left) 4lbs 13 ounces - Twin A 5lbs 13 ounces

the face you make when you see a miracle

the face you make when you are in love

At this hour the baby-girl-twins and their Mama, Stephanie, are resting in the post-partum area. Help will be given for days, maybe weeks, as Stephanie is cared for, encouraged, and helped to breastfeed twins.  

They have been joined in post-partum by Lonecia, who delivered her baby girl into Nirva's hands - sans drama - Saturday morning.  That makes two births, three babies for 2014. 

We were grateful that many had said they were praying for Stephanie's birth. It takes a team to do this work, and we consider you a part of that team. We know that statistically-speaking things as complicated as this don't always have such a happy ending. During the labor portion of this many hour event, I had turned to Stephanie's aunt and asked where her children were born.  She said, "both at home", then she added "all normal".  At the end of the birth the aunt's eyes were doubled in size and she knew she'd seen some not so normal things. 

This experience may very well be a once in a life-time for all of us. We're aware we witnessed something unusual and miraculous. 

How blessed are we to get to be there when God shows up?

Mesi Jezi.

Photos courtesy of: Jenny Duhm, Troy Livesay, Beth McHoul


Troy Livesay's Post
Beth Johnson's Post 

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Phoebe & Lydia with some Glennon encouragement
Today we are excited to host a guest writer. (One you may know and love already.)

I am anxious to share a chapter from Glennon Doyle Melton's book with you.  I love Glennon for her heart and I admire her for being in writing exactly what she is in person.  (which is WONDERFUL) I handed Troy this particular chapter to read and the man got teary.  (I had the same response.) If this insight is enough to make guys teary, I figure you all need to read it.


 ~            ~           ~

There was a couple who’d been married for twelve years. The first two years were good, happy even, but then the kids came and work got hard and money got tight and the shine wore off each of them. She used to see strong and silent, but now she saw cold and distant. He used to see passionate and loving, but now he saw dramatic and meddling. They allowed themselves to become annoyed with each other, so they stopped being careful. They stopped taking care of each other because they decided they needed to look out for themselves. 

The distance between them grew longer and deeper until it felt impossible to touch even when they were in the same room. One day she said to her girlfriend, I just don’t love him anymore, and it felt terrifying and exciting to say. Then he said to his buddy, I don’t know if I ever loved her. And their friends asked, what about counseling? But it all seemed tangled up too tight to try to unwind.

She got home from work one evening, fed the kids, and put them to bed. She was tired to the bone. He was late again. Late again. And even though he was late and the house was a mess, she knew that he would walk in the door, pour himself a glass of wine, and sit down at the kitchen table and relax. He’d sit and relax. She couldn’t even remember what relaxing felt like. She was always either going like hell or sleeping. Somebody had to keep the family running. She stared at his bottle of wine on the counter. Then her eyes wandered over to their wedding photo on the wall. Clueless, she thought. We were clueless. But happy. Look at us. We were happy. We were hopeful. God, please help us, she said silently. Then she walked over to the counter and poured his glass of wine for him. She put it next to his book on the kitchen table— the place he loved to sit and relax— and she went upstairs to sleep. He tiptoed into the house fifteen minutes later. He knew he’d missed the kids’ bedtime again, he knew she’d be angry again, and he prepared himself for her steely silence. He hung his coat and walked into the kitchen. He saw his glass of wine, and his book, and his chair pulled out for him. He stood and stared for a moment, trying to understand. It felt as if she was speaking directly to him for the first time in a long, long while. 

He sat down and drank his wine. But instead of reading, he thought about her. He thought about how hard she worked, how early she woke to get the kids to school and herself to the office. He felt grateful. He finished his wine and then walked over to the coffee maker. He filled it up and set the automatic timer. 5: 30 a.m. It would be ready when she came downstairs. He placed her favorite mug on the counter. And then he walked upstairs and quietly slipped into bed next to her. 

The next morning, she woke up and stumbled downstairs, exhausted, to the kitchen. She stopped when she heard the coffee maker brewing and stared at it for a few moments, trying to understand. It felt as if he was speaking directly to her for the first time in a very, very long while. She felt grateful. 

That evening she allowed her arm to brush his as they prepared dinner together. And after the kids went to bed, she stayed up and they assumed their TV-viewing positions on the couch. He reached out for her hand. It was hard, but he did it. She felt her hand find his. And things started to unwind. A little teeny bit.  

•  •  •   

Look. I know it’s hard. It’s all so damn hard and confusing and complicated and things get wound up so tight you can’t even find the ends sometimes. All I’m saying is that somebody’s got to pour that first glass of wine. 

Because love is not something for which to search or wait or hope or dream. It’s simply something to do.

Melton, Glennon Doyle (2013-04-02). Ca

Check out Carry on Warrior and get your copy here. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

keep seeing

To my left, out the window, a man with crumpled legs lies on the sidewalk in the sun. I see him.

His hair is matted and tinted a peculiar orange. His clothes stained so badly their original color is unknowable.

Flies land freely on his face, his hands.

His life is this.

Sitting against a wall, watching men and women and children go by; he watches life happen from his prison. Trapped in a body that doesn't cooperate and a mind that won't allow him to communicate at all, he sits.

He is a reminder that many things lie outside of our solutions, outside of our abilities, outside of all our talk. I have no answers. I have no ability to fix it, there is no "justice" for him.

I see him.
I cannot fix it.

~          ~          ~

To my right, an older man pushing a wheelbarrow as I walk past him.  I've come to know him a little bit.

Well, that is a stretch.

I've come to know his name.

I see him. I greet him, "Bonjour Marcel".  "He keeps his eyes forward and replies, "Bonjour Madame".

Marcel is what many folks might describe as 'slow'.  He keeps his head down and quietly, daily, always faithfully, does his work.

His job is coming to pick up trash from middle class families. Marcel walks the trash about two miles away where he can dump it.  He does this by hand, on foot, just he and his trusty wheelbarrow.  Over and over again. Day after day after day.

People call him "Mesye fatra" - or - Mr. Trash. That is why I have decided it is important we know his real name.

His life is this.

Taking people's garbage away in his wheelbarrow. Walking miles in heat, mud, dust, and traffic. Coming home to eat a little, sleep a few hours, then wake up and do it again tomorrow.

Marcel can move. Marcel can work.  He may be suffering from an incomplete development of his mind, but Marcel is making a small wage. His grueling work hasn't meant a climb up a corporate ladder to success, but it has meant a meal most days and a place to lie his head at night.

Marcel is a reminder that life is not fair, and poverty steals much. I have no better ideas for Marcel. He's not headed to a promotion or an earthly reward for his diligence.

I see him. 
I cannot fix it.

~          ~           ~

In front of me at the Maternity Center is a pregnant woman.  She is nervous and shy.

The other midwives and nurses tell me she is really doing well. I should have seen her when she first arrived on the doorstep, they say.

Her story has been shared with me in fragmented pieces by my co-workers. Abuse. Poverty. Servitude. She is pregnant but has been so used that she cannot say which man might be the father. It matters not. She is not interested in knowing him anyway.

She seems mainly accepting that this little life within her womb is heading full-speed-ahead toward delivery day, toward life outside the walls. She has begun to trust a few people, although I know I'm not among them yet.

She will deliver later this spring, during a time of year that signifies birth, new life, and resurrection.

For her, there are a few things we can do.  We can show up weekly and at her delivery. We can support and encourage in those difficult early weeks and months.  We can believe in the metaphorical significance of her spring time birth. We can choose love. We can be love. 

We see her. 
We cannot fix everything, but we can fix some things.

~          ~          ~

In my room, lying on my bed, my son is crying.  

"What is wrong, son? Why are you so very sad?" 

He pours out his sorrow in words and in tears.  I listen.  I empathize. I listen some more.

He wants to be comforted and I have been given all the gifts necessary to provide him with the perfect words of assurance and comfort.  

I see my son. 
I cannot fix everything, but I can fix some things. 

~           ~          ~

This is life.  Seeing sorrow. Seeing want.  Doing what we can.  Seeing sorrow. Seeing need. Refusing to stop seeing it, even when our lack of ability to fix it frustrates us.  

Monday, January 20, 2014

Never lose infinite hope

"On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, "Is it safe?" Expediency asks the question, "Is it politic?" And Vanity comes along and asks the question, "Is it popular?" But Conscience asks the question "Is it right?" And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right."

(Photo taken at the Lorraine Motel, the site of Dr. King's assassination - and now the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN - November 2013)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

dragging even the sexagenarians along

Phones are not for talking. Everyone under 45 knows that cell phones are mainly used as tools to avoid speaking to anyone live. I use my phone most for texting, the camera, and facebook. You???

One of the things that is lame about living far from loved ones is missing out on day to day things, as well as the huge life events.  It is part and parcel of the living abroad experience and cannot be avoided. It takes effort to stay tight with our people far away. At times we have utterly failed.

For a long time we annoyed everyone by not being organized enough to do the web-cam Skype chat thing and we confess that life is unpredictable enough that keeping a promised Skype date caused stress so we avoided making dates at all.

I express myself better in writing so it never bothered me to be left to write emails, but I learned that most people I love don't really like writing emails and they preferred I call them. I would write long drawn out expressive emails to my Dad and he'd reply: "Yup. Sounds good. Love you."

We call whenever it works, but the best thing under the sun in this situation is an app called Voxer. (NOT Boxer, which my mom can confirm is also an app name. Ask her LOUDLY.)

Read about Voxer here. 

I started using it in May of last year. Troy mocked. Paige mocked. They are no longer mocking.  They both use it too.

Because of Voxer I get to talk with friends in CA, TX, FL, Canada, and Peru all at once.  (You can create group conversations or do one on one vox convos.) Today I chatted with my family while I ran on the treadmill.  It cost nothing.

Voxer allows me to hear their voices and allows for far better expression than texting. If I am busy when it comes in, I can listen and reply later. Even my 60-something year old Dad who refuses to engage the social media due to his superiority over our modern day world is promising that he will use Voxer.  Now I can hear my Dad say "Yup. Sounds good." That's gonna be way better. 

They haven't yet come out with a way to use it on your land line rotary dial phone, but I'm sure that will come next, Dad.

Our kids use it to talk to cousins and their big sisters and they don't need our help to do it.

This app is the best thing since sliced bread and I am sharing this so that my friends abroad can also have better communication with their loved ones "back home".

These kids of ours just cannot comprehend it, but I keep telling them that I didn't carry a cell phone to school and I didn't look up information on the Internet. I remember getting a pager and thinking that I was really very important to have that little black box beeping for me.  (... but then to drive to payphone to make a call...) Hope just said, "What is a land line?"  I asked her to take a guess and she said, "A person has their land and you have your land and you make a line to show you which land belongs to each person."


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

kid quotes

Lydia was asked by my friend Amanda, "What day do you go back to school?" Lydia said, "These are the days of our lives, that's what the TV says."  

Wha????  (They are back in school now. They are giddy and love their teacher(s) and going to school.) 

Troy was praising the kids for being so well behaved in the truck on the way home from one of our outings.  He said, "You kids have some skills!"  Lydie said, "Well, that's cuz you skilled us, Daddy!"

Phoebe said to Troy, "I wish I was white."  Troy said, "Why Phoebe, why do you wish that?"  Phoebe said, "I don't want to get hair in my armpits."   We have since proven to her that white women have hair growing from their armpits too.  Crisis averted.

After Christmas we were shopping with Noah for some clothing. He had a gift card at TJ Maxx.  I sent him ahead of me to go get a fitting room.  When I arrived to the fitting room he was all stressed out.  I said, "What's the problem?"  He had been given the number 5 - but couldn't find dressing room 5.  Third-Culture-Kid moment.  I explained to him that he had 5 items to try on. His Ah-Ha moment was marvelous.

In the last days in Tejas we had a few Target runs to make.  While I took hours to decide what kitchen hand towels I liked, Lydia scanned prices.  We won't miss the shopping all that much, but we will miss the enthralling and long-lasting scanning game. 

~          ~            ~

I love words. It is evident when you visit my house. There are words on the walls and in most rooms. It is probably surely over the top.  That said, my friend taught me how to put words I like onto photos.  Prepare to be inundated. It is pretty much my new hobby. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

remembering 2010 ~ nou p'ap janm bliye

From all that is broken, let there be beauty.
From what is torn, jagged, ripped, frayed,
let there be not just mendings - but meetings unimagined.
May the God in whom nothing is wasted
Gather up every scrap, every shred and shard,
And make of them new paths, doorways, worlds.

-Jan Richardson

Friday, January 10, 2014

a call to prayer

We are asking you to pray for the ladies in Heartline's Prenatal Program.

Prayer is no small thing. For each of these women we know that intersession is powerful and that God must work on their behalf. Some of the soon-to-be moms have suffered from abuse and/or rape. They have trauma to process in addition to the challenges of the pregnancy. The odds are against pregnant women in Haiti. The vast majority of the pregnancies are considered "high risk".  As you likely know, the maternal death rate is very high in Haiti as is the infant mortality rate. Every healthy birth at our maternity center is a miracle given the obstacles the women must overcome. 

Thank you for lifting up the women and their babies to the only One who knows their every need. Thank you for praying for all of the Heartline staff (pictured at end of this post) as we discern how to best come along side and encourage the women in our programs. We ask you to pray for unusual wisdom in every woman's care and delivery.

These will be updated as often as time allows when new women join the program. 


(Carrying Twins!)

(More photos being added all the time)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

We are very blessed to have a committed full-time staff and occasionally (as needed) shorter-term volunteers that come in to help throughout the year. If you would like to pray for the staff by name - these are the faces/names of our long-term staff.

Left to Right-

Tara Livesay, CPM, M.C Asst.Director
Nirva Jonas, RN
Beth McHoul, CPM, M.C. Director
Winifred Louisville, RN
Beth Johnson, CPM - Followher blog here
Mica Bruny, CNA/Skilled Birth Attendant
NEW on staff - Islande Valcourt, RN (left)