Thursday, August 7, 2014

From the Rearview Mirror






The seemingly (yet not so) random events of the last nine years ...


  • 2005 - Met Beth McHoul, a missionary to Haiti, in an on-line Marathon/distance running training group - thought she was bad-ass and insanely kind all at once - hoped to meet her someday 
  • 2005 - Met Beth in Haiti on a trip to visit with the mission we were invited to work with - found her wonderful in person too - also met her peculiar husband
  • 2006 - Moved to rural Haiti for 12-18 month commitment and started seeing the McHouls on occasion in Port au Prince, Beth starts talking about the need for change in Haiti and tells me that kids in her orphanage sometimes come because their (poor) moms didn't have any support or encouragement to choose to parent 
  • Met Jen Halverson, a young smart doctor person 
  • 2006 - Held a little girls torn open head together one day while looking for someone to sew her up - realized that I was not freaked out by blood or gore as previously assumed my entire life - a revelation of sorts
  • 2007 - added two little girls to our family while Beth McHoul started her midwifery training
  • 2008 - Stuff fell apart with the place we worked - moved to Port au Prince to work part-time with Heartline Ministries - Beth started a weekly Prenatal Care Program - for sure thought she was weird always talking about birth-stuff but was happy to be her administrative person and helper two days a week while I still had a lot of little ones at home
  • late 2009 - The Prenatal program becomes a labor and delivery program too - Jonna Howard and other midwife people come along side Beth as she trains and learns and I think they are all very odd and I agree to become their charting person during births - all births end with Beth admiring the placentas and I think, "never will I get these people"
  • 2010 - Massive earthquake - did crazy blood and gore things without electricity or sleep along side capable and trained doctors like Jen Halverson and Chris Sizemore and Joe Boyle - everything was weird for a year - in that year I moved into a place of considering becoming a weirdwife and started thinking "how can I become a person that talks about placentas" and other odd behaviors - said very little about it to anyone but Beth McHoul
  • 2011 - Returned to Haiti after time in USA due to earthquake and met Sarah Obermeyer, a crazy smart and encouraging midwife - worked with Cookie Ireland, a sassy and smart-ass midwife that made work fun
  • 2012 - Started doing academic stuff (slooowly and sometimes poorly) learned to say vagina out loud - worked with Melissa Curtice an experienced Haiti nurse midwife and many others that passed though the Maternity Center
  • 2013 - Beth McHoul finishes her training, becomes a CPM in February - she is in her 50s doing scary stuff and learning big medical words - many, including myself, are impressed
  • 2013 - Kept learning, kept studying, kept thinking "I don't know if I can do this studying stuff because, hate studying and hate big medical words and also, not that disciplined"  - love chatting with friends on facebook - rowdy house wrestling with the kids and watching Call the Midwife more than studying and way more than big words 
  • 2013 - Went to USA to finish some requirements for the North American Registry of Midwives and move Paige, attended hospital and home births, messed up my paperwork that proved my clinical experience - messed up bad enough to need more experience - didn't have a preceptor in Haiti anymore - had an epic meltdown
  • 2013 - Beth Johnson, wicked smart midwife, agrees to stay in Haiti beyond her original 3 month commitment and help me finish and sign off on my work for 2014
  • 2014 - Studied even more - Taught by a very great teacher (17 years my junior), encouraged by a dear friend (17 years my senior that proved it can be done), helped by two Haitian RNs that allowed me all sorts of experience by stepping aside at times, instructed to keep going by Dr. Jen, prayed for by lots of kind friends, got wonderful experience at our first twin birth and our first long shoulder dystocia and was moved to keep going by beautiful Haitian mamas
  • This Tuesday - Sat for and passed that flipping test that was the single greatest fear of the last 3.5 years - Certified Professional Midwife  (have learned that many think babies have to be born only to doctors and only in hospitals, would like to say more about what midwives do and don't do but not today) The testing center had strobe lights flashing from fire alarms on the walls. There was another meltdown, a demand to be moved to a new testing center, and some drama, but  that is also a story for another day
  • Today - don't totally believe it but it seems like it is done and real ???? 



In 2005, had anyone told me that one day there would be a cool little maternity clinic in Port au Prince and at that clinic I would work with some of the coolest people in the world and that eventually I would even be trained and qualified to deliver babies and walk along side the coolest Haitian ladies during their pregnancies and the first months of their baby's life, I would have told them to sit the heck down and quiet their crazy mouth.

I never knew what was happening, I doubted God's care for me, I felt like I'd fail, I was almost constantly fighting fear of said failure, and considered quitting at least once weekly. I'm dumb and shallow.

I don't share any of that to tell you how pathetic I can be. 

I share that to tell you that God is working in your fear, your uncertainty, your bewilderment, and doubt.  The 2014 you cannot know what or where the 2018 you will be, and it is better that way because it is better that way.

We always want a light, of course we want to see where we are headed, but it is kind of a wonderful mystery unraveling in the middle of lots of joy and sorrow and celebration and suffering. Who doesn't love a good mystery?  (Rhetorical) 

As the quote goes, 'Go out in to the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God, and that shall be to you better than a light and safer than a known way.'

Thank-you to every CPM, CNM, PA, RN, and MD (Obermeyer, I cannot even begin to know all your letters) that invested time and attention when visiting Haiti or when I came to the USA last year. Your passion and knowledge and willingness to teach were and are a gift to me.

The four eleven most pressing people to thank: Troy Livesay, and all your flippin flexible and awesome kids, Beth McHoul, Beth Johnson, Jen Halverson.  I bawl just thinking of the love shown and sacrifices made in order for this to happen.

Thank-you to each and every one of you that said, "do it, you can do it" when I first started sharing (nervously) about the idea. Thank you for praying, helping us be in Haiti in the first place, and for being generally awesome and kind.


(Words/Photo -Bob Goff, Love Does)


(Forgot to link to August post at A Life Overseas, find it here if interested.)