Friday, March 27, 2015

Metaphors for March

topography təˈpɒɡrəfi/ noun 1. the arrangement of the natural and artificial physical features of an area. "the topography of the island"

If life is like topography, than Haiti is the perfect ground for experiencing *all* that life has to offer.

This land we love and sometimes always struggle to understand has beautiful mountainous regions, a (central) plateau, and a large (Artibonite) valley.  

Those word pictures and the emotions they evoke can easily be used to describe a week of life in Haiti.  

One month and sometimes even as little as a few days can deliver a mountain top high, a valley of despair and a bit of a frustration plateau. 

In just a couple of weeks time, some topography at the Maternity Center: 

  • Three seven pound babies are born safely in a clean, loving, calm environment
  • A soon-to-be first time mother loses her confidence in her care-providers and opts to go in search of an unwarranted Cesarean section - we do not hear from her again after many months of working together weekly
  • Another first time mother suffering from preeclampsia has her labor induced and works hard and believes in herself and her ability and the care-givers and delivers a healthy baby - a high risk birth ends successfully in a vaginal delivery - good news for a first time mother
  • A woman cries in despair over the news of her pregnancy
  • A woman cries with joy and wonder as she watches her baby move on the ultrasound screen - she has lost two other babies, this baby has made it further than any other
  • A woman explains the thick scars all over her arm and chest as something that happened in a ceremony when she was a child, the explanation is given as if she were saying, "I fell and skinned my knee"
  • A woman joyfully explains her first born child is 17 and for 17 years she has used birth control, now that she happily finds herself pregnant she believes she is having twin girls - we tell her it is too early to know for certain and she says emphatically, "Pray for me. I will have twin girls" One of us prays and she laughingly demands that the other pray too - she makes us all hope for answered prayer
  • A first time mother and her newborn are dropped off to their corrugated tin shack that sits along a river filled with trash - no one welcomes them home or greets them upon their return
  • Another mother is dropped off to a clean block home - greeted by her proud husband - she shows us the beautiful crib her mother bought the baby
  • A woman with a eight week old calls to say she went "andeyo" (to the countryside) and her baby is not well, the doctors say they cannot do anything for her - to try another hospital
  • We get news that Mica, a graduate of our program turned staff member, and the voice behind the songs that are sung on program days, was accepted into an Midwifery/Birth Attendant program in Haiti - a victory of giant proportions
  • A woman whose baby has died during delivery at the local hospital is engorged and in excruciating pain, staff members, KJ and Mica, hand express milk into a towel to relieve a frustratingly insufficient portion of her suffering
  • A nurse runs up to hug and greet us at the hospital, happy to see the breastfeeding-singers arriving yet again
  • Mothers with living babies lie close enough to reach out and touch mothers with dead babies in a post-operative room at the same hospital
  • A woman joyfully bounces out of the consultation room, happy to have a spot to receive prenatal and postnatal care even though she will travel 30 miles on public transportation that will take several hours to transport her to our doorstep each Thursday
  • Several woman learn that we do not have space to allow them into the program
  • A mom brings her son back on his first birthday to see us and take photos together to celebrate

While we always traverse unpredictable terrain in Haiti, we rest in the knowledge that we never walk alone. 

Your friendship, your prayers, and your stubborn care for this little island are profoundly evident to us in the day-to-day.  
Thank-you for walking with us.  
Let's keep going.