|New Papa ~ January 2010|
January 2010, during the days following the catastrophic earthquake, a vast number of unbelievable and supernatural events were taking place on this tiny little piece of land. I don't think it will ever ever be known, understood, or quantifiable. I believe this to be true because even the few hundred stories that I am aware of are just a teentsy tiny representation of what was happening all over the island.
Most everyone that lived here at the time was very busy getting on with the business of living and helping the injured live. There was not sufficient time to think about the miraculous or reflect on the incredible things happening. Occasionally we stopped to record things, but the recordings lacked detail. Time did not allow for a full recording of the tragic and beautiful things happening.
Yes, the devastation was life-altering, mind-numbing, and beyond compare. Equally significant was the will to rise from the ashes.
"Out of these ashes beauty will rise. We will dance among the ruins. We will see it with our own eyes."The profound lyrics to a song that played out before us.
One of the things I wished we could have documented and shared better than we did was the cooperation that happened between health care providers. In the weeks following the quake the needs for surgery and post-op recovery were crucial. We ended up trading surgical patients for post-op patients in order to get everyone what they most needed.
One evening, we transported patients to a large temporary tent hospital set up near the Port au Prince airport. We had been there enough times that we were beginning to know the faces of their triage staff - and they knew us. On that particular night the nurses Troy spoke with told him that it would really help them if the healthy woman, not injured in the earthquake, but in active labor, could come with us to deliver. Troy has always had a peculiar love for round bellies so he happily left his patient that needed a bone reduction in order to close an amputation and took a frightened couple expecting their first baby back to Heartline.
Can you imagine being in labor days after the entire world turns upside down? Can you imagine being asked to leave with a stranger to go deliver your baby at an unknown location? Friends and family are missing and assumed dead, and all of a sudden you will be responsible for another little person.
The trusting couple rode back with Troy to the Maternity Center - turned trauma center.
That night a baby girl was born. Beth McHoul and I were treated to a beautiful, normal birth as student midwives and we remarked that night what a gift it was to step away from earthquake injuries and be a part of something new ...
New life has a way of reminding us to keep hoping.
We had no long-term relationship with that little couple, but they touched our lives in that exchange and brought us reminders of mercy and grace in the form of a baby girl. They encouraged us with their love for one another and their new little one, born into an uncertain Haiti.
We have not forgotten them or that bizarre new reality we lived in when we showed up at a hospital to drop a patient off and ended up gaining a laboring Momma in a upside-down-world-trading-game.
Over the years I have thought several times about them and that precious birth in the middle of utter chaos.
I have wondered if they were still together and if their baby lived.
* * * Last Thursday was a nutty day.
It started with a birth at 7am. We then had a busy Prenatal day with class and dozens of consultations. A few little groups stopped in and toured the Maternity Center. We were waiting on news from a good friend of the ministry that we knew was having a C-Section in MN. We were juggling several things, as is the case most Thursdays. At the end of a Thursday, there is a need to sit and stare at a wall. We brought Lovely, the mom who miscarried on Tuesday back to her house at the end of the day. When I put the ambulance back in its place in the McHoul's driveway I decided to walk straight home instead of stopping in at the Maternity Center again. It had gotten late in the day and I was ready to be home in front of a fan.
I was about three minutes down the road toward my house when a car pulled up next to me. Truthfully, I get a little nervous and suspicious when any car slows down when I am on foot. I quickly saw it was a woman talking to me and that I was not dealing with a car full of only men. That helped me let down my guard.
"Hi. Madame John. Don't you remember me?" she asked in Creole.
I replied telling her that I am not Madame John but that I know her because she is my friend that I work with.
"Oh, I remember you too. You and Madame John. Do you remember me?"
I felt bad and was doing that mental Rolodex thing where you so want to come up with the right answer and not hurt any feelings. I hesitated and said, "Uh. I don't know if I remember your faces".
Right at that moment her husband busted into a huge broad smile. As soon as I saw his teeth and his smile, I said, "YES! Yes! I remember you!"
We went on, there on the side of the road, to recall all that happened on that strange night in 2010. After settling down from our excitement I said, "THIS is that baby?!?!?" and "I have to get a photo." They posed inside of their car and we hugged and agreed that we were witnesses to a miracle that night.
As they drove off I yelled, "Come see us if you decide to have another baby."
Out of these ashes beauty will rise.
We will dance among the ruins.
We will see it with our own eyes.