Sunday, January 24, 2016

Marie-Ciane, Tanzania, and Zika ... Some Things That Need Prayer

Since Thursday of this week Marie-Ciane has been at the Maternity Center. She is a 40 year old Momma awaiting the birth of her second child. We (the entire staff here) have soft spots and utter respect for her.  She's downright inspiring. 

Marie-Ciane doesn't want or need pity, her blindness has not held her back and she certainly doesn't want anyone to baby or "other" her. She is totally independent and prefers to do things for herself. I offered to help with bathing but she declined. Before she wants help bathing, she chooses to be shown to the bathroom and left alone to do it herself. (Photo: She took our breastfeeding song and wrote it in braille a couple of months ago.) 

We are starting to think that maybe Marie-Ciane is going to need to be transported but no decision has been officially made as I write this.  From our statistics of 2015, we have learned that 1 in 4 women we serve end up with Pre-E, this is exactly what Marie-Ciane is dealing with and so far our efforts at inducing labor have failed. Prayers for this amazing bad-ass lady and her second child (a little girl, already named Sarah) are so very appreciated today and this week.   

THIS coming Friday, Beth McHoul, (KJ) Beth Johnson, and I will all be getting on an airplane bound for Tanzania.  This trip has been about 13 months in the planning/making and I think we are all surprised the date to do this has arrived so quickly. We will be working at a high volume (maternity) hospital in Dodoma, Tanzania with a friend and Midwife extraordinaire from Omaha, NE.  Our hope is that we will be helpful there and also gain experiences that will help us as we continue to work with the women of Haiti. 

We are going with expectations that look like this:  

We expect it will be something. It could be good, it could be bad, it could be fun and it could be really hard. It could be busy or it could be relaxed.We will know when we know and not before then. 

I am the only one of us that has never been outside of the Western Hemisphere or to Africa.  I think that means I am the only one that feels really nervous.  I don't love the feeling of being so far from my family and I get all spun up worrying about how I would get home if somebody got really sick or hurt. I am afraid for the feeling of being so disconnected from my people.  (Do it afraid.) 

Two Midwives named Shelly and Ann (from Boston and Germany) will be coming to cover for us here in Haiti. Please keep them in your prayers and nurses Wini and Nirva as they work/serve extra hours too.  Most of the women due in late January and early February have delivered their babies, the visiting midwives might have a chance to rest and relax a little bit.

In the news here, the political situation is tenuous. I am sure you've read a bit about it. Today was to have been another round of the election, but it was called off on Friday.

In our line of work we have been dealt a serious kick to the face.  The Zika virus is here and we are very concerned for the women of Haiti. For the next year this will be playing itself out in ways we probably cannot prepare for or imagine.   Rather than fill you in with my worried words, I am sharing some information from the CDC below.  

If you are a frequent visitor to Haiti, and you are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant, I beg you to read this.

(Click for FULL article/FAQ)

I am pregnant. How will Zika virus affect me or my unborn baby?

CDC has issued a travel alert (Level 2-Practice Enhanced Precautions) for people traveling to regions 
and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing: Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, 
French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, 
Puerto Rico, Suriname, and Venezuela.
This alert follows reports in Brazil of microcephaly and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of 
mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant. However, additional studies are needed 
to further characterize this relationship. More studies are planned to learn more about the risks of Zika 
virus infection during pregnancy.
Until more is known, and out of an abundance of caution, CDC recommends special precautions for 
pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant:
  • Pregnant women in any trimester should consider postponing travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission 
  • is ongoing. Pregnant women who do travel to one of these areas should talk to their doctor or other healthcare 
  • provider first and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip.
  • Women trying to become pregnant should consult with their healthcare provider before traveling to these areas and 
  • strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during the trip.
Because specific areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing are difficult to determine and likely to change over time, 
CDC will update this travel notice as information becomes available. Check the CDC travel website frequently for the 
most up-to-date recommendations.