Wednesday, May 03, 2017

A New Prognosis for Daphnee

Each year that passes working in Haiti, I learn more and more about what Haitian women are up against.  

Truthfully, I would like there to be no more new things to learn. That is not the case, however. 

It takes time (years) to hear the more complex things, I only get to learn what they choose to share with me.  

When they choose to share, I am grateful.

One of the things we do each week is meet with women that are newly pregnant and in search of a place to receive parental care.  On the day we meet with them we check their blood pressure, take their Obstetric history and offer them an ultrasound to confirm dating of the pregnancy.   Whether they can get into the program or not, those things happen each week. Most weeks we interview about 20 women.

Last Friday an adorable 22 year old named Daphnee sat on the ultrasound table waiting for me to begin her ultrasound.  She had answered all the questions and we knew she should be around 8 weeks pregnant according to the dates she had given us.

I placed the Ultrasound probe on her tummy.  I said, "I think maybe your baby is further along that you think."

Her reply was odd.  Instead of asking me how old the baby was, she said, "Is the baby inside my uterus?"

I said, "Yes, this is a about a 12 week old baby inside your uterus", as I turned and showed her the screen.

She got teary and said, "Are you sure?"

I said, "Yes, I am very sure."   I called another Midwife, KJ, to confirm to her that it was a healthy looking baby in her uterus.

Daphnee went on to explain that she had been to a Doctor about 2 weeks prior, and that doctor did an ultrasound and told her that she had an extrauterine pregnancy and that she was in danger and needed to end the pregnancy immediately.  He offered to do that for her - for a fee. She pulled the ultrasound photo out of her purse to show me. In the photo was a obvious normal uterine pregnancy.  

I cannot know what that Doctor is up to. I cannot know why he encouraged her to end her pregnancy.  It is all very confusing.  Worst case scenario, he is making money and can charge her for the abortion.  Best case, he is very poorly trained and does not know how to identify a uterine pregnancy, in which case he is very very dangerous, but perhaps not corrupt.

This is what women are up against in Haiti.  Time after time we hear about poor options for care and mistreatment and corruption.  Many women do not seek care due to these terrible experiences.  The reasons the maternal and infant mortality rates are high are pretty clear when you hear story after story of poor quality care, or total lack of available care.

Tomorrow is Thursday - Prenatal Day at Heartline.  Among the 70 women that will come for class and a meal and community will be Daphnee. She was crying with joy last Friday when she learned that her baby is normal and she does not need to terminate her pregnancy.  

We are excited to see her tomorrow.