Paige left me with her kids at an insane kids museum- she went and bought and ate a rice-crispie bar so she would not have to share with me or her little minions. But she sent me a photo. Mothers of young children need rice-crispie bars alone sometimes.
The last time Paige visited us in Haiti we were all playing the game 'Catch Phrase' together. It was very heated competition and everyone in this family is a jerk except for Isaac so there was a lot of smack-talking and cocky behavior. We were several rounds in when it was Paige's turn. She was on my team - I was highly tuned in and ready to dominate. Paige began a new word. She said, "Not a fart, smaller than a fart". Within a few guesses those of us on her team yelled, "Toot" "YES YES", she excitedly said. Then she said, "Okay, now this is harder, it's a thing you go down into in a storm." We shouted out guesses and she kept lamenting how hard this word was and that she did not know what it meant. The buzzer sped up and eventually went off in her hand. She was hoping we would guess the word hatch. (Storm hatch -- which is an old-timey thing that these kids that have lived in Haiti for 13 years have no idea about - do we do storm hatches in the modern day times?Talk to me.) She was ticked at her bad fortune. There was dramatic lament about why she always gets the WEIRD words. She said, "What the heck is a toot-hatche?" I was instantly rolling with a side ache laughing, "TOOTHACHE? As in your tooth hurts? Is that what it said?" We grabbed the game out of her hand to look for ourselves. We all love when somebody is a dingbat because then we can mock them for the rest of their lives. Forevermore when one of has a sore tooth we will say, "Not a fart but a ???" Toot-hatche.
Prenatal care is hard to come by in Haiti. Respectful and thorough prenatal care is nearly nonexistent.
Muraciene knew there were limited options for maternal healthcare in her community, but she was determined to provide the best start for her precious baby. At 11 weeks pregnant, Muraciene made her first hour-long trek to the Heartline Maternity Center. She was overjoyed to have a spot in the program and knew the care, education, and nutrition she received would give her baby the best chance to thrive.
Every Thursday throughout pregnancy, Muraciene rose early to make the journey to the Maternity Center. Though the trip was bumpy, long, and required her to change tap taps three times, she relished the opportunity to learn of her baby’s progress and how to remain healthy.
In her 35th week of pregnancy, Muraciene was awoken by contractions at 4am. At first she wondered if this was really labor, but the waves of pain continued to intensify. She knew her due date was still several weeks away and worried about her unborn baby.
Lately, everything felt especially tense and unsettled as civil unrest gripped Haiti. Political demonstrations and roadblocks were making travel throughout the city increasingly difficult. She knew this trip could be especially challenging, but feared what might happen if she waited and couldn’t make it to the Maternity Center in time for her baby’s birth.
Muraciene chose courage and began making her way to the Maternity Center.
As the tap tap rumbled over potholes, Muraciene clutched her belly and hoped for the best. She arrived at the Maternity Center later that morning. With her labor intensifying by the minute, she felt relieved to have made the journey safely and was certain that her baby would be coming soon.
The Heartline Midwives gently prepared Muraciene that her baby would likely need some assistance breathing because of his early arrival. Once again she chose courage by trusting her midwives, body, and baby through the labor and delivery process.
Two hours later, Muraciene gave birth to her second son, Kenneth. Those first moments were excruciating as she watched her baby struggle to take his first breath. The Midwives quickly intervened and Kenneth began to turn a perfect pink and let out a mighty cry. Joy washed over the room.
A few hours later, Kenneth began showing signs of respiratory distress. His premature lungs weren’t quite ready for the world outside of his mother’s womb.
Thankfully, the Midwives had access to an infant CPAP machine that provided Kenneth’s lungs with continuous pressure to remain open. This treatment, along with his mama’s devoted love and attention, worked wonders for Kenneth. His breathing improved and he was able to wean off the machine 48 hours after birth.
Without access to the Maternity Center, Muraciene and Kenneth’s story would have been drastically different.
It’s true that the power of a mother’s love is an incredible – even miraculous – force. But the harder truth to face is that sometimes even a mother’s love, sacrifice, and courage cannot alone save her child.
Muraciene loves her baby boy deeply, she made numerous sacrifices for her child, and courageously faced frightening situations in order to give him the best chance to thrive. Still, her baby was born prematurely and was unable to breathe on his own. Without access to quality care, Muraciene could have lost her beloved son.
The majority of Haitian women receive little to no prenatal care and give birth at home without the help of a skilled birth attendant. This lack of access to care makes it extremely dangerous to be pregnant and give birth in Haiti. For far too many mothers and babies, the situation faced by Muraciene and Kenneth would have resulted in tragic outcomes.
Will you give today to ensure that mothers and babies in Haiti have access to the quality, life-saving care we all desire for our own families?
When you donate for Mother’s Day, we’ll send a personalized ecard to a special woman in your life letting her know of your thoughtful gift. heartlineministries.org/mom
After six days of rest, recovery, and breastfeeding support at the Maternity Center – Muraciene and Kenneth were ready to return home. But the situation surrounding their homecoming was anything but typical.
Safely tucked inside the Maternity Center walls, Muraciene listened to news reports about the current situation in Haiti. The political protests that had threatened her journey to the Maternity Center had intensified. Large parts of the city were essentially shut down due to roadblocks.
Muraciene was given the option to wait out the days of civil unrest at the Maternity Center. But her older son was eagerly awaiting the return of his mama and new baby brother. She knew it was time for her family to be together again.
Muraciene’s husband arrived by motorcycle. She courageously climbed on the back and held Kenneth close while they weaved through the side streets.
As they were leaving the city, the family came upon a large group of demonstrators who were not allowing travelers to pass. Muraciene and her husband explained that they were taking their new baby home. The news spread amongst the protestors who began to shout, “Let the baby through! They’re taking their new baby home. Let the baby through!” The family was allowed to peacefully pass through the demonstration and made it home safely.
The following week, protests began to quiet and public transportation resumed. Muraciene once again climbed into a tap tap to make her way to the Maternity Center. She was grateful to be holding her healthy baby boy in her arms as they bounced over the potholes. Over the next six months, Muraciene and Kenneth will return to the Maternity Center each week for community, child development class, and check-ups.
Kenneth is thriving thanks to the support of generous friends like you and the love of his fierce mama!
This Mother’s Day, we celebrate the love, sacrifice, and courage of mothers around the world. Will you honor a special woman in your life by caring for Haitian mothers who mean so much to their families?
When you make a donation to the Maternity Center, we’ll send a personalized Mother’s Day ecard to the woman you wish to honor. Your thoughtful gift will ensure that Haitian women and babies receive the highly skilled and compassionate care they deserve.