Sunday, February 02, 2020

A Look Back: 2019, Heartline Maternity Center - What Do You See?

Thank you for stopping here!

We first began keeping statistics at The Heartline Maternity Center about three years after we added labor and delivery services. The first baby born at Heartline was born in September of 2009. By 2012 some statistics were being tracked.  

In 2016 the stat-keeping and tracking got a lot better when we switched most of the record-keeping over to a digital system.  

Any organization asking you for financial help should be able to tell you how they use the money. Beyond that, they should be able to somewhat objectively identify where there is room for improvement and where they have experienced success.  

When we stepped into the leadership roles at Heartline Ministries, Troy and I both felt (and still feel) strongly that honesty and transparency are incredibly importantAlso important to us is valuing the staff and those we work with above ourselves and using integrity in our decision making. We don't want to hide the hard parts of working in a country like Haiti. We also try not to be cynical or lose hope when things are hard and we experience several setbacks.  

It's a rough balance to strike, I don't know how well we do - but I can assure you we are trying.  

2019 was a year of restructuring after 2018 brought staffing changes. We worked on changing the culture of the ministry with clearer communication and several weeks of leadership training for key staff members. The goal for the next phase of transition (with us not living full time in Haiti any longer) is for us to get out of their way and allow them to grow and lead. 

Today we are reporting specifically on the Maternity Center in 2019. This entry does not include information about everything Heartline attempted and/or accomplished in 2019. Much is missing regarding the Education Center, the Outreach and Community Service efforts, the Bakery, and plans for future growth.

The Gates of Hope -
“Our mission is to plant ourselves at the gates of Hope
Not the prudent gates of Optimisim,
Which are somewhat narrower.
Not the stalwart, boring gates of Common Sense;
Nor the strident gates of Self-Righteousness,
Which creak on shrill and angry hinges
(People cannot hear us there; they cannot pass through)
Nor the cheerful, flimsy garden gate of 
“Everything is gonna be all right.”

But a different sometimes lonely place,
The place of truth-telling,
About your own soul first of all and its condition.
The place of resistance and defiance,
The piece of ground from which you see the world
Both as it is an as it could be
As it will be;
The place from which you glimpse not only struggle,
But the joy of the struggle.
And we stand there, beckoning and calling,
Telling people what we are seeing,
Asking people what they see.”

-Victoria Safford 

Back at the year-end stats report we wrote in 2012, we said this:

We do not place an abundance of importance on statistics. 

If statistics are the forest, we are always aware of each individual tree. As a team, we are too involved in relationships to worry a lot about the numbers. 

Working with the women we quickly learn that one healthy pregnancy carried to term, one victorious labor and delivery, one healthy single baby born to one mother that overcame immeasurable obstacles is what truly matters. The young woman courageously delivering her healthy baby far outweighs the preponderance of any statistic.

At the Maternity Center each woman is known by name. Statistics never know a name. Without a doubt a community has developed.  It is safe to say that staff, midwives, and pregnant women alike all look forward to program days.

Having said that - we recognize that those that give to keep this program operating and pray continually for these women and for the staff might like to see how the numbers look.

Even as our numbers climbed from 80 babies a year up to 120, we made sure to hold onto the goal of relationships between practitioners and clients - BUT - I have changed my tune a bit too. We want to prove that this model works and therefore the outcomes (the stats) matter as well. 

Now to the point of this entry, here is the truth about 2019:  We had a hard year. 

The political climate meant a lot of danger for women and even more stress on their bodies and minds than usual. We had a higher premature birth rate, more IUFDs, and more transports to a hospital. Everyone in Haiti had a difficult year as the cost to feed your family is rising and that is one of the smaller challenges.

In 2019 there were 121 babies born: 
(this number does not include the miscarriages)

61 boys
60 girls

We had 37 transports (higher than usual - see below)
78 babies born in house
6 babies born at home (prevented by unrest from getting to us)

45% of moms were first-time moms 

We had 3 IUFDs- one at term and two preterm 

We had four preterm births: two PPROM- one at 24 weeks and another at 26 weeks (both babies died in hospital shortly after birth. 

One born at 35 weeks-required CPAP for 48hrs (with us)

One born at 29.5 weeks- baby died in hospital shortly after birth. 

We had several first trimester miscarriages.

We had two late term miscarriages at 20 weeks. Both moms delivered with us and held their babies. 

We had a 10% preeclampsia rate

We had a 30% transport rate (19% cesarean - also higher than past years) 
When women are transfered to a hospital, they return to us to be cared for at Heartline until they feel healed and ready to go home. The postpartum stay is determined by the woman's need and is a flexible number of nights.

We had a 3% hemorrhage rate 

1,460+ private prenatal visits took place.

Each new mother was offered three postpartum consultations between one and six weeks postpartum.

Each woman was informed and educated about three free birth control options available to her through Heartline Maternity Center.

We take thousands of photos each year, choosing which ones to post is impossible, but here are a few of the women that delivered in 2019 ...

Submitted to you today with love and gratitude from,
"The place of resistance and defiance,
The piece of ground from which we see the world
Both as it is an as it could be
As it will be;
The place from which we glimpse not only struggle,
But the joy of the struggle.
And we stand there, beckoning and calling,
Telling people what we are seeing,
Asking people what they see.”