Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Jennifer's words on Haiti



Below are words that Jennifer wrote about the conditions of the hospital in Hinche (pronounched "inch). Women are not nursing their new babies because the earthquake "scared" their milk and made it turn bad. I wonder if any of the Maya Spiritual healing techniques I know are similar to the ones in Haiti? Can we spritz these women, do spiritual bathing and return their milk to it's original sweetness? I will have to do some research about that. The result is very sick babies--diarrhea from the rice milk they are being fed and general severe malnutrition--and the moms all seem to have horrific yeast infections.

And the picture of birthing mamas is not pretty...already a mama has died and this morning another woman lost a baby. I spoke with one of the women the started the Midwives for Haiti program last night, she said that there is no way to preppare for the things that we will see. That at least one baby dies every week and it is common to lose mamas as well. In Senegal it was almost impossible to get a woman to a doctor for a cesarean if needed. It sounds similar here. And the picture of birth is far from compassionate. Jennifer said that one of the midwives saw a fifteen year-old woman get brutalized by five "midwives" and a doctors-- slapped, held down, screamed at. It was described as rape. Raped while giving birth. I am amazed at what we are capable of doing to each other and what we are capable of surviving. The description reminds me of what I saw in Senegal--the worst of 1950's American obstetrics practices. The midwives currently in Hinche are talking about starting a birth center, so that maybe this can occur less, maybe women will get off their backs, remove their feet from the stirrups, and have more empowered birth experiences. We will see.

"We did the round and fed everyone in the trauma area (amputees, burns, etc.) Most injuries are from the earthquake. Patricia and I bought 10 loaves of bread and some peanut butter. We fed 50 people (the loaves here are so tiny). So many grateful people.

The hospital is full of hungry people because they are fed one meal per day–lunch.

My little patchwork quilt boy was happy for the dinner. He let me take his picture. He is beautiful and amazing. I told him through translator that I am so proud of him for surviving the quake. He was burned so badly in the quake that he would not have survived had it not been for operation smile coming two weeks ago to staple skin grafts all over his body. The skin grafts are white skin so he looks like a beautiful patchwork quilt of black and white. He has staples all over his body. He is so happy and smiles so sweetly to me as he says, “bonswa.”

Lots of moms in labor, including a mamma who came in with a fetal demise. She hadn’t felt the baby move for a few days. I kissed her on the forehead after telling her with my eyes that her baby died. I tried memorizing “your baby died, I am so sorry” in Creole on the airplane, as I knew I would have to say it to someone. When the moment came, I couldn’t remember the words. She understood and caressed her belly longingly. I had to walk out to cry.

No one birthing at the moment. Fifteen beds filled in the same large room of laboring women. Once one is pushing she will walk to the delivery room and climb on to the table and deliver on her back with her feet in stirrups. Then, she walks to a large postpartum room with many beds with moms and babies, usually grandma laying between the beds on the cement floor.

It’s not so bad at night when the doctors are gone and the midwives are willing to watch us catch the babies.

I don’t know how to get the moms off the tables, as the floor is filthy and the birth stool I ordered didn’t make it in time to bring to Haiti."

1 comment:

Hannah said...

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