Wednesday, December 4, 2013
I quickly discovered in Haiti that there were great challenges to overcome in being a midwife in Haiti. There was the challenge of no electricity, limited water and very limited supplies. Then you had the heat factor. The heat and humidity was probably one of the hardest challenges I faced. Most days I felt like I was standing inside an oven. The sweat just poured off of me. The humidity was beyond oppressive. You stay wet to the skin 24/7. There is no break. You take off dirty wet clothes and put on clean wet clothes, everything is wet, including your sheets. The mosquitoes were unforgiving. I have been back a little over a week and I still have at last count over 50 mosquito bites on my legs that wont stop itching. I would spray several times a day with bug spray to no avail. The sweat would just rinse it right off. Trying to put on gloves to deliver a baby was greatly hampered by the sweat. I would twist and pull each of the fingers of the glove to get it on my dripping wet hand.
Then there are the supply issues. Volunteers coming to Haiti are asked to bring a list of supplies with them, from sterile gloves, gauze, amniotic hooks and to simple things like Tylenol and Motrin. If there aren't any volunteers coming on a regular basis you run out of supplies. You become resourceful in Haiti. When I ran out of gauze I used a bed sheet! Not ideal but it works. You quickly learn that you don't "need" all the "stuff" we regularly use at birth. Things are nice to have but not critical.
Early the first week I was there I delivered a baby that ended up spending the night due to the late hour of the birth. When I went to check on the baby early the next morning, Mama showed me the remnants of baby spitting up. At first I wasn't too alarmed because it wasn't a whole lot but over the next hour the baby started throwing up blood. At the birth the night before I noticed baby had popped blood vessels all over his face but I had no explanation.
It was obvious that all the throwing up was not in the realm of normal. We had a discussion about using Vitamin K which can help greatly with a serious clotting disorder in newborns. Unfortunately they had run out of the medicine so there was none. I offered to pay for the medicine and off the director went in search of Vitamin K. In less than two hours the correct medicine was purchased and given to the baby through a shot. Things we take for granted here in America! The first batch of the medicine was quite expensive but later a better deal was found and so we replenished the stock so that most babies could get the shot right after birth.
I have always been a firm believer in learning lessons well. Maybe I am just a knucklehead but I don't want to make the same mistake twice. There were so many lessons like that in Haiti. You need to learn to be resourceful and you quickly learn to be flexible. I read something in the Boundaries Book by Dr. Townsend and Cloud that said if you are not scared to death at least once a day you are not growing. In other words, we should not be content with the status quo. We need to learn new things and grow and challenge ourselves to get outside our comfortable little boxes and reach beyond ourselves. Aim High!
I can think of someone else who aimed high, Jesus. In the garden he pleaded with the Father to take the suffering he was about to endure away. Ever obedient he stretched beyond himself and went way out of his comfort zone. What a great example he is to us. So today, reach beyond what you think you can do and AIM HIGH.
Next time, birthing with the chickens.
In Christ Alone,
Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".