Today was a long day. Sorry for the late entry, I am just getting home. First things first, I was involved in 2 deliveries today which was very satisfying but also perplexing. It is very interesting delivering in Haiti and very different. I can’t quite put my finger on it yet but hopefully I can characterize it better as I do more deliveries but it is very simple. Literally 3 women lined up in a delivery room, naked, screaming in pain. There are no epidurals, these women are champs. They begin pushing at fully dilated, with intermittent dop tones. There is no doula or coaching, no family in the room. You push until you get the baby out. Occasionally the midwives would have the mom change positions during pushing depending on the fetal position (I.e OP), I paid close attention to this. After the birth, the nurse leaves mom to tend to the baby. This can take some time. There are no vitals for the baby, if the baby is rigorous it is thought to be healthy. Afterwards the placenta delivers and they are assessed for bleeding and repairs. The family is not allowed in at any point. The patient goes to the bathroom to shower before getting moved to postpartum.
I made some more friends (too many to count so I’ll just mention a few key who will recur) a few work on the board for St. Damien Hospital and NPH (the founding organization for St. Damien Hospital). We went to lunch and I was able to exchange ideas with them regarding the maternity department which was very exciting. I also spent the day with Renee, she’s a retired nurse from Seattle who is very involved with St. Damien and contributes money to the hospital. She spent the day at the maternity ward as well so we mutually gained from this partnership. I translated and helped incorporate her into the OB team while she showed me around and introduced me to a lot of influential people around the Hospital. One of the places she brought me was “The abandonment room” it’s a place where people drop off infants and children they don’t want or who have disabilities. This broke my heart. Literally dozens of the cutest little kids who have no one to love them. I found myself frequently walking past this room throughout the day wanting to hold one particular baby in a crib in the back. Maybe tomorrow I’ll muster up the strength to go in and hold him. I want to love on them. The realities of poverty are hard everywhere, but in Haiti they are almost inexplicable.
There is also a group here who comes three times a year to St. Damien to perform cardiac surgeries. They do 2 a day for a week which is incredible, if only they could do more or stay longer. #wishful-thinking. Since they’re here there is a blood shortage so through the Red Cross I donated blood at the hospital. During a tour with Rene, I met a pediatric resident in the peds ED of Haitian descent as well. Sasha. She’s here for a month and is a third year pediatrics resident, hope I can get to know her more.
All in all, today was a good day.