Today was for them

March 12th, 2017

Sunday afternoon we went on trip to a beach past Labadee beach. We took the MamaBaby Haiti midwives, some staff and some family on an R&R day. We had an amazing day full of smiles, laughter and so much relaxation. We traveled by van over a mountain on the other side of Cap Haitien. The scenery was beautiful. It was true Haiti. When we arrived at the beach we had several people following our van. They were all captains and the wanted us to go on their boat. We chose a captain, the Rasta. We then got on the little Haitian motorboat and went to a private beach called Belly Beach. There were less than 20 people there. The day was glorious.
The midwives and staff and MamaBaby Haiti work so unbelievably hard everyday bettering other people’s lives. Today was for them. I have so much respect and love for these amazing people.

Mèsi anpil ❤️

Visit Haiti. Seriously this place is amazing in so many ways.


he cried out

March 12th, 2017

Today is Sunday morning. I’ve been awake well before the sun. After a morning of yoga and coffee on the rooftop at sunrise Darren and I made a beautiful breakfast. The chat hung out with us because all the little chat’s love Darren. Speaking of breakfast, I need to clean the kitchen. We all ate and enjoyed our morning.
Emily and I in our bathing suits and beach clothes ready to go to the beach. Then I’m told there is a mama outside that had a baby. Emily and I, along with midwife Kim who just arrived from Colorado ran to the gate. Down the street I see a crowd of men and boys around a women on the ground with and old grandma sitting next to her. We ran down the road with gloves on, baby blankets, pitocin and cord scissors.
Baby lay on the side walk sleeping tangled in his cord. I touched him to make sure he was alive and he cried out. I then untangled him. There was blood all over the porch, a normal amount but still shocking to see. I clamped and cut the cord, wrapped him up and handed him to Emily. Then a shot of pitocin was administered and I delivered the placenta. They brought the tap tap down the road and we helped the mama into the back. Emily walked the baby back to our birth center. When a birth is quick and on the side of the road you don’t know things about the people you are running to help. What we learned and a fact here in Haiti is that HIV and Syphilis are a reality for many people.
Honor your use of universal precautions. They have a purpose. Darren then walked down the road to bleach the porch where baby was born. This was this mamas first boy after two girls. He was perfect on every way with his pouty little bottom lip.
This is Haiti.

Trying to find my center

March 12th, 2017

I don’t sleep well in Haiti. Last night was the worst!!!
I woke up drenched in sweat having an anxiety attack. Nothing to do with Haiti. I love it here. After a long text conversation with a dear friend I decided to go up to the roof for sunrise. I asked Darren to bring 3 yoga mats and a foam roller to MamaBaby Haiti this time trip. This morning I am rooftop, taking in a beautiful morning, sun rising, people singing church hymns, birds chirping, horns honking, a cup of coffee and a little yoga. Trying to find my center.
Today will be a beautiful day.
It’s Sunday. I’m going to make breakfast for the lovely staff here in a couple of hours after church and then we’ll head to the beach for an R&R day.


Transport in our tap tap

March 11th, 2017


Today is Saturday. It’s a chill day at the clinic. There are no appointments on the weekend. People do still come for births though.
This morning we had a mama laboring with her first baby. She had a preeclampsia trend happening at the end of pregnancy. Her BP today was 148/110. Here’s the dilemma in Haiti. Eclampsia kills many women and babies. So based on her being a primip and having slow progress we transported at 5cm, -1, 75%. Her cervix was very swollen as well. So in the decision making process we had to think. Is she going to birth fast? The answer seemed to be no. We also have to think how far away is the hospital. It was an hour. If she began to seize and needed at cesarean how long would it take to get care? So we opted to transport.
Transport in our tap tap is quite a thing. We put a mattress in the back of the tap tap, packed family in, midwives and an emergency transport bag. Then we were on our way.
We drove through Cap Haitien which is busy busy and slow moving, cars, trucks, motorcycles and people everywhere. It’s such a busy crowded town. Then past Cap Haitien and past the airport we went into the country. We were transporting to the hospital in Milot. The drive was fast. At times terrifying for me and I screamed out. I am a nervous passenger and most of my nerves I am able to leave at home but today they were there. I said “oh my gosh we almost died”. Darren responded later by saying “almost dying is living”.
The drive was beautiful, lush and green but like I said fast. It was so fast.
We arrived at the Milot hospital and backed into the driveway. Armed guards met us and it felt very chaotic. I was standing at the back doors of the tap tap standing but it felt like guarding the mama from all the people and the guards. Aloude our midwife listened to heart tones and they were good. This was a non-emergent transport. As midwives we more often do those in comparison to big emergencies. Our goal here was to have this mom, in Haiti, where they have the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the Western Hemisphere be able to access more advanced care if it was needed.
The guards let us through the gate. We walked her up to labor and delivery. There were people everywhere, seriously everywhere. Our midwife handed the records to the nurse. Then we were told to take the mama back to a room. As we walked back there was a mama laying there in stirrups alone, no baby with large clots everywhere. I started to have some PTSD kick in at that moment. I felt it rushing in on me. Then we put our mama up in stirrups on a delivery bed, full trash can between her legs, all alone and we left. We left her there because we could not stay. That is the way.
As I was leaving the room and heading down the hall I felt my self wailing up. I hit the air outside and tears started streaming down my face. I was trying to be stoic and get out of the hospital before crying.
I saw the family outside and took a breath, asked Alide to wait, found Darren and Emily and gave the family some money so that they could get back home or eat or pay for care or whatever.
Then we left the hospital grounds and I started to cry.
I looked at Emily and told her this is why we opened MamaBaby Haiti. We wanted better for mamas and babies. Now we serve hundreds of women a year.
At the conference we went to about birth centers in Haiti they said only 35% of women seek care in hospitals and birth centers and that the number one barrier is fear of poor treatment. They say we need over 100 more birth centers to make a real difference here. That’s a lot.
Today I revisited a time in my past working in a hospital in Haiti. I felt it all again today. It hit me hard and fast. This is why MamaBabyHaiti exists.
Regardless, we still need to reach our hand out to that model of care from time to time. It was hard.
Claudin stopped on the road home and got us all a coconut.
My hopes for the day is that mama and baby have no complications and are treated with care and kindness. We will likely see her here with her baby in a few days.
I had a mega tearful meltdown when we returned to MamaBaby. Each day brings new challenges.
At the airport the other day there was an old man saying he was hungry as we drove away. I was trying to find money but we were in the back of the tap tap. As we drove away Darren said you know you can’t help everyone right? I just looked at him and said but I really really want to. He’s an old man. So yes this is my struggle. I may not be the woman in the bed at that hospital but I feel for her. I wanted her to have something better. In some ways she did or will if those more extreme complications present in other ways she didn’t and won’t at all. I’m just sitting in it emotionally today.
Haiti just has my heart.
Here are some pictures of our team here working before transport. Here are also some pictures of our empty clinic today.
Thank you everyone for all of your support.


Haitian peanut butter

March 10th, 2017

Last night we went into Cap Haitien to find a store. We had such a good time. I found Haitian peanut butter which is one of my favorite things on the planet. The store was down through all these crazy alleys. I said this reminds me of Venice Beach. Emily and I are both from Southern California so she knew what I meant. Then we popped out of an alley and there we were at the ocean.
It was kind of awesome.
This early morning I started with a beautiful birth to a 6lbs baby boy. He was birthed on the birthing stool. I love the type of midwifery that we provide here at MamaBaby Haiti. It’s so sweet and so gentle. The midwives here are just amazing.
As the morning progressed Emily went and helped with the family planning clinic.
She attended a couple more births throughout the day with the MBH midwives the last with a group of first year nursing students from Liberty. They will be with us for the week during the day.
Darren also flew in today. I ended up with more art at the airport. I met a cute Haitian Hippie artist. He was so Hippie he even had a Whole Foods shirt on. He offered to come paint pictures of me working. So sweet I just thanked him bought one of his paintings and moved on.
Then Darren, Claudin and I went straight to the public market. Little girls were telling Darren that they loved him and giggling. It was cute. The market is huge!!! There are vegetable, fruits, beans, rice, fish and meat everywhere.
Darren and Claudin have been working on the Solar system here. It has some issues that they are trying to work out.
It’s been another good day.
I feel really connected the the staff here at MamaBaby Haiti. They are just so inspiring. The way they all live and work together is just beautiful. I love it.
Monise helped me with my laundry today. She is our housekeeper. She’s been here since the early days of MBH. She works so hard. I appreciate her help today as this is by no means an expectation of her. It was very kind.
Tonight we should have more babies, the moon looks full.❤️