Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Ami and I have settled into a routine of going to the hospital every other night to help out. The students were not there on the weekend, which made it a little different. Still, we connected with the midwives and shared with them more as peers. On Friday night, we went over for about 5 hours and I delivered a baby because they wanted to see how I did it. A healthy baby girl. At the end, I asked if I had lived up to the Haitian standard. We all smile and joke after a long night at the hospital, relieved and tired. On Monday night, the students were there, Josette and Marie Denise. I am so impressed with their skill and professionalism. They are almost done with their year long training program and I am confident that they will do well. Josette and I dealt with two second degree tears together. She is a girl after my own heart. Her suturing is meticulous and precise. We did the suturing together on the second mom because the sulcus tear was deep. She asked me if I would do the deep part and then she would take over. So we did it together. I also showed her a few new ways to hold her needle holder “to make her life easier.” She totally got it and I was so comforted to know that these women will be sutured well. I continually reminded them that where there is a question about access to clean water, it is very important that the tear is completely closed to avoid infection. Josette and I were two peas in a pod, figuring out our suturing job. I love being a perfectionist about suturing and obviously she did too. At the end, I told her I loved her in French. She smiled back and said, “I love you, too,” in English.
The same night we had a ninth timer and a second timer. All healthy baby girls. Active management of third stage has contained the onslaught of postpartum hemorrhage. So many women here are having there 6th, 7th, 9th babies.
I also tried out a new technique that I was so excited about. We found a whole bunch of clear plastic bags with drawstrings in the storage room. They looked like bags that may have been used in the US to hold women’s belongings while in labor or maybe the freebies that women leave the hospital with. Basically, here in Hinche, we have what we have and if we don’t use the stuff, it just sits in the storage closet. So I had an idea. We are going to use the bags to set underneath the mothers to collect the blood, amniotic fluid, everything including the placenta during and after the birth. Then we can take away the bag, the same way that they do it in US hospitals with the big, blue cone shaped drapes that collect and measure blood. I felt that using these bags would keep the women’s cloth cleaner, keep the beds cleaner, make the midwives' lives and the cleaning lady’s life easier. But most of all, it would allow the women more dignity in birth. By not having to sit in the puddle of their own blood and body fluids, the mother’s would feel cleaner and more dignified. It’s the little things.
So we tried the technique on the three women that delivered that night. All the midwives were thrilled with how it worked. They noticed that the table was cleaner, there was less mess to deal with afterwards. They were happy and I asked them to show the other midwives our new plan too. I told them to use up all the bags that we had and that we would try to get more. I felt happy with a good night in the Hinche hospital.
We walked home in the morning. By 5:30am, the sun was up and the day had begun. Families were here to see their loved ones in the hospital. We had brought Cokes with us the night before, for the midwives and SheLove, our interpreter. They don’t drink coffee here, mostly running on adrenaline and allowing some of the midwives to sleep, on the floor. Two midwives slept on the countertops. I was nursing the last Coke as we left the hospital. We passed the vendors setting up, one woman asked me for the Coke. “Blanc.” White girl. She motioned for the hand out. I gave her the Coke and said, “Bon jour.”
Nou La. We are here.