Woke up this morning "showered" (really I poured buckets of water over me while I stood in the shower) and headed down to the birth center. It's quiet around here because of New Years (which is a big deal in Haiti because it also is their Independence Day)
Oh wait, I spoke too soon... Quiet as far as prenatal's go, but we just had two births (babies born 4 minutes apart) and have a mom laboring in the same room as the birth I just attended. Birth here is so very different then back home! Women are left in the room to labor (with others if there are more labors happening at the same time) and the midwives are very straight to the point (this is a cultural thing) it's interesting having such a language barrier- so I am doing lots of keeping them hydrated, counter pressure, and letting them squeeze the heck out of my hands!
The baby I just saw born is a handsome little boy! I love watching the relief and joy that all mothers get once their baby is born. It crosses all cultures for sure!
I showed a bunch of ladies pictures of my "babies" and she passed my phone to all the other ladies. They said a bunch of stuff and laughed! I get that a lot- being the only American! I'm pretty sure everyone just makes fun of me ;)
I actually think they may have been saying that the girls look like me! Man do I miss MY baby girls!
If you accompany a friend or family member to the birth center, expect to be put to work! I have seen mothers and sisters and friends outside scrubbing post birth bedding in a bucket (gnarly!) and making the beds back up for the next mama to come in! I'm not sure if they are asked to do it or volunteer, but it is messy work! Haitians work together and have the best attitudes while doing it! (Update: I just asked and found out that each woman is expected to have someone with her to launder the birth soiled bedding... They sit in the hot sun scrubbing for hours! These women are servants and are tough!!)
I am now currently sitting in on my 3rd labor of the day. I missed the one that was 4 minutes after the one I attended (it was in the other room!) this mama is 18 years old and lost her previous baby last year when it was just 6 months old. I cannot help but pray for a healthier outcome for this baby! I have no idea why that baby died, but I can only imagine the anxiety she must be carrying as she labors with baby #2...
Her TINY baby boy was just born. These Haitian mamas make giving birth look so easy! I wish I could share with my American friends just a glimmer of what it's like here! It's truly an amazing thing to watch!