Labor Repose

Labor Repose
LaborPayne during her 6th homebirth (9th baby) at age 44

Monday, March 22, 2010


I woke this morning to a beautiful Haiti morning, with soft cool breezes. The sun will rise and bring intense heat, but the compound was quiet and lovely before the missionaries/relief workers were up. There was the sound of my next door neighbors, two roosters, living in the compound across the street, taking turns crowing every few seconds from about 4am.
Last night's entertainment consisted of watching the Haitian men who live on the school compound play a rousing game of soccer against the relief workers and soldiers (who reside on the other side of the campus). There is no TV. About half the relief workers choose to reside in a small 'tent city' on the school grounds. The other half of us sleep in classrooms on airmattresses and cots we have dubbed, the "Hatian Hilton". We have electricity and running water, but no air conditioning. The Haitian women that live on the school compound provide laundry service and cook our meals. The school set communal showers, quite a luxury to have water for showers. They have the water trucked in and the tank refilled daily so we have enough for showers. Most workers shower at night after a long hot day. There is no hot water of course, but the cool showers feel exquisite after a long day in the tropical heat.
Last night I was assigned to a team going to a tent city. I thought I might get to go to a prenatal clinic, but I will see what this opportunity holds. Whatever comes to me, I will be grateful.
For breakfast we were served coffee, hot chocolate, croissants, beignets, assorted rolls and fresh fruit including oranges, pineapple, and mango. A wonderful way to start the day. My team is now packing up and we will be heading out shortly. I'm a little bit apprehensive. In the tent cities we have only what we carry in and our wits to guide us. It seems so little to offer, when we don't know what kind of cases we will see today. Our physician is a neurologist, plus one cardiac nurse, plus me, a maternal infant health nurse- kind of a hodge podge team. We do have the ability to make transfers into one of the local hospitals if we deem it necessary, but the hospitals don't always accept the transfers. Yesterday we heard the story from the OB doctor, that a young woman (age 20) came into the small hospital she was assigned to after being hit by a car. (The traffic here is crazy- someone probably gets hit everyday) The OB wanted to transfer her to one of the larger, better resourced hospitals, but it would not accept her, even though she had severe head injuries. She died about 20 minutes later. I felt badly for the OB, who also delivered a baby of a 17 year old with severe pre-eclampsia. They tell us we will see bad things, that we will feel overwhelmed, and that we may return home and need time to heal and adjust. All these things sober me, and yet and will do what I can and what I must to serve who I can. Whatever comes, I recieve with gratitude. My tap-tap awaits.

1 comment:

Rebekah Costello said...

Our hearts are with you and thank you SO MUCH for doing what many of us cannot. Bless you, Mama.