Monday, January 24, 2011

The Wisdom of the 13 Moons-Traditional Midwifery Education

The Wisdom of the Thirteen Moons was created to help midwives that are already working and those aspiring to become midwives to learn traditional ways of working with natural modalities instead of working with pharmaceutical drugs and ultra sounds in birth. The Wisdom Series will be specifically for dealing with many situations that experienced midwives face and give a more traditional approach to dealing with them. Dealing the overall health of the pregnant woman, bleeding after birth and more importantly avoiding it in the first place. Greater work with specific herbs and moxa burning and identification of a deeper knowledge of prevention with hot/cold are included. Chinese medicinal approaches are taught at a deeper level. Working without ultrasound and more effective monitoring of mother and baby are taught. These are just some of the classes offered. There will be about ten sections to this series. My hope is to keep this series updated and broaden the knowledge to make us stronger midwives. As we show respect to the thirteen moons that guide us each year, we return to some of the traditional ways that have always been giving us light and always been honored and respected throughout history. Of course, 100% of this programs’ proceeds are donated to Mother Health International.

To enroll today, click here.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Imaccula's Birth Story

Imaccula, 30 years old having her first baby. She comes to the clinic faithfully for prenatal check ups. There is something slightly different about this sweet woman. Three days after she was born, she was given water to drink instead of breastmilk. Sadly this water was contaiminated with typhoid and she deveolped typhoid fever. As a result her right arm became paralyzed to some degree and she has no use of her hand, it is all cripped and tight. Her right leg is also affected and cannot walk straight or run. However she made it through the typhoid and has become a stronger woman because of it. Imaccula just came to our clinic to give birth the night before last. She labored thoroughout the day and into the early evening. She got up and hobbled around despite contractions coming like waves upon her fragile body, she was active and in charge of her birth. As the time got closer to pushing, her mother drew near her side and massaged her, and talked to her firmly when she felt overwhelmed with the sensation of a baby making its way through her. Her mother was almost one with her in the labor, not doting on her but sharing in everything. You could see and feel the anticipation she had for this baby and the love for her daughter.

Immacula was on her hands and knees rocking back and forth during contractions, midwives and mothers standing by ready and present, however after one of those contractions, suprising to all around, the mother announced, “the head it out, the head it out”. She pushed so silently that no one realized the baby was just a push away. The midwive kneeled down to gently catch the baby as it came into her hands, the baby was then passed to the mother and lay on the bed with Imaccula looking over her baby in utter awe and wonder. Minutes later both mom and baby are settled snuggly in the bed and the first words I hear Imaccula say aftet birth is the sweet words only a mother can say “my child, my child, oh, look at my daughter, my child”. Some of us broke out in tears at the sound of these words. The pride and love you heard in her voice is not something I can transmit on paper, something that I will never forget. Then all of a sudden she became very strong in her voice and said....."I told you I am not going to give birth in the hospital, I am happy that I gave birth here, thank you, thank, you take care of me so sweet.” The birth was like a victory for her. It was amazing to watch her in the hours that followed, smiles and tender affection. Her mom told one of our assistant midwives, “you gave me everything for my daughter, may God bless you.”

It was indeed a blessing that she had a gentle birth, unfortunatley often times women like her that are different, crippled, etc are not treated well. Knowing how it could be for her in this situation, we gave her the best care and love that we could.

The next day, she was sitting outside on a bed under our porch. One of our translators walked up to her as she was coming on shift. Imaccula, looked from the translator to her baby and back to the translator with the biggest, shyest smile I have seen. She could not contain the joy and pride in being a mom, in holding her baby for the translator and the world to see. These moments are so precious in a cruel hard world. For this baby peace started at birth.

Melinda Maclaren, MHI Volunteer Midwife & Ninotte Lubin, MHI Administrator, Midwifery Student

January 12, 2011-Mother Health International Newsletter


Today, 1-12-11, marks the one year anniversary of the founding of our beautiful birth clinic in Haiti which conisides with the devastating 7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti killing thousands, destroying millions of homes and displacing many people to tent cities where they still reside. It left thousands of women in Haiti with no safe place to birth and few skilled birth attendants to assist. Cholera runs rampid throughout the country taking more lives and making survival more difficult for women and children. MHI team continues to assist births at the Jacmel clinic and sends love and support to the Haitian people today as they reflect, mourn and remember their lossed loved ones and strive to move forward and build a life for themselves out of this devastation.

"While you are looking at the horrors still ongoing in Haiti, please look at the miracles of MOTHER HEALTH INTERNATIONAL in Jacmel, Haiti. They are using traditional Midwifery Model of Care to provide excellent, dignified outcomes for pregnancy, births, breastfeeding, and helping women with the traumas of rape and STDs. This is done on a very low budget, including education and sanitation. MHI will reduce the mortality rate of
moms and babies, "
Jade McGaff, ObGyn,
MHI Medical Advisory Board.

Jacmel, Haiti, January 12th, 2011
"We all are created to live in an environment that we have to work hard to stay alive, we all are aware that we are HUMAN but, we all are not conscious about what we must do to protect where we live. HAITI is an obvious case where people say every single day " GOD knows all ". They forgot that they can think for themselves. When you think for yourself, then you can understand and make decisions. Then you decide you can choose not to be a slave but to be free and responsible for what you do. People forgot the fact that if you don't think for yourself, you will lose your ability to choose and you can create your own misfortune.

We have have had a lot of bad disasters in Haiti but January 12th was the worst day that Haitian people ever knew. I don't believe in tears after death, I don't believe in taking time to remember what has happened when you had the ability to prevent that thing from occurring in the first place. I do believe in action. I do believe in what you can do now to have a different future. May 21, 2010 was my first day in MHI.  After the earthquake, every single day I was trying to find work. A lot of work had been created by NGO's coming from all over the world, spending a lot of money. When I found MHI, I didn't see this work as an opportunity to make money, I worked for $10 US a day while other NGO's would pay up to $100 US a day.

What motivated me to work for MHI was that I could, help women to know who they are, how they can get pregnant, and give birth naturally in love and peace with the responsibility to change their life and maybe the world.

I can tell you as a Haitian woman, MHI birth center is like a miracle in my region Jacmel for the women. Do you want to know why? I want to sum it up in one sentence: MHI creates a space for women to feel safe, to learn how to take care of themselves to have a healthy birth and a healthy baby, understand that life can be better if you take your responsibility despite your reality and situation. The women that come here to our clinic, understand and show us that they are really strong women.

Please, help MHI, by donating whatever you can to MHI. It can make a difference. Your donation can help Haiti not to ever have a day like January 12 again. By doing this amazing work for families in Jacmel, we are hoping that it will carry a spark to other parts of the country.
We want it to create a better life for women in Haiti and I believe it starts with caring for women during pregnancy and birth. Women can heal the planet but we should start by healing birth. No matter who you believe, you must take your responsibility. Help us teach women how to do that! Thank you." From Ninotte Lubin, MHI Administrator and Student Midwife

Over 440 babies have been born at the MHI birth clinic to date. The birth clinic which has employeed all women, with the exception of our security guards, continues to grow and thrive as we train Haitian student midwives the tradition of midwifery. These women are great leaders in their community and work hard every day to ensure the success and survival of the clinic. 

We need your help. We must raise $9,000 to pay our yearly rent by March 1, 2011 and money for the monthly salaries. Please donate today to support this birth clinic and the Haitian staff. 

Mother Health International seeks volunteer midwives and ob/gyns for the 2011 calendar year. The MHI birth clinic is now a NARM (North American Registry of Midwives) approved birth clinic and we have begun our student apprentice program which will allow 2 to 3 student a month to volunteer in our clinic while finishing their certification process.
Visit our site for an application.

In gratitude for your support,

Ninotte Lubin, MHI Administrator, Student Midwife
Clare Loprinzi, CPM, MHI President
Heather L. Maurer, MHI Co-Founder, Executive Director 
Jade McGraff, OBGyn, MHI Medical Advisory Board

"The education and empowerment of women throughout the world cannot fail to result in a more caring, tolerant, just and peaceful life for all." Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, leader of Burma's democracy movement

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Meet Shela Barthelemy-Student Midwife

My name is Shela Barthelemy. I am 23 years and I am from across the river from Jacmel. I am a very strong young Haitian woman. I want to work to find money, I have a lot on my plate now I had four sisters but I lost three sisters in the earthquake and my one brother is very sick now, close to death. I have been taking care of myself all the time, my father died when I was 10 years old and my mother lives in the Dominician Republic. MHI is helping me in my life so much and I thankful for this.

I want to congratulate the clinic for the care it give the women in pregnancy. I am very thankful for Clare Loprinzi for giving me the opportunity to learn about midwifery and English. I am in school taking English every day now so that I can translate in the clnic. Before I came to MHI I was already thinking that I would like to learn to become a Fanm Sage (midwife). I have had this thought since I was in third grade, but I did not have the money to go to school to learn this skill. When I came to MHI to accompany my sister in law was in labor, I was watching everything the midwives were doing during labor and helping as much as I could. When the midwives noticed how eager I was to learn, they asked if I would want to come regularly to learn and volunteer with the other midwives. I was so happy because my dream of becoming a midwife is coming true. And now I also have the opportunity to learn English. I am very excited for my future. I can’t believe that I get to live out my passion and that is to help women and babies.

I believe in this work so much, I would like to see that everyone is very serious about the care we give at the clinic.