This is a story that begins in tragedy, yet ends in hope and love for family and community. In challenging environments such as Haiti, death in childbirth is an ever present specter. With the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the western hemisphere, there is hardly a family in Haiti that is not touched by the death of a mother or child.
Luciana was a 36 year old women, who came to our community clinic at Fombrun for antenatal care. An experienced mother, Luciana had 7 other children at home, and was 38 weeks along with #8 when she began experiencing troubling symptoms. She arrived at the clinic with shortness of breath, and a blood pressure of 140/110, and our midwives immediately referred her to the hospital, including an offer of transport.
Unfortunately, due to economic reasons, Luciana was not able to get to the hospital until four days later. There she gave birth, and a few days later, went home to her family with her new baby. She had a large and loving family, all overjoyed with the new addition, and thankful that Luciana had made it through childbirth, in spite of her complications.
All was well with the baby, but Luciana herself was deteriorating. She returned to the hospital 6 days after giving birth, and passed away shortly after arriving. Hypertensive disorders are one of the most common causes of maternal death in Haiti, and now there was a family with a brand new baby, who would never know her mother.
Eight children is a lot for anybody, but particularly for a newly bereaved and devastated single father. Their neighbors stepped in to help with baby care, and the older children also did all they could.
And since June, individual staff members have quietly taken it on themselves to help support this baby, behind the scenes. We visit her weekly, and are always thrilled with the progress she is making. There has never been a baby so loved by so many people. She is doted upon and thriving; she will grow up knowing that she is wanted and cherished, and that the world is just the tiniest bit better because she is in it.
MFH is committed to helping families stay together, especially in the midst of tragedy. This little baby and her family are now a part of ours.
We invite you, during this season of sharing and generosity, to join with us, to share your heart and your support with families like these. Our campaign is going very well and we have passed the halfway mark with $59,500 collected of our $85,000 goal. Thank you for all you have done in the past, and for what we can accomplish together in the years to come!
Midwives for Haiti