Juxtaposition

“where are the Post Op Mattresses?” she shouted at me.
“I’m sorry Deb we are max capacity and are using all of them”
“this is UNACCEPTABLE!” she threw her hand up in exasperation.

She had every right to be upset our protocol was that all post op moms got special mattresses that made their beds more comfortable, and dispersed their weight a little more evenly.  I was an active participant in 70 births at the birth Center. 70 births and not one maternal or fetal death, no brain damage from hypoxia, no hemorrhages that were not well managed by medication or intervention.  We had excess supplies, three meals a day and snack packs for breastfeeding moms.  You could labor in a tub or a shower, with a ball or a bench. there was endless hot water, and copious amounts of clean icey drinking water.

Cross the equator with me, step outside the Air-Con and into Belle’s place of employment. Belle works in the Philippines where mothers and babies are dying daily, midwives are overworked, clean drinking water is a real issue.  Moms are malnourished, bleeding is catastrophic, birth is scary.  Post op mattresses don’t exist, quite honestly you are lucky to have a clean bed, or a bed at all. While the US complains that the eggs are cold, the 3rd world is dealing with infection, abuse, and death.

I love birth, births where moms are supported, babies have a fighting chance, and healthcare providers meet a minimum standard of knowledge.

I want that for everyone.  I want women globally to have a birth where they are safe, where they are cared for, where they have access to a skilled and loving midwife.  I want to be immersed in birth in places where birth is not a joy but a fear so that maybe, just maybe things will change.

everymother

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Go Into All The World… My journey into Midwifery

For years the desire of my heart has been to be a midwife, to serve women in a time when they need someone the most.  God began to speak to me about overseas service and I felt compelled to say YES… whenever You are ready.  I have always thrived in a situation of urgency.  When there would be a “crisis alert” or “Code” at work I would feel the adrenaline start to flow and I would get in that ZONE.  My first ever blood draw was during a code, I was shoved to the bedside and had orders to draw 4 vials of blood and blood cultures (a weird sterile procedure, that has to be done JUST SO) yelled at me with a room full of Drs, nurses, RTs etc.  I did it, first attempt and I remember thinking that God had blessed me with a gift, of a) finding the unfindable vein, and b) keeping cool under pressure. 

Skip ahead 6 years.  Married, 2 kids, hectic life.  God begins to stir in me the desire he placed within me years before.  The midwifery bug bit, and now I lay awake at night thinking about how it is I am going to fill this call.

midwife/bible

The Global Organization of Midwives along with the a mainstream missions organization are equipping healthcare workers with vital skills, education, and support, so they may go where there is great need. As a family, we are teaming up with them, and next September I am starting formal midwifery and Missionary education,  with an academic focus on the global maternal health crisis with the intention of going overseas, to be the hands and feet of Christ, providing dignified, lifesaving, maternal healthcare to the women who need it most. 

I will be doing one of my Midwifery Clinical Placements at a charity birth center overseas to refine my midwifery skills but also to learn emergency management in remote areas / the out of hospital setting which requires a very specific skills set not often seen in the US.

We had photos taken today, compliments of Heartfelt Photography that will be used for Prayer Cards.  These will be sent out to those who wish to pray for us, get updates on what we are doing, or if so lead, give to our mission.  I said to Ronnie today “This is starting to feel real” to which he replied “This IS real!” 

This year we will be raising funds, for the required missions training, the cost of the overseas missions trip/midwifery placement, and the cost of supplies; for a total of $10,000. We will also have to pay the cost associated with my Midwifery degree, licensing and exam fee, as well as our day to day living expenses.  We have started an amazon WISH LIST  with some of the books, equipment and supplies I am required to have, and will have a list of items that I will need to take with me to my placement (medications, linens, medical supplies, hand sanitizer, etc) that I will post if people want to be able to help when the time comes.  

Please continue to follow this blog, and pray for us as we begin this crazy life changing journey.  Additionally, if you attend a church who would be willing to hear our storey and pray for us please let us know!  

Love you all!

From Breast to Bottle – The Journey of Feeding My Son

I completed my Maternal-Child Clinical at a Baby Friendly hospital.  Breastfeeding was the norm and formula was locked up and needed a physicians order to be used.  My instructor was a lactation consultant and we were given a great book to use with the breastfeeding mom.   Later, after graduation I was invited to take a Breast Feeding Educator course and loved every minute of it.  I knew that I would be breastfeeding any of the babies I’d have, and I felt I would be prepared for whatever that threw at me.

When I found out I was pregnant I was excited! I began buying little things here and there; a nursing cover, breast pads, and a pump.  I registered for storage bags, steamer bags, and other breastfeeding accessories.  I got out my Breastfeeding Basics book to review.  Reviewed a few chapters of my other favorite breastfeeding books and dreamed of the beautiful feeding relationship I would have with my son.

Birth day arrived and I had the natural, midwife assisted birth I desired.  Baby A was placed on my chest to have immediate latch, per my birth plan.  As the nurse bent down to assist me in the latching process, her eyes got wide and she snatched up the baby, and left the room with him.  Baby was taken to the NICU, and  it would be 2 days before baby would be able to have anything by mouth.  I pumped every 2 hours to try and stimulate my milk supply and would rejoice in the small amounts of “Liquid Gold” that would be collected.  I syringe feed him the colostrum that 2nd night but was upset when the nurse cracked open a bottle, attached a nipple and insisted baby drink it.  I wanted him syringe or cup feed, or allowed to use an SNS.  This was “not an option” and I was told that there was no harm in this.  As the days went by Baby A struggled to feed from the breast, but I pressed on and did what felt right for us, and was supported by evidenced based practice.  We struggled day in and day out to keep him satiated.   I would pump after each feed to try and build a stockpile, but I couldn’t keep much.  If I didn’t supplement, he would be crying and rooting soon after, and sleep was a write off!  I soon noticed that he was rejecting the breast, and each feed got worse. A long bout of double mastitis would ensue and “sour” my milk, increasing his disdain for the breast.  I continued to try every trick in the book, every piece of knowledge I had gleaned from books, and practice seemed to be of little help, and things did not get better. At the risk of starving my son, I bought my first can of formula, and cried in the aisle of Walmart.  We have Evenflo glass bottles, and Evenflo Anatomic nipples, that I can assure you are the best, most breast-like nipple I have ever seen.  Baby A LOVED how normal they felt.  He “latched” quickly, with perfect “fishy lips” formation. Our goal is to continue to use breast milk every other feed, this happens some days, but other days my body does not produce enough.

It has been a hard pill to swallow, but I have learned a lot through it all that will no doubt be shared with my clients in the future.  I will try to breast feed subsequent children but understand it may not work… managed expectations.