It Takes a Village And You Can Help!

This is my birth month.  Not the month I was born but, the month I gave birth.  It's appropriate that it's Thanksgiving because I have a LOT to be thankful for.  If you've been reading my blog for any period of time you know that I do not believe in coincidences.  Tonight was one of those nights that made me sit back and smile. Last week I was talking to my cousin and telling her that I felt like I needed to do some sort of ministry for babies but wasn't sure what that would look like. I knew what I wanted to do but wasn't sure how to get it done.  We were so blessed with so much when the frog princess was born! I am always looking for ways to pay it forward.  I do this by finding people that need some of the things I have and passing it on to them. But the one thing I keep thinking about is how, in third world countries (like the one I as born in) some children leave hospitals wrapped in a towel because their families have no clothes for them. How could I get clothes to those kids? This has been on my heart for weeks now.

Tonight, as I was driving with one of my birth mamas for some coffee, I started telling her about this and as she checked her phone to see about the traffic jam we were in, she noticed that by sheer "coincidence", she'd received an email from our birth class teacher, Terri, owner of Beautiful Birthings.  She is in midwifery school and is traveling to my country of birth to...(wait for it...) go deliver babies!  Again, no coincidences.

I was instantly moved to write this blog though I had none scheduled for today (I'm cool like that with an editorial calendar and whatnot, well, at least this week). Here's why: I'm being told to move and I've learned that I need to heed that Voice when I hear it.

Here's Terri's story in her own words:

I am a senior midwifery student at the Florida School of Traditional Midwifery. My school work has been incredibly challenging although participating in home births has been amazingly rewarding. I am sure you know how much I love midwifery care and how passionate I am about midwifery. I am devoted to giving women and their families safe midwifery care, informed consent and respect during their pregnancy and birth. At this point in my schooling I am acting as the primary midwife. I currently carry out prenatal care, deliver babies and follow up with women during their postpartum visits under the supervision of my preceptor. I feel blessed to know that I am working at something I love. I am eagerly looking forward to opening a home birth practice next year!

Serving women in a developing country has always been an aspiration of mine. I have decided to travel to the Dominican Republic and work in a local hospital for 10 days. On January 9th I will be boarding a plane and traveling to Azua (just west of Santo Domingo) to deliver babies at the Hospital Regional Taiwan. This hospital delivers up to 15 babies every day and many women travel from all over Dominican Republic and Haiti to have their babies at this location.

The hospital I will be working at can have up to 8 women laboring in the same room. Doctors don’t have enough gloves and often wash the gloves they utilize between uses. Their collection device for sutures and needles is an old milk jug taped to the bed. In this hospital the beds are rusted and some don’t even have sheets. Moms rarely have any choices during their labor and pain medication is not available. Birth for women at this hospital can be a scary event that can last for days. A previous volunteer had said “We are there to learn a lot and also to be a blessing to the poor.” My hope on this trip is not to “save the world” and confront the birth practices that currently exist. Instead, I want to reach out to the moms that I will have contact with. I want to lead by example as well as give a little more compassion to a country where birth is not as respected. I recognize that during this trip I will grow as a human being and as a midwife. All my experiences will be brought back with me and applied to my future practice.

The financial stress of paying school tuition, driving 25,000 miles a year, being a single mom, and precepting full time at various midwifery clinics has left me very little money to afford a trip like this. I am required to pay for my plane ticket, lodging, food, and the volunteer fee. I will also be donating supplies to the hospital and families once I am there. I am writing to you in hopes that you will make a financial donation to aid my desire in helping women less fortunate than us. My intention is to raise $2,000 to cover all my costs. I must have everything paid for in the next 2 weeks. I have set up a PayPal donation account and my gratitude goes out to everyone who is able to financially support this trip.

As mentioned above, I will be bringing 2 suitcases full of supplies.  If you are local to the Orlando area, I will come pick them up! I have included a list of supplies the hospital has requested:

  • Gloves (sterile and non sterile)
  • Delivery instruments
  • Chucks pads (disposable or washable)
  • Single bed sheets top and bottom
  • Summer baby clothes / blankets size  infant-12 mo
  • Photo paper / 4×6 for moms to get picture of baby
  • Soaps, shampoos and towels for moms and babies
  • Spanish books or info on pregnancy, birth, post partum, breastfeeding and Bibles
  • General OB / L&D items
  • bulb syringes
  • OB meds
  • surgical cloths
  • thermometers
  • O2 equipment
  • ambu bags
  • breast pumps
  • disposable baby wipes

If you know of anyone interested in donating to this trip, please forward this message to them. Every dollar helps! Thank you so much for your generosity!

Here is my story: Terri is passionate about moms empowering themselves to have the type of birth that they want, whatever that might look like for them. She was very knowledgeable during the class and I was sad that she didn't take me seriously when I told her this baby was not going to be past due because we had a project plan. Terri was going on vacation and could not be my doula because of that conflict.

I have heard of babies that leave maternity wards in Dominican Republic wrapped in a towel because the moms don't have clothes and neither do the hospitals.  I remember the FIVE baby showers I had, the gifts after my baby girl was born and I cannot ignore this need.  I will try my best to give Terri what I can (and it ain't much these days).  But above and beyond that, I want to try and provide babies with a Welcome box. Perhaps a few onesies, some socks, etc. They don't have to be new. We all know how some of those items of clothing that we had for baby weren't ever even worn, right? Most women won't mind if they've been gently used.  Cloth diapers and pads would be ideal as well.  I also want to see if I can collect some of the supplies needed as I can send additional items and will commit to the expense of shipping a box (or boxes) of supplies ahead of Terri for use and distribution.

My mom and I always wanted to do something for babies.  Doing something in our country of birth was always in the back of our heads.  Now, I have an opportunity to do this in her name.  Are you able to help? Do you have a few things lying around the house taking up space that you'd like to get rid of? Perhaps you have a $5 in your pocket for your latte tomorrow.  Would you mind donating that for Terri's trip?  If you are a brand, what can you do to help us? Maybe you can donate some diapers or thermometers? Or a box or 2 of surgical gloves.  Every little bit helps.  After all, it takes a village, don't you think?

Click to donate to Terri's trip!