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Haiti 2012 - Day 5

Day 5: Today was a better day. We woke up and had breakfast, then Pam and I got on motorcycles and went to market day with our two translators. It was like a movie - don't even know if I could describe it. People and goods everywhere. Everything was divided into sections. Shoes, clothes, cooked food, produce, raw food and meats, chunks of chicken, feet, intestines with flies everywhere, live chickens, coal, lumber, just about everything. Then we walked back and stopped at a small store in town that sold linens and hand made cards that is part of a program called 1000 jobs. I bought some beautiful cards. As we were walking past the hospital the mother of the young girl I left in labor yesterday at the end of my shift was walking out and came up to me. She wanted to let us know that her daughter gave birth to a baby girl about an hour after we left and how grateful she was for all the TLC we gave her. We got on motorcycles the rest of the way home and got to work. We had to type up lists for all the supplies and bins we made at the hospital.

As we came downstairs to eat our 2pm meal, Steve the OB/GYN came in from a meeting at the hospital and explained that he needed us to go with him for a transport. He had walked into the maternity unit after his meeting and the midwife was trying to resuscitate a baby but did not really know what she was doing. He began to give the baby breaths with a bag and mask while they went to try and find some oxygen and Nadene (founder midwife of Midwives for Haiti). He began chest compressions and because there was no oxygen tubing he put a nasal cannula hooked to the oxygen under the face mask and continued to give the baby breaths. Nadene joined him at that point and the baby had a heart beat over 100 so they stopped chest compressions but he continued to not breathe. Steve heard the baby make a cry but when he looked down the baby was still not breathing so he looked behind him and on the scale was another baby boy! The woman had had twins! The first baby was breathing so they had set it aside on the scale. The babies were about 33-34 weeks and weighed about 3 1/2 pounds. After 20 minutes the baby finally was breathing on its own. Turns out the mom had been in the hospital for 5 days with a fever and high blood pressure. We put a mattress in the back of the Jeep and Pam, Steve, the translator, the driver, the patient, her husband and her sister and I were off to Cange, about 45 minutes away. In Cange there is the Partners in Health Hospital that Paul Farmer founded from the book Mountains Beyond Mountains. During the drive Pam and I each took care of a baby while keeping them on the mother's chest for warmth. Steve helped care for the mother. Thank God I popped a zofran before we left because the road was windy.

The mother walked up to the maternity unit and we carried the babies to the "NICU" there were no ventilators or even CPAP machines but they had incubators and oxygen.....with some good care we are hopeful that the babies will make it. We took a little time to check out the compound. There were two pediatricians - a husband and a wife from Vermont, who had been coming to Haiti for 2-6 weeks a year for 30 years and had just arrived for a 6 month stay working for Partners in Health - they were about 60 and just lovely. We walked over to the art shop which was run by a lady named Jackie in her 80s from North Carolina, she had been coming here since 1985. She had on hot pink lipstick and was adorable. She was part of the 1000 jobs program and helps Haitians learn skills to create art to sell.

It is weird to be in a place where there is nothing familiar. There is no better part of town. There is nothing for the people of Haiti to do. There are no jobs and there are no businesses here. The largest employer in town is the UN peacekeepers and the second largest is Midwives for Haiti that has 22 people on its payroll. The midwives make $1.50 an hour. The translators make $300 a month and work very hard. They are very dedicated and appreciate the work. The security guards make some small amount and get room and board.

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