Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Life & Death. .. Simple & Complicated.

This particular blog is hard to write. I'm at my sister's dining room table in upstate New York. I see misty rain and hazy blue mountains in the distance; yesterday's snow has melted. I am here because my brother-in-law passed away suddenly and unexpectedly, a few days ago. My sister needed me, and I needed to be here with her. It's a strange thought that from this almost-winter landscape, I'll soon be seeing Haiti's mountains in the distance, but it will be warm and sunny, or else a tropical shower will move through, turning the dusty roads to mud. So, I am packing for Haiti while processing a significant death, and it makes for mixed emotions and poignant reflections. I'll have to pass them on as I go through these coming weeks.

I am prone to feel my life is complicated . My professional life is full and SO busy with work that I love: being with patients, attending births, holding babies, and even, traveling to train midwives in Haiti. It's also recently full of meetings, growth plans, a boatload of email and documents, and waking up at night hoping all the pieces are staying in place. But is that really "complicated"? I have been stopped a few times in my tracks, lately, to reflect on the life and death of things, which is, really, simple. I'm reminded to live each moment in the present, and BE present, while we are here. There is no other way to truly appreciate and honor this life we've been given.

So life goes on, and I go to Haiti November 15th, and I invite you to come along. (I think it is my ninth trip, but I'm about done counting...what's the point? I go to Haiti. Kind of often.) This trip is well-funded from several wonderful donors, so I am not ( hooray!) begging for for money this time for my expenses, but ongoing support for the programs is a huge need. The non-material kind of support is SO important-- friendship, connection, prayer; the knowledge that others have interest and support this work in their hearts, too. Thank you for traveling with me, and sharing the blog with others who may be interested in supporting Midwives for Haiti and/or Heartline Ministries...they keep on needing our help, and the work they do is amazing and important.

For the first time ever, I have travel companions from my local Inova Loudoun Hospital! Two wonderful colleagues have volunteered and found their own great donor support: Jennifer Straub,RN, IBCLC, and Alicia Miller, RNC.
Jen will teach lactation and troubleshooting breastfeeding to a number of American midwives at Heartline Ministries in Post au Prince, and then work with our midwife students at Midwives for Haiti and St. Therese Hospital in Hinche. Breastfeeding is the best way to keep a baby alive in Haiti, so great expertise in helping women breastfeed has immeasurable value.
Alicia and I will work in labor and delivery.
Alicia is a very experienced high-risk OB nurse, and her skills with these at-risk mothers in Haiti will be very helpful, both to work directly with patients, and to share her skills with students.
We will go out on the mobile clinic if we can, as well. I have a strong friendship with the Haitian midwives who work on it, and they are getting so busy these rural clinics that they can easily feel exhausted or overwhelmed. They have seen over 90 mothers at some locations in one day; they can use some help!

We hope to do some tough work, be some help, and have some joys in this week, and I look forward to them: being with dear friends in Haiti, both American ( Beth McHOUL!!! MFH folk!) and many dear Haitian friends ( Theard & family, Manno & fam, and way more!!) I've helped teach the opening of several midwife classes, but never before been able to attend the MFH students' graduation ceremony before. On Sunday, however, we will all put on our nice dresses and see a joyful celebration...stay tuned. Life-- and Haiti-- is full of joy and sorrow, and we will go out and see what's there in Haiti, next week.


  1. I will be in prayer for your trip, Wendy! How exciting that Jennifer will be going with you!!! She's an awesome LC and so gifted.

  2. Love you mom, thinking of you, praying for you and M4H.