I wanted to share a photo of the maternity in one of the public hospitals in Honduras. As you can see, the layout is a bit different from any hospital in the United States.     In this hospital, the women labor together in one room. When the head is on the perineum they are moved to the expulsivo (through the door) where the baby will be born. There are some curtains for privacy, but they are not used in this hospital. Your first thought may be that this is terrible.  That poor quality care is the result to expect in a less wealthy country.  I want toRead More →

I know planning for the next trip has started, but I wanted to share a few things from the Honduras trip. One of my jobs in Honduras was the training of traditional birth attendants in neonatal resuscitation.  An interesting and useful fact about fresh babies is that 9 out of 10 times when a baby doesn’t initiate breathing on its own, breathing can be stimulated with positive pressure ventilation.  What is that?  Forcing a little air in the babies lungs. In the hospital this is done with ambu-bags – those masks with the big bulb someone squeezes. I took some special ambu-bags with me on thisRead More →

The program I am working through in Honduras puts volunteer doulas in public hospitals.  The idea is that the presence of a doula will begin the process of making changes in the way women are treated.  It is a nice concept, and only time will tell if it will really work.  In the mean time, it does provide some comfort for women who would otherwise be left to manage labor alone. The problem for me is that I now have skills beyond childbirth educator and doula, and the staff of the hospital knows this.  This gives me a bit more freedom with what I canRead More →

My Spanish skills are improving slowly every day, but the gap between myself and the women I am serving in Honduras remains wide. Working cross-culturally isn’t just about being able to use the same language, it is about having an understanding of the different meanings of normal every day existence.  It is about coping with different resources. It is about understanding the principle and not the rule. As an example, one of my duties is to teach a childbirth class to a group of women who are staying in a maternity home. They come to the hospital two or three weeks before their due dateRead More →

I don’t normally have my computer with me during the day and can only access the internet at the few cafes that provide free WiFi for my phone to tap into.  But today I decided to work on my thesis and so here I am able to provide you with an update of the trip. The first two weeks were in La Ceiba, a busy Caribbean city with a diverse population. My days were spent at a public hosptial providing doula care.  I also spent a day providing neonatal resuscitation training to a group of rural midwives and trained two trainers of neonatal resuscitation. It was inRead More →

While I am in Honduras I will have the opportunity to work as a doula in some hospitals.  This will force me to improve my Spanish (which slowly forms in my head but rarely makes it out my mouth). I was searching for important terms to study when I came across this blog that gives you a month of midwife Spanish terms to learn.  How fun.  Enjoy!    Read More →

For those of you who think you might want to get into international work, remember to be flexible.  Case in point, I had a conference call with the leader of the organization I am volunteering with in Honduras today.  There is a slight change of plans in the work she wants me to do – nothing drastic but a change.  Seems she has forgotten about the bonding part and is hoping I can teach neonatal resuscitation in the hospitals and to all the midwife groups in every area.  Hmmm…I don’t think I communicated right about what the program was. But I am flexible and the equipment withRead More →

The Honduras trip is coming up soon.  I’ve been quietly preparing for it as I finished the semester, completed my clinical hours and returned to Michigan for a much needed rest with family.  In fact, as I write this I have been in the midst of studying Spanish phrases relevant to maternal health. When people find out what I do, they often comment about how they want to work in international midwifery.  I wonder if they are thinking they would like to tour the world with a focus on maternity systems, or if they truly understand what international/global midwifery is all about. For example, IRead More →

It’s nearly the end of the semester, and I am just about finished with the work I need to complete.  Well, complete for school this semester any way. I am just starting work on my practicum, and now that I have the tickets booked I can announce that this summer I will be working with Dar a Luz in Honduras. Off to do some more studying, but wanted to give you the link to Dar a Luz so you can start checking them out.Read More →