This Mother’s Day, we are honored to share Norline’s story, remember baby Evan, and join together in hope for the new little babe expected to arrive this fall.
It was 2018 and Norline and her husband were excited to welcome their first child, a boy. Evan was due in November and Norline felt grateful for the opportunity to receive care at the Heartline Maternity Center. Norline built relationships with other women at the MC who were traveling the same road, both literally and figuratively. Each week, she attended prenatal classes with as many as 75 expectant mothers. She enjoyed this special time for community, education, and prenatal care. After class, Norline and other expectant moms gathered on the porch of the Heartline Maternity Center to wait for their individual prenatal consultation with a midwife. They shared stories of fear, excitement and anticipation. It was a beautiful time of camaraderie.
November finally arrived. Norline was full-term and went into labor. She worked hard for a long time, but her labor didn’t progress. The skilled MC staff determined that the best thing for Norline and baby Evan was to transport them to a local hospital for a cesarean section. From time to time, Heartline’s clients require the procedure and we have arranged relationships with hospitals in Haiti where a doctor can perform the surgery. This was one of those times.
Maternal health in Haiti is subject to significant risk on a good day. Haiti suffers some of the highest rates of maternal and infant mortality in the world. After arriving at the hospital, Norline experienced a cord prolapse. Mismanagement and negligence by the hospital staff tragically resulted in the death of precious baby Evan.
There are no adequate words to express the heartbreak, sadness, loss, and despair of a mother who has lost her child.
We had fallen in love with Norline throughout her pregnancy and were all deeply devastated to hear of her loss. We encouraged Norline to return to the Maternity Center once discharged. On that painful day, we covered her in prayers and love as our community mourned her loss together. Norline ached. Her pain was devastating and she did not know if she would ever be ready to try again. A safe space, the Heartline Maternity Center, served as a place where Norline could find love, comfort and care during her time of mourning. She rested with us for a few days.
Heartline’s model of maternal care is holistic and includes prenatal care, delivery care, breastfeeding support and child development education. It also includes rejoicing and giving thanks for new life along with mourning loss when it occurs.
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.Romans 12:15
Hope and Renewal
At Heartline, we value relationship. This means we’re in it for the long-haul and we stay in touch. In the months following the loss of baby Evan, the midwives continued to check in with Norline.
In February of 2020, Tara received a wonderful message from Norline. “Tara, the time has arrived, I’m pregnant!” You could feel the joy right through her message. As you can imagine, the entire MC family celebrated and rejoiced!
Understandably, Norline is afraid. But she is certainly not alone. The staff at the MC are “all in” for Norline. There is a deep emotional investment from the whole team in helping Norline have a healthy pregnancy and safe delivery.
For Norline’s protection and care, we will be choosing a different medical facility this time around. Due to her medical history, she requires a repeat cesarean section. Norline’s prenatal care will take place at the Heartline Maternity Center.
Author and advocate for the people of Haiti, Mitch Albom, writes,
“But behind all your stories, is your mother’s story. For hers is where yours begins.”
This story has begun and we wait with joyful anticipation for the next chapter this fall.
We envision a world where all women (regardless of their wealth, privilege, or location) and their children are loved and supported with respectful, high-quality care during pregnancy, childbirth, and early motherhood. We envision a world where all moms and their babies flourish together for the long-haul. We envision a world where moms and their children are empowered to change not only their story, but the stories of their communities and their nation for good. This is our prayer for Norline.
Norline and her family represent this vision. Together, we can continue to work toward this vision everyday in Haiti.
This Mother’s Day, give a special gift to the Heartline Maternity Center in honor of a courageous woman in your life and make a lasting impact for mamas and babies in Haiti.
This Mother’s Day, we celebrate the love, sacrifice, and courage of mothers around the world. Will you honor a special woman in your life by caring for Haitian mothers who mean so much to their families?
When you make a donation to the Maternity Center, we’ll send a personalized Mother’s Day ecard to the woman you wish to honor. Your thoughtful gift will ensure that Haitian women and babies receive the highly skilled and compassionate care they deserve.