Haiti has felt somewhat shaky since July of 2018, but the last several months have been volatile, with gangs taking control of several areas of Port au Prince. Things have escalated in recent weeks as fuel shortages and strikes have paralyzed much of country. There is little to no public transport, and hospitals are closing due to fuel shortages resulting in the inability to run their generators. Electricity is unreliable in Haiti, therefore businesses rely on generators to maintain consistent power for their operation.
Daniella arrived at Heartline Maternity Center during last week’s “peyi lok.” Peyi lok (“country lockdown”) describes the situation in Haitian Creole with schools, courts, businesses, public services, and economic production essentially shut down. She was in early labor with her first baby. All was well, and we hoped Daniella would deliver soon, but as labor dragged into the second day with little progress, we began to hold our breath. Hospitals were closing due to fuel shortages, and the roads were apocalyptically empty because everyone knew that venturing out could mean becoming a victim of kidnapping or robbery. Transporting Daniella for a possible c-section became a risk that we all had hoped to avoid.
As Daniella labored, the midwives changed shifts, and each midwife pulled out all the tricks she knew to help her labor progress. It was the early morning hours of October 26th when Daniella finally reached 10cm but felt she could not push her baby out. Her baby was beginning to show signs of distress and fatigue from the long labor. Mica, the midwife on shift, began talking about trying to find a way to transport Daniella but felt concerned as the roads were unsafe and finding a hospital to receive her would be difficult to impossible. Heartline’s Head of Security, Bredy, had stayed the night at the Maternity Center to be available to travel with the midwives, should transport be required. Just before transport, Mica decided to try to help Daniella push her baby out one last time.
There’s a little trick we use in labor sometimes – tug of war. Mica called Bredy into the room, handed him a towel, and instructed Daniella to pull on the other end of the towel as she tried to push her baby out. Youseline, a Heartline midwife two weeks postpartum herself, was next door in our postpartum room recovering from complications from her own delivery. She came over and helped hold Daniella’s leg as she pushed. It was quite a scene! Sancara, Youseline, Mica, and Bredy encouraged Daniella as she moved her baby down. At 6:47 am, after many, many hours of labor, baby Chloè was born.
Chloè entered the world surrounded by love and support in a time when her country was and continues to be in the midst of intense turmoil. The name Chloè means “young green shoot,” which translates as “blooming.” We relentlessly hope there will be days of blooming and flourishing ahead for Chloè, for Haiti, and future generations.
When you invest in families through Heartline, you are in the delivery room with us. You make it possible. You are there cheering for little Chloè to bloom and for Haiti to come through this season stronger and better than before.
Heartline Ministries invests in families in Haiti through a holistic approach that focuses on maternal healthcare, economic empowerment, children’s education, and community outreach. We also invest in families in Bell County, TX through our birth and wellness center, The Starting Place.