This blog is coming out much later than expected; however, it seemed fitting since this weekend will be the one year anniversary of my Haiti trip.
It has taken much time to process my experience there. Although I cannot begin to express all the details, I absolutely loved working with the Haitian midwives, moms, and babies. In the process, I also learned many lessons. One of those lessons was: “what is the true essence of being a Midwife” and “what is it to stand at the gate of life and death?” Many modern midwives participate in mostly births. These occasions are joyous. However, traditionally midwives would not only attend births, but also attend the sick and the dying. We held their hand, gave them comfort, and ministered to them and their families. If the person’s time to leave this earth had come, we witnessed their spirit cross from this world to next.
In Haiti, I had this honor. One baby at gestation 29 weeks(ish) was delivered in the back of a tap-tap (Haitian pickup taxi). This baby girl, small and nearly lifeless, tried to take breaths. As we drove to the nearest hospital, resuscitating, she showed signs of fight. She was doing really well for a while. However, with a 1.5-hour trip with heavy traffic to the hospital, she began to fade again. We arrived at the hospital and the hospital staff wheeled us to the NICU. Soon we realized this Haitian hospital didn’t have the equipment to help her and sustain her. She died shortly after, having skin to skin and feeling warm and loved. It was truly the most difficult transition to witness, but there was no greater honor than to watch her enter into the arms of Jesus.
A midwife isn’t born equipped in her calling. Rather she is made and shaped as she pursues her calling. The truest essences of a midwife is her passion and resolve to stand at the gate of life and death. This is developed deep within her very being and cultivated with her own experiences and the wisdom of the women before her and with her. Her strength rises to meet what is required of her.
Traditional Midwives have the honor of witnessing and supporting many of life’s transitions throughout all stages, from first breath to final breath. This is what it means to stand at the gate of life and death. This is a calling of a MIDWIFE.