Why I’m Going to Haiti in October with Midwives for Haiti

by Chloe Jeffreys · 36 comments

in Haiti

When I joined Twitter the first celebrity (okay, maybe the only celebrity) who followed me was Christy Turlington. Ms. Turlington is also the first celebrity (okay, maybe the only celebrity) to retweet me.

It probably isn’t obvious at first glance what in the world Christy Turlington and I could possibly have in common. But what we share is a passion for maternal-child health.  Christy, a maternal health advocate through her organization, Every Mother Counts and me, a labor and delivery RN, both want to see a global decrease in maternal mortality rates.

Every two minutes a woman dies from a complication of pregnancy and childbirth. The causes of these deaths varies from country to country, and culture to culture, but experts agree that 90% of these deaths are preventable.

Ever since I became aware of Every Mother Counts I have been asking myself what more I can do. Again and again, I visited Christy’s website and looked at the volunteer opportunities listed there.  Again and again, Midwives for Haiti called to me. And each time I answered the call by saying to myself, “Someday.”

What is Midwives for Haiti?

Midwives for Haiti collaborates with the Ministry of Health of Haiti to teach Haitian men and women the midwifery skills that make them skilled birth attendants.
midwives for haiti
This last May, I was invited to be on a podcast panel with Christy, and several other bloggers, to discuss Every Mother Counts’ Mother’s Day and the Pinterest project, Know Mother’s Day. I wrote about that experience here

During that podcast, I asked Christy what more I could do as a Registered Nurse with 20+ years of experience in maternal-child health. Christy suggested Midwives for Haiti.

Since that podcast the call to Haiti has grown louder and louder. But I had many great excuses to keep saying, “Someday.”

Would going to Haiti be something I could do? I’ve never been to Haiti. I’ve never even wanted to go to Haiti. I’d have to take time off from work. It would cost money that I’d rather spend elsewhere.

Then, early last week someone in my life offered to help pay my way.  My husband encouraged me to take the money and go ahead and go. It would seem all of my excuses were suddenly gone. So I went to the Midwives for Haiti website and filled out the application. Three days later I had a phone interview, and just like that, I’m going to Haiti in October.

What Will I be Doing in Haiti?

I will be going to serve as a Registered Nurse. My jobs might include going out with the mobile prenatal clinic, working in the hospital maternity unit alongside Haitian care-providers, and/or teaching midwives in the classroom.

I’m nervous/excited/scared/thrilled/terrified/curious.  The number one cause of death of pregnant Haitian women is eclampsia. If any of you watch Downton Abbey you remember that’s what killed Sybil. I’ve never experienced the death of a mother under my care. The website says that babies die primarily from prematurity because there are no NICUs there. The pre-trip information informs me that, on average, 2-6 babies die a week at the hospital I’ll be working at. I’ve seen babies die, but it’s a rare experience, not a daily one.

But most of all I’m in awe at how God will work in our lives when we step away from all of our excuses, and all our fears, and step out in faith to do the work we’re called to do in this life. I feel truly called to go and do this.

At the bottom of this post you’ll find the podcast with Christy. If you go to 19:35 you’ll hear me ask Christy what I can do to help, and her answer that has changed my life.

 

 

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Jack August 13, 2013 at 6:53 am

Sounds very cool Chloe. This is great.
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Chloe Jeffreys August 15, 2013 at 10:56 am

Thanks, Jack! Nice to see you around.

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Stephanie August 12, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Wow, Chloe! I’m a follower of Tara and Troy Livesay’s Haiti blog and knowing what I do of the needs there for maternal care and health, and of your background, experience, and passion for this topic, this just strikes me as a wonderful thing.

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Chloe Jeffreys August 15, 2013 at 10:57 am

Thank you, Stephanie. I am so happy to be able to pull together my skills as a blogger and an L&D RN for this very worthwhile organization. It is truly an opportunity of a lifetime.

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Donna August 12, 2013 at 1:38 pm

What an exciting endeavor! I look forward to reading your account of your journey to Haiti and how you will be helping.
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Chloe Jeffreys August 15, 2013 at 10:58 am

Thank you, Donna! I hope to bring the stories of this journey home and help make the situation in Haiti real for my readers.

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Beverly Diehl August 12, 2013 at 10:20 am

So impressed and moved. Mothers DO/SHOULD count, and from what my friends who’ve gone to Haiti in various capacities tell me, it will change your life forever – as well as changing the life of those mothers and babies.
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Chloe Jeffreys August 15, 2013 at 10:59 am

Beverly, thank you for commenting. I am already starting to feel the change, and I haven’t even left my house yet.

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Holly August 12, 2013 at 9:17 am

We are so proud to have been involved in connecting you with Christy and her work and can’t wait to hear about your adventures. What a mitzvah.
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Chloe Jeffreys August 15, 2013 at 10:59 am

Holly, thank you so much for inviting me to be part of the podcast. It literally changed my life.

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A Pleasant House August 12, 2013 at 8:36 am

This is wonderful Chloe! I especially am drawn to women helping women. What a great cause!
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Chloe Jeffreys August 15, 2013 at 11:00 am

Midwives for Haiti is the sort of organization I love. It’s along the lines of “teach a man to fish” which I think has the best chance for longterm good. I’m thrilled to be part of this program.

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Diane N - Philzendia August 12, 2013 at 6:59 am

What an awesome way to give back. I’ve been to Haiti and despite what you see in the news, it’s a beautiful country.
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Chloe Jeffreys August 15, 2013 at 11:01 am

Thank you, Diane! I have heard and seen so many horrible pictures that I don’t really know what to expect. I’m trying to keep both my mind and my heart open.

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Sally August 12, 2013 at 6:35 am

Your life is going to be disrupted in a beautiful way. Serving in a third-world culture changed me at my core.

Though you have much to give, don’t be surprised if the overwhelming need causes you to feel as if your contribution is only a drop of water in a desert of need. I believe that God will enable you to use all of your critical thinking skills, passion, and experience to bring healing to you and to others.

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Chloe Jeffreys August 15, 2013 at 11:02 am

I have been to the Tijuana Colonias, but only as an observer, not as a service worker. This will be an entirely new experience for me, and definitely outside of my comfort zone.

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Julie August 12, 2013 at 5:39 am

I am so happy for you. What a great way to share your talents.
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Chloe Jeffreys August 15, 2013 at 11:02 am

Thank you, Julie!

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Marci Rich August 12, 2013 at 5:31 am

I think what you’re doing is wonderful, Chloe. And until reading your post I had no idea that so many babies in Haiti die during childbirth…or that the number one cause of death among pregnant women in Haiti is eclampsia. Godspeed on this important journey of yours!
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Chloe Jeffreys August 15, 2013 at 11:03 am

Thank you, Marci. It is incredible to think that so many mothers and babies die from conditions that are easily treatable in this country.

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Pat August 12, 2013 at 5:08 am

Wow Chloe
What a noble sacrifice and I have no doubt you will rise to the calling. My 20-year-old niece, a nurse in training, just returned from a medical service project providing heath care for in the impoverished villages of the Dominican Republic. It was a transforming experience. Good luck.
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Chloe Jeffreys August 15, 2013 at 11:04 am

Thank you, Pat. I am excited and terrified at the same time. I have no idea what to expect, so I’m just trying to keep my mind open.

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Julia August 12, 2013 at 3:21 am

I’m so excited that you are listening to that call!! So proud of you for stepping outside your comfort zone. <3

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Chloe Jeffreys August 15, 2013 at 11:04 am

Thank you, Julia. This is definitely outside of my comfort zone!

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rodalena August 11, 2013 at 9:21 pm

This is how to be a beautiful human being: give of yourself to those who need your help. Thank you, Chloe, for yet again being…you.

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Chloe Jeffreys August 15, 2013 at 11:03 am

Thank you, Rodalena. You inspire me to be more than I am.

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Lois August 11, 2013 at 9:10 pm

Chloe, I am so proud of you. It is so awesome you’re doing this, and I can’t wait to hear about every minute of it. xo

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Chloe Jeffreys August 15, 2013 at 11:05 am

Thank you, Lois. I know how deeply you care about social issues, so it means a lot coming from you.

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Elizabeth Lee August 11, 2013 at 8:33 pm

I’m so glad you’re going. This will be a very good thing. You’ll be saving lives.
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Chloe Jeffreys August 15, 2013 at 11:05 am

I hope so, Elizabeth. I really hope so.

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Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs August 11, 2013 at 7:56 pm

Wow! I’m so happy and excited for you! Congratulations on heeding the call. I look forward to your stories of the hearts and lives you touch and the difference you and your group make.

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Chloe Jeffreys August 15, 2013 at 11:06 am

Thank you, Lisa! I hope to bring back great stories that will help make Haiti real for my readers.

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Suzanne August 11, 2013 at 7:30 pm

This is so exciting! So happy for you!

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Chloe Jeffreys August 15, 2013 at 11:06 am

Thank you, Suzanne!

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