by Kate Furbush
I got to La Ceiba about a month ago, and I can’t believe how much I have learned since then. I came into this program as a nursing student without ever having seen a birth, only with an interest in women’s health and the desire to learn more. My first day in the hospital was a busy one, with about nine women in the labor room. I heard a whimper from behind a curtain and found a girl probably about my age crying quietly and sweating through her contractions. This was her first pregnancy and she was worried and in a lot of pain. Together we tried some breathing techniques and I stayed with her for a couple hours until she delivered, a healthy baby girl. I felt so humbled that I was able to share that moment with her, and proud of her because I saw how hard she worked to have her baby.
Despite a full labor room and a team of doctors and nurses, the women in Hospital Atlantida still often feel very alone during labor because family members are not allowed in and there is a lack of emotional support. Young girls sometimes think they will die from the pain, and often don’t have enough childbirth education or understanding of their own anatomy to understand what is happening to their body. Being afraid, lonely, and tense makes the pain of contractions even worse.
I feel very blessed to have had many other experiences since then with the women in the hospital. I have been there with girls as young as twelve and thirteen, and also with older women who are pregnant with their seventh or eighth child.