Compassionate Maternity Care

by Amy Nguyen 

Being able to work as a doula with Dar a Luz Honduras has been an incredibly rewarding and eye-opening experience. I have been working at one of the hospitals for the past three days and already have seen how modeling compassionate and respectful care has had a large impact on the maternity ward. As a doula here, this can be through holding hands, giving massages, verbal reassurance, or giving the mothers reminders or suggestions on how to manage the pain, which is especially helpful since no family members are allowed into the unit.  Much of the staff is supportive of the doulas and there are many student doctors here, who can be the ones to bring more compassionate care to all of Honduras.

Dar a Luz is currently producing a video to address human rights during childbirth, respectful maternity care, and obstetric violence. The contents have been approved by the Health Department of Honduras and the video will be distributed to hospitals and health education centers around the country to aid in providing consistency of care.

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Amy, Silvia and Lic. Iris, thanks Amy!

As a doula in a foreign country, I have found that the advice Dar a Luz gives rings true: what is most important is to bring a compassionate and open heart.

– Amy, writing from Santa Lucía, Honduras

Providing valuable education and resourses

by Mary Evans

In November/December of 2015, I had the opportunity to work as a volunteer doula for Dar a Luz Honduras in three public hospitals in three different cities. In each labour and delivery department, I was welcomed by the staff and was able to participate in all aspects of labour, birth and immediate postpartum. It was very evident that Dar A Luz had been present in all three hospitals. There were posters about their ‘Campaign For Respectful Birth’ and reminders on the walls about protecting the perineum and avoiding the use of fundal pressure. In one hospital, there were curtains supplied by Dar a Luz which could be closed in order to give labouring women some privacy. In another hospital there were sheets provided by Dar a Luz because there often were not enough sheets for labouring mothers to lie on or under.

I was able to be part of a workshop Continue reading

Childbirth Education

by Cassandra West

Fellow volunteer Zoe and myself have been running Dar a Luz birth education workshops for pregnant women in Santa Rosa. There were 30 women at the first workshop we did. In order to help break the ice and foster a warm atmosphere we started with a raffle where people won prizes of baby clothes. This went down well and caused many smiles. We then prayed together, something that deeply resonates with Honduran women here. It was really beautiful. The workshop felt really valuable and provided information that not all of these women were aware of. Some did not know what a placenta was, for example. Having such knowledge helps prevent shock and fear during labor! It was a wonderful experience and we look forward to running the workshop again next week. A wonderful consequence of this work, too, was that some of the women we ran workshops with also ended up being in hospital while we were there. We had already developed a relationship with them and this helped them during labour, fostering a more comforting atmosphere. Such beautiful work Dar a Luz supports here.

Rural Birth Work

bdscn1009y Griet Vandamme

My name is Griet, a midwife from Belgium who spent 7 weeks working for Dar a Luz in Honduras.

I contacted Silvia whilst volunteering in another project in Guatemala. Within a month everything was arranged and I stepped out of the bus in La Ceiba, my first stop.

I am very grateful to Silvia for making it possible to do a lot of different things for Dar A Luz. I worked in a public city hospital as a doula in La Ceiba, I worked in the small mountain village Yarucca training local midwives. I also spent some time in a maternal-infant clinic and healthcare centre close to Copan Ruinás giving information to pregnant girls and women. In between I was able to explore the beautiful Honduras a little more.

But for me the most impressive experience was working and staying for two weeks in La Moskitia, Honduras’ tropical rainforest that also covers a part of Nicaragua. The Miskitos own this beautiful part of Honduras and with their own language Miskito and their cultural habits they try to make the best of their lives. There is no access to basic needs like electricity and running water. This part of Honduras can only be reached by taking a boatride after a long and adventurous ride in a jeep.

The village of Ibans has a centro de salud which became my home for 2 weeks. Continue reading

La Moskitia- Rural Birth Work

by Griet Vandamme

DSCN1184My name is Griet, a midwife from Belgium who spent 7 weeks working for Dar a Luz in Honduras.

I contacted Silvia whilst volunteering in another project in Guatemala. Within a month everything was arranged and I stepped out of the bus in La Ceiba, my first stop.

I am very grateful to Silvia for making it possible to do a lot of different things for Dar A Luz. I worked in a public city hospital as a doula in La Ceiba, I worked in the small mountain village Yarucca training local midwives. I also spent some time in a maternal-infant clinic and healthcare centre close to Copan Ruinás giving information to pregnant girls and women. In between I was able to explore the beautiful Honduras a little more.

But for me the most impressive experience was working and staying for two weeks in La Moskitia, Honduras’ tropical rainforest that also covers a part of Nicaragua. The Miskitos own this beautiful part of Honduras and with their own language Miskito and their cultural habits they try to make the best of their lives. There is no access to basic needs like electricity and running water. This part of Honduras can only be reached by taking a boatride after a long and adventurous ride in a jeep.

The village of Ibans has a centro de salud which became my home for 2 weeks. The centro de salud was located in the centre of the village and perfect for me as a starting point to be able to visit local midwives, pregnant women and new mothers with their babies. Continue reading

Thanks to Jenna!

Jenna, thank you so much for all your wonderful support!

Thousands thanks yo your community for all the wonderful donations you brought with you!

Thanks to the lady, which donated a lot of gently used children shoes for unprotected children feet here in Honduras!

Thanks for your judge fundraising action and for all the wonderful materials you purchased for us, as fetoscopes, pinards, blood pressure cuffs, essential oils, for bringing down two heavy extra suitcase.

Thanks for all the ring slings, the fabric, the sawing materials, for EVERYTHING!

And overall, thank you for coming to Honduras, to join us here, for your big heart and for being a doula for a lot of women in one of the public hospitals of Honduras!

Thanks for donating your time! Thanks to all the people , which supported your trip!

Compassion and Respect

by Virginia Mccabe

I have been working as a doula/ birth companion for the birthing mothers. My responsibilities are to comfort and support the women throughout their labor. The job is very rewarding! The women are not allowed to have family members in the labor ward so having someone to talk to, hold their hand and comfort is very appreciated by the women.

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Lottery at the Childbirth education Class

During my time here I have been a part of a great hands-on birthing class, hosted by Silva. We had a wide range of experienced to new mothers, even a nurse joined us. I thought the information was very informative, the women gained very useful knowledge on birth and were all very grateful.

Working for Dar a Luz is very flexible. You can take a few days off in order to enjoy the beautiful islands around Honduras. Or you can work in different areas.

For me, my time and experience here has been invaluable. I came here wanting to help these women because they don’t have the same birthing luxuries as in my country but deserve the same compassion and respect. Although we speak a different language love and kindness transcends any language barrier. Coming away from this I now know that birth is what I want to study, to become a midwife.

Thanks to Emily and Christianna!

Christianna and Emliy

Christianna,Doula and Nurse Midwife from the United States, and Emily, Doula from England.

Out of my heart a big thanks to you Christianna and Emliy! You came both at the same time! You did an amazing job!  It has been amazing to have you here! And I am looking forward to see you again! Thank you for supporting so many women in the hospital for participating in the childbirth educationc and supporting the seminar for respectful birth! Thanks for all your good ideas and deep understanding of the aims of the project!

Thanks to you Christanna for doing placenta models, preparing and holding an RCP for newborn workshop, for all the donations you brought along with you and you organized! Thanks to you Emily for supporting office work, and your wonderful initiative and ideas to support breastfeeding  in the hospital!

All the best wishes from Honduras!

 

Another Thanks!

Ashleigh

 

Hi Ashleigh! It has been so amazing to have you here. Thanks so much for being a loving and caring doula in the hospital. I know you supported so many women and worked long shifts. Thanks especially for the amazing office work you did, and for contributing your excellent skills to our project! Thanks for supporting our project from home and for wanting to come back next year!

Lots of Babies

Christianna and Emliy

Midwife Chrsitianna and Doula Emily

by Emily Housman

Being in Honduras is a wonderful thing to do. There’s loads of fresh fruit, smiling la Ceiba faces, happy honking taxis, gorgeous islands and stunning mountains that look awesome when the clouds at the top light up with the golden light. There are also many people without much money, random power-cuts, plastic bags in the streets, mangos falling from trees, and lots and lots of babies being born.

It’s been so wonderful to spend my days here being with women who go to the local hospital to be cared for as they bring their kid into this world. About 20 expectants mums find themselves there each day. They are incredible. Having a baby can be really difficult when conditions aren’t conducive. There’s a real humbling feeling that settles in when I’m with them, and be there with them through it all. Some of them are really quite young, in their teens. I usually only go home when I’m out of energy, because I would prefer just to be there with them. They all have such big hearts.

I’ve been really delighted that all the women I’ve asked have wanted to breastfeed their babies. The truth is that lots don’t, despite their hopes, especially when there’s a long time to wait for their baby after the birth. I encourage them that they truly do have enough milk, at first they aren’t so sure. It’s heartwarming when I show pictures of the babies to the families waiting outside.

I feel so grateful to be here for this time to share with the women and support them in having a more loving birth experience.

Today was awesome because a campaign began here at the hospital all about Respecting Birth. Presentations by Silvia and a well-respected local gynecologist covered issues from benefits of delayed cord clamping and skin to skin, to why not to do so many episiotomies and Kristeller maneuvers. Let’s protect the perineum. Posters have gone up in the delivery room and ward. It’s another step towards a better experience for each laboring mum.

Next week I‘ll be spending some time on a island not too far from here where there are beautiful underwater reefs and fish, and I’m sure lots of coconut trees. There are also fancy hotels where people come from all over the world to enjoy cocktails and the ocean views, and around the corners are lots of shanty homes, busy streets, and meandering tourists. There is also a hospital, and lots of babies being born.