Krista’s First Month

by Krista Blakelock

Krista and Doña Dunias Dogs

Doula Krista and seven new puppies

Krista and Ashleigh

Doula Krista and Doula Ashleigh

I am surprised that it has already been one month since I arrived in La Ceiba, Honduras. The time has gone by so fast and I am excited to continue working for Dar A Luz in Santa Rosa de Copan.  For the month of June I will work in a public hospital, as well as in a hogar materno teaching child birth education and prenatal yoga.

Working in the public hospital of La Ceiba  at least five days a week for six or more hours each day, I was able to support more 50 women during their labour and see 36 babies come into the world. Some days were incredibly draining: emotionally, physically and mentally but every morning I woke up with the desire to return.

At first I was nervous because I couldn’t speak Spanish very well, and thought that without words I would not be able to connect with the women as I do in Canada. I learned very quickly that there is immense value to simply holding a hand, offering a hair elastic, bringing a clean hospital gown or saying over and over again “usted es muy fuerte.”

I have seen a lot very upsetting practices that I never imagined could happen in a hospital but, I have also been able to marvel at the strength and courage of all the women and girls who come into the labour room and persevere. It has been very rewarding to learn about Honduran culture, gender roles, social issues as well as sample different foods, watch people dance in the streets and learn spanish.

 

 

 

 

 

My time in Honduras

by Nancy Bettis

In October 2013, I travelled to Honduras to volunteer as a birthing partner for the organisation Dar A Luz which is run by Sylvia Bahr. Whilst there I witnessed her devotion and the incredible support she gives to the women of La Ceiba (and other locations in Honduras). Sylvia selflessly dedicates her own time to supporting and equally importantly educating women and teenagers of La Ceiba teaching them what to expect in pregnancy and child birth. Her work is invaluable and I was humbled to spend time in her presence. Sylvia also runs workshops for doctors and midwives. Above other topics one important is teaching them how a more compassionate, supportive Continue reading

Wonderful Midwife Support

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Rhonda teaching in San Ignacio

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Rhonda and tradional midwife Juanita

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Some of San Ignacios Midwives

by Kristi Macaulay

A warm thank you goes out to Rhonda Lee Grantham.
Rhonda is an experienced midwife and doula in Olympia, Washington. (Wild Rose Midwifery). She is a homebirth and a hospital midwife. With a lot of international experience, she deeply understands the role of a doula and midwife in a country like Honduras.

During her stay in Honduras, Rhonda volunteered as a Doula in 3 different hospitals throughout the country. Her midwife skills were put to use in San Ignacio during a 5 midwife training seminar, where together with Silvia, Rhonda prepared the curriculim. This was the first ever intense training seminar facilitated by Dar a Luz.  Rhonda also hold a one day midwife seminar in the mountains of La Ceiba. Her talents also extended into the office, where she was a great help with administration and public relations for Dar a Luz.

Rhonda is an open minded midwife. Her empathy, compassion and intuition was invaluable. Thank you Rhonda!

Donations from Canada and Thank you Carmen!

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Carmen and Silvia

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Beautiful and much needed Donations

by Kristi Macaulay

Dar a Luz would like to extend a big thank you to Carmen Wiebe.
During her stay in Honduras, Carmen volunteered in two different hospitals supporting women in labour and delivery.  She also kindly helped with public relations and administration. Her assistance also extend prior to her stay in Honduras with the help and support of her community in Canada, where Carmen collected and donated  much needed items for use of Dar a Luz initiatives, including Canadian handmade and store bought baby clothes, as well as sewing kits for the Breast Feeding Pillow Project.

The project in Roatan, Experience

by Lori Berkermer

I am a Nurse Practitioner, Childbirth Educator and Doula from the US. I recently had an incredible opportunity, thanks to Dar a Luz Honduras, to spend 10 days volunteering as a doula in the public hospital on Roatan in the beautiful Bay Islands in Honduras. I supported 10 women during their labor and delivery while I was there and felt very privileged to share in their birth experiences. Life is not easy for these women. They deliver at the public hospital because they do not have health insurance or the means to pay for private care. The hospital, as with all the public health facilities in Honduras, is in need of repair and lacks many basic medical supplies. The laboring women are not allowed to have any partner or family member at their bedside during labor. So that’s where the volunteer doulas come in. I was able to give comfort in anyway I could…a back massage, holding their hand or letting them squeeze my arm. The nurses and doctors were watching my every move. That’s a good thing. I was trying to set an example on how easy it is to show a kindness. Building relationships with the nurses and doctors allowed me to talk with them about the benefits to the laboring women of changing positions during labor, walking and even taking sips of fluids.  Much education is still needed and protocols change very slowly in Honduras but with each volunteer a little knowledge is left behind.

Thanks again Silvia for this opportunity. Hopefully I can return someday. Keep up the great work!

Some of my Experience

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.

Tinas Experience in German

Ich freue mich die Erfahrung in Honduras mit Dar a Luz gemacht zu haben und würde gerne auch alle, die Interesse haben daran teilhaben lassen.

Ich bin 22 Jahre alt und im 3. Semester der Gesundheits- und Kinderkrankenpflege- Ausbildung in Deutschland. Von meiner Ausbildungsstätte bekam ich die Erlaubnis ein Auslandspraktikum zu machen. Voller Begeisterung machte ich mich auf die Suche nach dem passenden und habe dann die Internetseite von Dar a Luz entdeckt. So viel zum Thema wer bin ich und was mach ich J

Hier angekommen bin ich am 1.07.2012. Nach einem langen Flug und einer ebenso langen Busfahrt kam ich dann völlig erschöpft in La Ceiba an. Dort ging es dann erst richtig los. Continue reading

Thanks to Alanah!

Above photo: Alanah after a workshop held by Silvia for student nurses in Hospital Atlantida.

Dar a Luz would like to thank Alanah Roy, Doula and Apprentice Midwife from New York City, for her work in Honduras. Alanah worked for three months serving Honduran women and supporting them throughout their labor. For the first month she was in a small clinic in Copan (with an average of 4 births a day) and spent the last two months in the busy Hospital Atlantida in La Ceiba (average of 18 births a day) dedicating her time through out the week and weekends while taking regular Spanish classes. In Hospital Atlantida, Alanah often used a birth ball (donated by Dar a Luz) with pregnant women, which introduced more of its benefits to hospital staff. This is a great development as women usually are not permitted to move around during labor.

Silvia would like to thank her for her dedication and all of the time and love that she devoted to the project.

My time in Copan

by Alanah Roy

Alanah Roy in El Jarral

Alanah Roy in El Jarral

I arrived in Honduras in January, spending my first month based out of Copan Ruinas. There I lived with a wonderful family while trying to balance my work with the Spanish classes Silvia organized for me. Every day I would take a collectivo to the Materno-Infantil Clinica in nearby El Jaral for work. In Copan, women with the means to do so secure transportation to the larger hospitals of Santa Rosa or nearby Guatemala or occasionally have a private doctor. The vast majority of the women who come into this clinic are from impoverished villages in the mountains. Continue reading

First Day Birth Ball Used at La Ceiba Hospital

by Nouf Bazaz

Yesterday, February 29th (on the day of a leap year!), Hospital Atlantida in La Ceiba closed out the month with the first day that the birth ball was used by a pregnant woman in the maternity unit! Typically in Hospital Atlantida, a woman is confined to her bed without pillows, lying on her back or side, even in the early stages of labor. Yesterday, one woman was three centimeters dilated and experiencing considerable discomfort (frequently screaming out in pain) after lying on her back in bed alone for several hours. Continue reading