Building Relationships

by Ashleigh Menzies 

Yesterday we held our monthly mountain midwife meeting in Yarucca. Silvia invited two nurses Alma Castillo and Claudia Lozano from the public hospital in La Ceiba, which showed an interest to volunteer with the project. They led a class on measuring fundal height to assess fetal development and improve prenatal care.

Among the midwives, there is such a wealth of knowledge and it is wonderful to have a forum in which they can share this knowledge. It was a great experience to have local nurses from the public hospital working with these rural midwives, who are often undervalued.  We look forward to having them join us again and continuing to build a strong relationship between these communities.  Thank you Alma and Claudia!

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Childbirth Education

 

Doula Ashleigh Menzies in our childbirth preperation class, where we do a little lottery to provide Moms with some baby supplies.

Doula Ashleigh Menzies in our childbirth preperation class, where we do a little lottery to provide Moms with some baby supplies.

by Ashleigh Menzies

Krista Pelvis

Doula Krista Blakelock with Childbirth Education Materials

In the La Ceiba Community Health Center, last month we give quick lessons on anatomy, breathing techniques, and breast feeding while women waite for their prenatal checkups each morning.  It has been nice to run into some of these same women in labor and delivery and witness them using the techniques we’ve shown and generally being more confident during their labor.  This is a true testament that a little information goes a long way.  This month our volunteers, Krista and Ashleigh, have been doing these daily charlas in the mornings and have reached many women.

 

Thanks to Stephanie and Kristi!

Volunteer Doula Stephanie White Giving out heart beat counters.

Volunteer Doula Stephanie White Giving out heart beat counters.

 

by Ashleigh Menzies

Kristi Macaulay, Thank you Kristi!

Kristi Macaulay, Thank you Kristi!

Dar a Luz would like to say thank you to  Stephanie White from the United States and Kristi Macaulay  from Canada.  Both of these lovely doulas volunteered at the hostpial in La Ceiba supporting women in labor. Jennifer volunteered with  us from January to March, and while she was here, she met Kristi, who was traveling through Honduras. After hearing Jennifer’s experience in the hospital, Kristi was compelled to volunteer with Dar a Luz as well.  She spent 2 weeks working tirelessly in the hospital, without speaking any Spanish. Kristi is still supporting our project by doing editing and public relations. She also sent down several donations. We appreciate all yo ur hard work, Stephanie and Kristi!

Mosquito Protection for the Women in Postpartum

Today Krista, one of our volunteers, went to the hospital to see the mosquito screen that was put in one of the big windows in the maternity unit.  We were able to find a contractor and arrange for the installation of the new screen.

At this public hospital in la Ceiba, women stay with their baby in this unit for 24 hours or more after they have given birth. There is a big grassy area outside of this unit which does not drain well after a heavy rain and many mosquitoes grow in the puddles.

Thanks to $50  from the donations raised before Krista came to Honduras we have been able to build and install this screen to protect moms and newborns from mosquito bites and desases.

Thanks to you Krista and your community for beeing so iniative and genereous!

 

Got Shoes?

We want them!  Dar a Luz is collecting gently used shoes to build our shoe bank to help local children in need. Many children in disadvantaged areas are often without shoes which is very difficult, especially during the rainy season. We can arrange for you send the shoes to a volunteer in your area to help save on shipping costs. If you are interested in donating shoes, please contact us.

Respectful and Gentle Birth

by Ashleigh Menzies

This month Silvia began teaching a lecture regarding the protection of the perineum in addition to the respectful and gentle birth lecture she has been presenting to the interns.  These classes serve to demonstrate different techniques to hospital staff regarding both medical practices and patient interactions, and to remind the standards set in the Honduran guidelines for labour and delivery (Las normas nacionales para attention materno-neonatal).

Gracias a Christine, Jennifer and Aaron!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAby Ashleigh Menzies

Dar a Luz would like to extend a thank you to one of our recent volunteers, Christina Loeffler. Christina is our first doula from Germany and a mother of three.  Christina works a very demanding job, but still recognizes the importance of compassionate support for laboring mothers. Because of this passion, she was able to secure a month of vacation from her job and worked tirelessly in our hospital in La Ceiba, as well as traveling with other volunteers to hang curtains at the hospital in Tela.

Thank you for all your hard work Christina!

Another special thanks goes to Jennifer O’Conner and her husband Aaron.  Jennifer and Aaron helped Silvia for two weeks during the month of April while traveling throughout Central America.  Jennifer brought her skills as an experienced doula to help the mothers at the hospital in La Ceiba and Aaron joined us to help hang curtains in the hospital in Tela.  Jennifer and Aaron also held a small fundraiser via the internet while volunteering here and donated the proceeds, which helped purchase supplies for our project.

Many thanks to Jennifer and Aaron!

Thanks To Alifera Globetrotter!

by Ashleigh Menzies

This month Silvia collaborated with Alifera Globertrotter for the third time.  After spending their first week in a rural hospital in the mountains, an awesome group of 11 nurses joined us in La Ceiba. While in the Hospital Atlantida, Silvia gave a brief presentation about the advantages of placing the IVs of laboring mothers in their lower arm instead of in their wrist.  Having the IV in their wrist is very painful for many women and often the IVs don’t work properly in this position.  By placing the IV in their lower arm, the IVs function better, women are in less pain, and have more mobility during their labor. After Silvia discussed the theory, the members of Alifera Globertrotter worked alongside the nurses to practice the placement.

Alifera

We are so appreciative to the members of Alifera Globertrotter for collaborating with Dar a Luz during their week in La Ceiba!To find out more about this great organization, click here http://www.alifera.org/.