It's official! After months of searching, researching, and corresponding with various organizations, we have decided on a location and organization, and are excited to announce that we will be making a nearly month long trip to Haiti, with the organization Midwives for Haiti.
The desire to learn more and have a greater understanding of all things has always been insatiable within me. For both Glen and I- as a doctor and a midwife, the need for learning is constant. Over the last few months, the desire to learn more and understand more, specifically about the variation of birth practices and birth outcomes, has grown within me. I was able to make the trip this past fall to Bad Wildbad, Germany, to attend the 2012 Midwifery Today conference. I was honored to be surrounded by midwives from countries all around the world, all with such common desires and goals, but still so uniquely varying- both individually and culturally. I left that quaint German town with a deeper understanding of birth from a global perspective. At the very basic level, we are caring for women and babies...but as I got a glimpse of, there is so much more that influences those practices.
Here at home in Alaska, as women's care providers and birth professionals, we strive to practice evidence-based and support normal, physiological birth. Glen and I are just two people in a growing army of birth professionals, advocates, and consumers across the state and across the United States, that see the detriment of the astronomical rate of interventions and technologies that are routinely used, and the complications that arise from such.
What is interesting and perplexing, is the varying outcomes of developed countries compared with other developed countries, as well as developed countries compared with underdeveloped countries. While we are struggling to lower our intervention rate and change our high-tech, routinely interventive ways as a means to improve our maternal and fetal outcomes, there are countries who have the opposite problem- mothers and babies are dying due to not only the lack of technology and intervention, but due to the lack of adequate nourishment, prenatal care, basic supplies needed for birth, and lastly, skilled birth attendants. In other words, women are malnourished, lacking basic prenatal care, and left to deliver their babies alone or with an attendant who is lacking any formal training. As I sit here and type from the Embassy Suites, with my family on a "stay-cation" so that we can have a weekend of movies, snacks, and swimming in the indoor pool, my Cadillac Escalade sits in the parking lot, with a packed birth kit, fully equipped with a fetoscope, doppler, birth instruments, suturing instruments, resuscitation equipment, and (when it's not 5 degrees outside) IV kits and antihemorrhagic meds. And I see the wrongness in that.
I think of the lives that could be saved from that single bag. Or with the knowledge and skill Glen and I have to give. Or even better- the knowledge and skill we can share and pass on in teaching other birth attendants. And so, being do-ers and not talkers, and putting aside the shoulda' coulda' woulda's and excuses, we have jumped in and committed ourselves to supporting Midwives for Haiti. We are so very excited. We have so much to share and teach and give and learn.
And so we ask for your help- because we cannot, nor want, to do this on our own. We need your help. We would like your sponsorship in helping to pay for the expense of the trip and for the supplies that we will be taking on our journey. Instruments, ant-hemorrhagic medications, antibiotics, IV kits, disinfectants...the list goes on. Whatever we can bring, we will. But we need money in order to bring these much needed, life-saving supplies.
We ask you to donate in support of our trip to Haiti, but we would love it if you could take it a step further and consider committing to fundraise on behalf of Midwives For Haiti. If we each spread the word and reach out into our community, we have no doubt that this community can succeed in making this the trip of a lifetime, that will benefit many, many women, babies, and families!
To donate, please go to http://midwivesforhaiti.org/index.php/donate-m4h
So that the organization may know that it is in support of our trip, please put "Team Elrod" in the 'Notes' section.