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The birth of a birthing center
1. Haiti has the highest maternal mortality rate in the Americas. Most births are attended by a traditional midwife, or matwon, without access to medical help if something goes wrong.
2. This project encourages women to come to the Center to have their babies -- and midwives to receive training and support for traditional births.
3. We undertook the project because women like this local mom said they wish we were open 24 hours so they can give birth here.
4. She came with painful contractions. By afternoon, they were still a little far apart.
5. Dr. Daniel Antoine has a wonderful bedside manner.
6. Nurses flitted in and out of the room, showering the mother-to-be with attention. The family stood by.
7. Evening came -- closing time. Mom's contractions were closer, but she wasn't dialated enough.
8. She would have to go to Thiotte, the nearest 24-hour clinic, 40 minutes away over some of the area's worst roads.
9. And it had started to pour.
10. Everyone rushed around trying to find a ride; always a production in rural Haiti. At the last minute, a proverbial chariot was found: one of those trucks that carry charcoal and produce to market. Best of all, she wouldn't have to ride on top!
11. This mother had nerves and a physique of steel. Imagine doing this.
12. Off she went with Dr. Antoine. Two days later ...
13. Mom and newborn returned for their post-natal checkup -- perfect!
14. In 2020, we began offering maternity services at our clinic around the clock. We hope to open a birth center by 2022 to provide more room and comfort to our laboring mothers.