In Haiti, very few women have access to quality prenatal care. As a result, the infant mortality rate is nine times that of the United States, and the maternal mortality rate is the highest of any country in the western hemisphere. As shocking as these figures are, they don’t even include the many pregnancies that result in stillbirths or miscarriages. Often, these tragedies are preventable, as shown in this story told by our missionary, Laura:
A woman in our village (we’ll call her Fabiola) had suffered more than nine stillbirths. Many people in the village were saying she was cursed.
She was pregnant again, and her pregnancy was going really well, but she came to see me because her water had broken. I didn’t know exactly how far along she was, but I knew it was too early for the baby to be born. Fabiola’s water broke at 9 p.m., and she was not having any contractions at all. So I told her to contact her midwife (who has never had any formal training). I advised that if she hadn’t started having contractions by early morning, she should go quickly to the small hospital in the port city of Anse-a-Galets, which is 15 miles (and two hours by truck) away from our village.
All the next day, I was praying for Fabiola, and around 1 p.m. I suddenly felt led by the Holy Spirit to go quickly to the neighbor’s house to see if she was ok. When I got there, imagine my surprise when I heard Fabiola laughing and joking around, still very pregnant. I asked her why she didn’t go to the hospital like I told her to, and she said it was because her “midwife” told her she wasn’t ready.
I explained that because her water had broken, she needed to go as soon as possible or her baby could die. I told her this might be why she had so many stillbirths, and that she may need “an operation to take the baby out” (a C-section). I told her all of this in Creole before I was even fluent in the language, by the way! That was surely God speaking through me.
Fabiola finally listened to me and went to the hospital. As it turns out, she did need a C-section, and the baby was born very prematurely. Praise God that the doctors were able to help her in time to save the baby! Praise God for His miracles, and for your donations that enable us to provide basic medical care and to help with expenses when the people in our village need more care than we can provide.