| Feb 12, 2016
One of our volunteers, Tom Berridge, just returned from serving in the field in Guatemala. He came back with this amazing story of your impact on one woman- and how it's now helping her entire community:
Because the births of her first three children had been easy, Marcela expected no difficulty delivering her fourth baby. Accompanied by a midwife in a small, indigenous village Guatemala, she gave birth to a healthy boy, Elias. The birth had been normal... but her placenta still had not been expelled.
Marcella is a mother counselor herself and had attended MTI trainings. She knew that, after 30 minutes, placenta trapped inside the uterus can lead to dangerous complications: internal bleeding, infection... even death.
But she lives two hours up a bumpy road from the nearest hospital. When she called her husband, who was on his way from his job in Guatemala City, he told her to wait at home until he arrived. So she waited.
Marcela and Elias seven months after the frightening night that could have taken this mother's life.
Marcela’s husband arrived four hours after the birth. The placenta still hadn't expelled, and she had developed a headache and abdominal pain-- warning signs. She and her husband called the MTI staffer for the village. Luckily, an MTI medical team that included doctors from Faith and Practice was working in a community a half hour away, so an MTI staffer was able to get there quickly in a pickup.
After hearing the problem, the staffer called an ambulance, put her in the truck, and took her to the doctors on the MTI team in the community down the hill. The doctors didn’t have the equipment to treat her, but the ambulance soon arrived and took her to the clinic in Chicamán, where she was told that they also did not have the necessary equipment, so she continued to Uspantán. She later said that as she rode in the ambulance, she was thinking, “If I die, who will take care of my children? Nobody is going to treat them as well as I treat them.”
When she arrived at the hospital, she was suffering from shock, and the doctor immediately removed the placenta. Her back and stomach hurt. She was kept in the hospital for two more days to be sure she did not have an infection. Thankfully, her pain soon subsided and she could go home to her family and new baby. Finally, she felt good.
Now my children are so healthy that other women come and ask me questions so their children can be as healthy as mine.
Marcela is spreading the word in her community. She has shared her experience with the four other mother counselors in her community, and she is using her story to teach other mothers the importance of seeking immediate help if a placenta has not been expelled after 30 minutes. She encourages other mothers to have their babies at the hospital, and some mothers are taking her advice.
“Now my children are so healthy that other women come and ask me questions so their children can be as healthy as mine,” she said. “I am sorry I didn’t listen before, but I am telling others to listen to MTI because the things they tell us help with our well-being,” she said.
“I would like to thank Medical Teams for having people with big hearts who help us,” she told Tom. “We called them and they were here right away to pick me up. People who work for MTI help with all of their heart. Even though the nurses knew I had done wrong by waiting, they were not angry with me but told me to have faith that I would be OK.” She also said she wanted to thank MTI for coming and offering workshops on nutrition and hygiene, where she listens carefully.
Thanks to you, this mom was able to survive her complicated birth-- and is helping others do the same.