| Feb 10, 2016
Mother-to-be Tecla is rushed down a bumpy dirt road to the nearest hospital, more than two hours away.
One week: What a difference it can make.
In Tecla’s case, it meant all the difference in the world. She had waited long enough.
The 27-year-old Guatemalan woman was pregnant for the fourth time and a week past her due date. As she waited she worried. From experience, she knew that the longer she waited for the onset of labor, the more likely it became for serious conditions to develop.
During each of her past pregnancies, she suffered bouts of convulsions and dangerously high blood pressure. The condition is known as preeclampsia, and it can lead to organ failure – even death. She suffered from the condition during her most recent pregnancy, too. A doctor had told Tecla that the longer she waited, the more likely it would be for her preeclampsia to worsen.
The only cure is to deliver the baby.
Tecla was scared. She’d lost one of her four babies during a previous pregnancy. She knew the severity of her condition was real.
And so is her seclusion.
She lives in a small indigenous village outside the town of Senahu, two hours from the nearest hospital. The only way down to the hospital is over a bumpy, narrow dirt road that snakes around the hill country of Central Guatemala. The problem was, neither Tecla nor her family had access to a vehicle.
But villagers knew that health coordinators from Medical Teams International were in the area, visiting a nearby community. As the coordinators were hiking down the hillside back to their vehicle, the villagers confronted them.
They explained about Tecla and her condition. They spoke with urgency: Tecla needs to see a doctor. She can feel her blood pressure rising, the onset of preeclampsia.
The coordinators contemplated calling an ambulance. But that would take too long – a four-hour two-way trip. That wouldn’t work, not if Tecla’s condition worsened. Instead, their vehicle would have to act as the ambulance.
The coordinators put Tecla in the back seat of the truck and called ahead to the hospital. As the sun began descending, the truck took off. Slowly, over a choppy road, with fog limiting visibility, a health coordinator drove Tecla to the hospital.
At the hospital, a doctor induced labor, and Tecla gave birth at midnight to a healthy, 5-pound baby.
Because of Medical Teams' regular presence in Tecla’s community, both the young mother and her baby are alive and healthy. Their good health is a blessing and a testament to the generosity of MTI’s donors and the dedication of the field staff, whose fast thinking saves lives.