What They Carry, #12. Haiti.
While having a conversation with a young mother waiting for postpartum midwifery counseling before being discharged home, another young pregnant mother was carried into the hospital by several men. She had been driven by car – over an hour away since the car broke down on the road - because she had experienced sharp headaches and seizures. Headaches, high blood pressure, and seizures are diagnostic for eclampsia, a potentially fatal disease of pregnancy. Prenatal care can usually prevent this drastic outcome.
Fortunately, medications suppressed the seizures and labor was induced. A healthy preterm (33 weeks) daughter was born safely by the hospital SBAs (skilled birth attendants) educated by Midwives for Haiti. The mother recovered.
After wrestling with my photographer-self versus my midwifery/privacy-self, the need to educate overcame the need to suppress this image. And, I did speak with the woman and obtained her permission to share. This image dramatizes the fact that pregnancy and childbirth in developing countries is a woman’s “war zone” where outcomes are uncertain and disability or death are very real possibilities. In Haiti, the maternal mortality rate is 350 deaths for 100,00 births. In the U.S., the rate is 12.7 deaths per 100,000 births. Midwives for Haiti (https://www.midwivesforhaiti.org/why-haiti.html ) is a great organization working alongside Haitian people in capacity-building to change the odds.