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Tiffany shares more from Haiti

April 17, 2014

imageimageTiffany shares more from Haiti

Tiffany Vossoughi, Babymoon RN, shares one of her stories from last week in Haiti

April 16, 2014

imageTiffany Vossoughi, Babymoon RN, shares one of her stories from last week in Haiti

Haiti Day 4

April 9, 2014

ImageImageHaiti Day 4

Today I was scheduled to work a morning shift at the hospital. It was hard to get up early this morning after our long day yesterday. After some more peanut butter toast and tea we hopped on a moto taxi and made our way into the hospital. It had been very busy overnight and they made the entry hall to the maternity ward the postpartum overflow unit and there were five women laying on the concrete floor with their newborn babies. Some were lucky enough to have a sheet under them if their family brought one and some not. One of the women lying there had been one of my last births before I left last night. She had hypertension but was still nursing her baby with a smile when I arrived.

Heather, Diane, a midwife from Phoenix Indian Hospital and Tina, a labor nurse from Illinois wanted to work in the labor unit today so I went to antepartum and postpartum. My translator Isabelle was awesome and we had two nursing students with us. We went bed to bed and talked to every woman. I usually got their history, why they were there and how they were doing. We did lots of teaching on wound care, signs of infection, nutrition, breastfeeding and hemorrhage. I went back and forth from labor and delivery to the other units to help as needed. There were many more births today including a couple of HIV positive women. There was a woman having her 7th baby that had transferred from an even smaller town called Thomasique. She had been in labor for 2 days and was refusing to push her baby out. I think she knew it was bigger than her other babies (which is uncommon in Haiti because everyone is malnourished) but mostly because she wanted a tubal. She eventually got her cesarean and her tubal.

I returned to the postpartum floor and found the mother whose baby I had resuscitated yesterday and she had still not met her yet. So I helped her get clean and dressed and took out her iv and we walked over to the pediatric unit to meet her daughter. I got her a chair and put her baby in her arms and she smiled with tears in her eyes saying merci. Her daughter had not had anymore seizures today but was still on oxygen and an iv. The peds day shift nurse did not know if the baby had anymore seizures overnight because nurses in Haiti do not always give report. Sometimes they just leave when their shift is over and it is so busy the oncoming nurse does not have time to read the chart. Every bed has been full inn the hospital and there are people lined up in the hallways with sick loved ones in their arms hoping to be seen and cared for. It is hard to hear the cries of hungry sick babies all day and many are too sick to even fuss and just lay listless in their mothers arms.

Heather and I headed back to the house for lunch and decided to go to Bason Zim waterfalls this afternoon since she is leaving on Friday and will not be able to join us when we usually go on Friday. It was a hot day and the generator was out at the house so we had no electricity in the house which meant no fans, so the idea of swimming at the falls sounded awesome. Mindy and Diane went with us as well as our driver Ronell and our other driver Jaenel and two translators, Kelby and Kenel. The drive takes about 45 minutes and some of the roads are very rough and we cross through a few streams. There are people bathing and washing their clothes and motorcycles in the rivers. Trash lines the streets and goats, pigs, dogs and chickens run across the road. We drive past shack after shack with half naked children running about yelling Blan Blan (white white) as we drive by.

When we arrived at the falls it was as breathtaking as ever. Turquoise water cascading down the mountainside. The town of Bason Zim is very rural and very poor. There are droves of mostly barefoot and malnourished children waiting to be your tour guide up the mountain for their tip. Two and three kids grab each hand and arm to “help” you up the mountain. We hiked to the voodoo cave where there was a couple of people lighting a candle for a wish and then hiked to the pools where you can see the water come down the mountainside. At the top is the cave with bats a hundred feet above you and there is tunnel that slaves used to go to escape the French to get to the next town. We hiked back down and it was time to tip the kids. They were so very desperate and all wanted a dollar. We had to give the last few dollars to our translator to hand out because it was getting to out of control. Then we all went swimming. It was the first time I had felt cool since arriving in Haiti. We relaxed and floated around for a while before heading home.

It was one of our translators birthdays so we all worked together and made an amazing spaghetti dinner and I baked some of the brownies I brought. It was quite a feast topped off with some Haitian beer. We all sat outside and talked for hours. I absolutely love spending time with such incredible women. I spent a long time visiting with Monica who is a middle aged woman here from Ohio State University training and setting up a neonatal unit. The work and community outreach she has done has been incredible. She will be here most of the next year and then will reproduce the program most likely in Ethiopia. I look forward to staying in touch with her and learning from all she does and will do for global health.

I got power and electricity for a few minutes and got to FaceTime with Doug and Cosy which made my heart melt. Counting down to Saturday.

Haiti Day 3

April 8, 2014

ImageHaiti Day 3 – Jen continues:

I can hardly find the words to explain the range of experiences and emotions from today. We woke and had our usual morning of tea and peanut butter toast and visited with everyone before they left for their various assignments. The student midwives arrived and began their morning circled around the table with song and prayer. Heather and I took a moto taxi to Azile House, the nourishment center for starving children and hospice care for men and women. The same nun was still in service that was there last year and it was truly lovely to see her. It was also family visit day and the day they accept new admits so there was a line of mothers holding their babies wanting to save them and a waiting room full of mothers waiting to see their little ones. The Haitian workers would bring the children out one by one to see their mothers and then when the children returned to their cribs they were sobbing after leaving their mothers arms. It was very hard to be present for. We held children of all ages and sizes, some laughed but most were so malnourished they were just listless in your arms. We fed babies bottles and toddlers bananas. The children’s arms and legs were emaciated and their bellies swollen. One had measles, one had HIV, one was severely burned, they all had the same cough. It reminded me of the cough all the children had at Zeke’s orphanage. Azile house is very difficult for me. I cry every time I go. To see these young little babes begin their lives with such suffering and to know they will return to their homes and the hunger and poverty cycle will continue. It just tears at my heart.

We returned to the midwives for Haiti house about 10:30 and got ready to go to the school. We loaded 10 suitcases into the land cruiser and picked up Mindy at the hospital on the way. When we got to Rivage school it was filled with children and they were so happy to see us all. We spent a little time in the classroom then headed to Oaxanne’s house behind the school. We unloaded the backpacks and tried to organize the clothes by size on the floor. We set up the shoes as well and gave the excess supplies to the teachers. They lined up the children in groups of 10 and brought them over. We got each one a backpack and fitted them with clothes. Each child also received a tootsie pop. The children in the most need received shoes and underwear. We took lots of pictures and video. When all the backpacks were given out we took group photos and I shared with the students the story of Brandon from CDS who emptied his savings account to help the children. They all clapped and cheered his name. The kids love to be held and gave hugs and kisses. They all really loved Heathers blond hair.

On the way home our driver Ronell stopped us by his mother’s house to see his 25 year old sister. She was born born a healthy baby and then had diarrhea for 3 weeks when she was 5 months old and was never the same. Her head began to swell and she could not talk or walk. He was hoping we could help her. His mother is getting old and it is hard for her to lift her and care for her every need. He wondered if she went to the hospital in the USA could they help her. She had the sweetest smile and was very happy but non verbal and had muscle rigidity. It was difficult for her to pick her head up. Her head circumference was literally two times a normal head. My guess is that she had severe hydrocephaly and maybe the diarrhea was coincidental. I do not really know but took some pictures and told Ronell I would ask some doctors in the USA to look at her pictures and see what they think. There is such suffering everywhere you look and you see this beautiful older woman in her wood shack caring for her 25 year old daughter and they were both smiling and just lovely.

We went back to the MFH house for our 2 pm meal and got ready for our hospital shift. We rode on another mototaxi to the hospital and when we walked in one mom had just had a baby and another was pushing. An amazing midwife from Maine who is here for a year was helping the woman pushing. She was having trouble getting heart tones, so I helped her move the patient side to side and then to hands and knees. The baby’s heart tones were dropping lower so we had her roll back and push the baby out. The baby arrived but had no heart beat and was not breathing. I began to resuscitate the baby on the mothers chest but got no response. I then clamped the cord and moved the baby to the counter with ants crawling around on it and began chest compressions while a nurse was bagging the baby for respirations. After one minute the baby still had no response. By the second minute I had gotten a heart beat of 100 and stopped chest compressions and took over bagging the baby. We bagged the baby for 15 minutes before she took her first breath because the heart rate kept climbing. Finally the baby opened her eyes and began to breathe on her own. We wrapped the baby in gauze and took it to the peds ER. They started an iv and gave her oxygen through a nasal canula.

The day continued with a woman who had been in labor for three days, a woman hemorrhaging from a miscarriage that needed a d&c, a woman with pre-eclampsia, a couple of “normal births”, another birth with a woman with pre eclampsia who nursed her baby with a smile. Another woman came in and birthed her baby with snug shoulders and a tight cord and her baby did not breath but at least had a good heart beat. I only had to bag that baby for a few minutes till it started breathing on its own. I went to check on the baby in the peds ER that I had resescitated earlier. At first the baby looked well but later in the afternoon the baby had seized but responded well to phenobarbitol. The baby probably has some level of brain damage from oxygen deprivation and I wonder what their life will be like because we “saved” that baby. There are no resources to help that family or child. The entire day was busy on the maternity unit. There was a mom with aids whose baby died and a mom whose placenta abrupted and her baby died and a mom who came in with eclamptic seizures whose baby died. A 15 year old girl was also brought in seizing at 33 weeks and had a c/s and her baby survived. And all the other units were full, postoperative, postpartum and antepartum.

Even with all the third world madness there were tender moments. A woman swaying her hips in the hall in labor while her family gave her water and food. Many mothers nursing their babies. The woman who had hemorrhaged from her miscarriage got moved to the floor because the bed was needed for a birth. I found her literally squatting in a corner and Heather and I found her a bed and helped her move in her very weak state. She was appreciative. With tears in her eyes she grabbed my hand and said merci many times. It was such a small moment of compassion but I know it meant a lot to her. These things are all hard to see but I feel so connected to real life here. I appreciate mine so very much but the level of disparity is unfathomable.

By the time we got home at 8:30 we felt wasted and a cold shower never felt so good. I had a Haitian beer and two hard boiled eggs for dinner and sat around the table talking with amazing women from different parts of the US, including a nurse midwife from Illinois and an AIDS community case manager RN from Maine. The hardest part about this trip is that the internet is not really working. I’m having trouble accessing my email and Facebook and more importantly FaceTime with the kids. I miss the kids so very much. I want to rock Zeke to sleep and read Cosy stories and have cuddle time and read with Skye in my bed. Can’t believe it’s only Monday. I’m counting down the days till I get home.


Letters from Haiti

April 8, 2014

ImageImageJen shares Day 2 of their trip with us:

Haiti Day 2

I am happy to announce that I actually slept quite well last night. We all got up and had breakfast and enjoyed the morning. Heather, Mindy, Tiffany, Pam, Diane and a nurse named Tina from Ohio went to Rivage Community Church with me. We were welcomed by the small group in attendance and we watched them sing and pray. The little kids in their Sunday best were so very sweet and before long we all had a little one sitting in our laps. The little girl on my lap had on a bright pink dress and knew all the answers to the questions. The children loved having their picture taken and seeing the images on our cameras. They also would giggle when we showed them pictures and videos on our phones.


After an hour or so we were invited to Oaxanne’s house for a meeting. She is a dynamic community leader, church leader, artist and matron (lay midwife). We sat around her kitchen table and discussed the current state of Rivage community, which is the poorest part of Hinche because it is by the river so the trash collects there and the river floods during the rainy season bringing disease. Oaxanne’s son, Gampson, and her brother an attorney were there as well as Mitial a translator. Later in the meeting the two teachers arrived. We were informed that the woman who they rent the school land/bubbling for was not going to extend their lease so Oaxanne bought the plot of land in front of her home and they wanted to build a new school building there. Oaxanne also bought a large plot of land just off the main highway a few minutes from Rivage.

We began discussing sustainability with them. I have been worried about what this community would do if I was ever unable to fundraise for them. How do you continue to make the school run and pay the teachers if your funding goes away? They had a donor that helped pay for a meal a day for the children the first year the school opened but then after a year they quit spending money. The had to stop providing lunch and many children go hungry. Some children at the school are orphans and just sleep at neighbors homes but they are unable to feed them and the school meal for them and many others was the only meal they would have all day. The children are so hungry the teachers said they say there stomach hurt and sometimes just have to lay on the ground and rest.

One idea we had was for them to breed and sell chickens and goats. Now that Oaxanne has the plot of land on the outskirts of town they could raise the animals there. They loved the idea and were taking notes through out the meeting. We also discussed a community garden and technical training for all the children who will only get a sixth grade education so they may have a skill to provide for themselves. The community leaders have many hopes and dreams for their community. They would like to build a school with a kitchen and bathroom. They would like it to have a room for each grade and a total of 6 teachers. They already have 100 children and have to turn many away. They would like to also build an orphanage because there are so many children whom have families that can not care for them or feed them.

They have met with an engineer today and will work on plans and an itemized list of all their hopes and dreams. We will meet on Wednesday evening to review and hopefully come up with a plan. We headed back to the house and sat on the patio drinking a cold bottle of coke and visiting until lunch was served at 2. Then a wave of exhaustion hit me and I actually took a rest till 3. Then we headed to the hospital for our tour. It looked much the same filled with women and babies and people everywhere. The postpartum, antepartum and post op wards had 10+ beds with women lying in them. The labor unit has 5 beds and the exam tables that they give birth on were actually all new. But it was still dingy and dark. The thing that hits me the most is the disparity. How can it be so great?

There are two amazing nicu nurses here from Ohio state university working on a grant project to open a nicu. It is amazing. It opens in April. They have been training nurses for months and very soon preterm babies and babies born sickly who used to be left to die will now have am fighting chance. The catchment zone for our hospital serves about 600,000 people and the nicu will be able to care for 7 babies. Incredible change from last year.

Babymoon Staff to Volunteer with Midwives for Haiti

March 27, 2014

Image As many of you know, Mindy, Jen, Pam and Tiffany will be leaving a week from Friday, April 4th, to volunteer for a week with Midwives for Haiti. They are so passionate about the mission of this organization that will truly change maternal and infant mortality rates in Haiti by training skilled birth attendants. We have never witnessed a more powerful organization teaching Haitians “to fish” rather than “feeding them a fish” by giving Haitians the skills to care for their own people. Jen will also be bringing school supplies, clothes and shoes to the children at Rivage Community School that is funded by her daughters’ school Camelback Desert School as their community service project.

Many of you have asked if there is anything you can do to help……we would be so grateful for any donations. Either directly to Midwives for Haiti ( to support their mission or in the way of supplies. They are constantly in need in order to keep the organization up and running. So maybe on your next trip to Target or Costco this week you might be willing to put a few extra things in your cart. Let us know if you can help in any way and just drop off supplies (see below) at Babymoon by next Wednesday so we can get everything packed up and organized.

Thank you so very much for taking time to read this and for any help.

Non Medical items:
Large fanny packs
HP printer cartridges (#60) black and color
Baby blankets, onesies, cloth diapers, hats
granola bars
powdered drink packets (gatorade, crystal light)
grill lighters for stove
watches with second hands, extra batteries
plastic wrap

Medical Items:
Folic Acid
Non-sterile gloves size m
sterile gloves size m
vitamin k
erythromycin eye ointment
suture (not expired)
3-5cc syringes
alcohol swabs
urine dip sticks
nystatin cream
18-22 gauge angiocaths
nitrazine paper
sterile feilds
sterile blades
iv primary tubing with at least 1 port
10-24 gauge needles
pill baggies
bp cuffs

Babymoon Inn Announces Ready, Set, Go: A Prepared Childbirth Education Series for Informed Families™

March 2, 2014

Babymoon Inn staff previewing Ready, Set, Birth

At the Inn, 2014 started with a review of client feedback about our groups and classes and some immediate changes based on that feedback.  We are so proud to share our latest endeavor . . . Babymoon Inn’s Ready, Set, Go:  A Prepared Childbirth Education Series for Informed Families™

This series is composed of modules that together are a well-rounded and comprehensive childbirth education program and complement our group prenatal material for birth center clients.  The modules also may be taken as stand-alone units for families who are looking for specific information on that particular topic.  Although the material was initially developed for our birth center families, it is universal and provides solid and relevant information for all families regardless of their choice of birth setting.

The goal of the series is to provide information so that YOU and our support team have the knowledge and confidence to understand your options and birth YOUR WAY.

The core classes in this series are:

1).  Ready, Set, Birth™

2).  Ready, Set, Baby™

3).  Ready, Set, Breastfeed™

4). Ready, Set, Blitz™

1).  Ready, Set, Birth (6 hours).  This module is a prepared childbirth one-day comprehensive and interactive class covering signs and stages of labor, comfort measures, the role of the support person, positions, and more!  You and your support person will leave this class with a plan and a lot of options for the big BIRTH day!

2).  Ready, Set, Baby (2.5 hours).  This module covers what happens right after the birth of your baby and how to help mom heal better and feel better.  This class also discusses normal newborn appearance, newborn procedures, signs and symptoms of newborn illness, safe sleep/co-sleeping, Infant CPR, and parenting philosophies and styles.

3).  Ready, Set, Breastfeed (2.5 hours).  This interactive module covers breastmilk production, positions, latch, and how to get support for breastfeeding.  It also includes tips for your support person on how to foster and encourage the breastfeeding relationship.

4).  Ready, Set, Blitz (2.5 hours).  Are you short on time and in need of information ASAP?  Have you read every birth book already and want a quick refresher?  This module is for you.  We will cover the basics of pre-labor, comfort measures and the stages of labor.

For more information or to register for any of these classes, please visit our website


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