Of turf wars and helping babies breathe…

Of turf wars and helping babies breathe…

Turf wars… Just 30km north, Antsanitia is a small fishing village and is Eden Projects closest dry deciduous planting site to our city. Eden has hired 22 women and men from Antsanitia village to replant the quickly disappearing forest due to charcoal production, clear cutting and fires. For years, there’s been a turf war between Antsanitia and another village further down the beach, Ampanjoany where many villagers make a living...

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Final Days…

Final Days…

Growth!    The week is just starting at the Sarobidy Maternity Center and already the place is full! This morning brought 8 new women applying to be in our prenatal program. One new first-time mama will come back into the postpartum program on Thursday after having her baby at the center two weeks ago. At the same time on Thursday, 3 women and their 4 beautifully chubby breastfed babies will graduate with diplomas and another 6 months of...

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Ten on Ten- August

Ten on Ten- August

Ten of Ten– 10 images on the 10th of the month to capture the beauty of the simple dailies.  This month a baby was born in the early morning hours on the 10th and so after 34 hours without sleep, I finally crashed and re-picked up the camera a day later. Linking up with Rebekah Gough for this great little project– and a fun fact– Rebekah’s sister-in-law and brother-in-law are arriving in Madagascar later this month to...

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A Special Invitation to Create Lasting Impact…

A Special Invitation to Create Lasting Impact…

New Life Abounds…     We’ve received dozens of visitors over the last few years as they come to visit the work at the Sarobidy Center– some have specifically come to see the reforestation nursery, some have come to see the maternity center, while others have been friends, family, bosses and potential future teammates. The common observation that people share with us as they leave is that the center is a place where NEW LIFE...

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Unexpected… February News

Unexpected… February News

Unexpected birth… It was 11:15pm and amazingly, we were already in bed and had just fallen asleep. I received a phone call from Rota, the Malagasy midwife at the maternity center.  She was talking fast and was a bit winded as she walked down the dark dirt road telling me that Elizabeth, who was pregnant with twins and at term, was laboring at her home and progressing quickly.  I texted Danielle, our American ministry partner, threw on...

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Combatting Lies with Truth… November News

Combatting Lies with Truth… November News

   For years we have been praying for like-minded ministry partners to join in the growing work in Madagascar.  In 2014 and early 2015 we hosted several individuals, couples and families that came to Madagascar for vision trips.  Now that we’re back in the States we’re meeting with the same folks as they work on returning to Madagascar to serve with us– some for 6 months, some for a year, some for as long as God keeps them...

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Mother’s Day Campaign 2015

Mother’s Day Campaign 2015

Mother’s around the world are pretty much amazing!  They are our mothers, sisters, grandmothers, aunts and girlfriends. Because we treasure these ladies in our lives, we would like to give you the opportunity to honor them in a unique way this Mother’s Day.  The Sarobidy Maternity Center will be honoring women all over the world with a Mother’s Day campaign.  With your donation of $20 or more towards women and mothers at the...

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Images of SMC

Images of SMC

This space has been way too neglected for way too long.  The desire to write, share images and stories of life and ministry here is not to blame… in fact, I’ve got about 8 blogs swirling around in my mind.  The problem is the time to get all that’s in my head onto the screen to share.  So for today, I’m not going to neglect this blog or my desire to share but rather keep my words few and the images aplenty.  Images of...

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Exposure…

Exposure…

“Uterine rupture stands as a single obstetric accident that exposes the flaws and inequities of health systems and the society at large due to the degree of neglect that it entails”.  –Ghana Medical Journal (A Two-Year Review of Uterine Rupture in a Regional Hospital) Tuesday: February 17th, 12:15am. I’ve always known there is abuse on multiple levels to women during labor and birth worldwide.  I’ve always known...

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Every Mother Counts

Every Mother Counts

In 2014, we completed our first calendar year at the Sarobidy Maternity Center.  The year 2014 was all about growth.  Our staff has grown together, our programs have become stronger, our knowledge about maternity care in Madagascar has increased.  Our programs have become increasingly popular and have grown in the number of women attending and graduating.  We’ve added a family planning program that is open to anyone in the...

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Sarobidy Maternity Center- a video

Sarobidy Maternity Center- a video

We opened the Sarobidy Maternity Center just shy of 18-months ago.  Nearly 18 months that we’ve had the privilege to provide compassionate medical care for women during their pregnancies, deliveries, and postpartum period in addition to well-baby care until their little ones are 6 months old.  Nearly 18 months that we’ve been able to share life-empowering education with women each week.  Nearly 18 months that we’ve been able...

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Home Visits…

Home Visits…

Postpartum care for a new mama and baby is unheard of in this country.  I’ve witnessed on several occasions where babies are never even examined before they go home… not even a listen to the heart or lungs.  Once discharged from the hospital or clinic where the woman delivered, moms and babies don’t receive any follow-up postpartum care.  This of course doesn’t take into account those women that deliver at home,...

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First Babies

First Babies

The first two women of the Sarobidy Maternity Center had their babies in the last week! Judicia had a beautiful baby girl and Prisca, a sweet baby boy! Both moms and babies are doing well and are settled in at home.  Rota, the malagasy midwife and I have already had a few home visits with each mama and baby as we make sure both are healthy, breastfeeding well, watching the weight of the baby, healing, educating and praying for them.  The home...

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What would you do?

What would you do?

Friday. A grandmother in her late 40’s is seeking help frantically.  Her first daughter of 8 children is in labor with her first child.  She’s in the home of an extended family member, hemorrhaging with no medical attention– no doctor, no midwife. This daughter lost her husband to murder just 2 months prior.  She grieved deeply, she stopped eating, she stopped taking care for the life growing within her womb.  She was...

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Traditional Midwives…

Traditional Midwives…

I’m not sure of the number of traditional midwives here in Madagascar but I know there’s a good number of them.  These women have no formal training but rather their knowledge has been passed down from older generations.  Dadan’i Sisy, pictured here with her youngest grandson, Jedi in 2002, was a traditional midwife in Mahabana for several years.  She has since moved to our city of Mahajanga where she cares for Jedi and his...

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Midwifery Journey…

Midwifery Journey…

The last 3 years of my life have been forever shifted.  It all started one day when I was vacuuming our house…. which really is a miracle in itself because I loathe vacuuming.  It’s one of the jobs I leave for my incredibly awesome husband.  Fortunately, in Madagascar we don’t have carpet so Jamie gets out of vacuuming but we do have tile floors and lots of dirt and mud and grass and bugs, pick your poison I guess.  Alas, I...

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Life in Olongapo

Life in Olongapo

  We’re on the eve of our departure from the Philippines.  It’s been a blessed 6+ weeks here as we experienced a new culture and new way of life.  Though we’ve written other blog posts about certain aspects of our time here, here’s a larger recap and closer look at our life in Olongapo, Philippines. Bennett Road… our street in Olongapo And our humble little abode The Mercy In Action birth center directly across the street...

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Break the Silence

Break the Silence

During my time both here in the Philippines as well as in Madagascar, I’ve been with women during childbirth in hospital settings. On this blog, I can’t describe in detail the things I’ve witnessed, experienced and heard… they are not my stories to tell and to be honest, they are too gruesome to share in such a public setting. However, what I can share is my feelings in relation to what I’ve seen. I’ve always known to an extent...

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Wisdom in Birth

Wisdom in Birth

My midwifery courses are nearly all complete, my internship is wrapping up in the Philippines, and most of my “required numbers” are fulfilled. In less than a month, Lord willing, my formal midwifery education will be complete and all that will remain will be studying for and sitting for my midwifery board exams in mid-August. It’s at this point that I have total mixed emotions. Am I excited to be done with school? Absolutely!! Especially...

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Two by Two….

Two by Two….

  For some odd parental reason I now have the kids song, “the ants go marching one by one” stuck in my head thanks to the catchy title of this post! In the last week here at the Mercy Midwives Birthing Home we’ve had 4 deliveries… 4 precious new babies entered the world safely. And at least for these last four, they’ve come in two by two. The first set of two ladies delivered within 45 minutes of one another. A few days later,...

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Medical Care in Madagascar

Medical Care in Madagascar

Last post I told you about our Family Outing to a Birth and promised that the story wasn’t over yet.  Unfortunately it wasn’t over… and three weeks after the birth of this little girl, the story still continues.  Medical care in Madagascar is, we’ll just say, sub-optimal to put it nicely.  Case in point… The baby in my previous post was born at 35 weeks gestation and weighed just over 5 pounds at birth.  The mom and baby...

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Family Outing To a Birth

Family Outing To a Birth

Family Outing to a Birth My days lately have all been running together, but sometime before Christmas we experienced a new type of family outing… to the birth of a baby.  We were enjoying dinner out with a couple who are considering returning to Madagascar when I received a text from the doctor I’m working with.  First time mom, 35-weeks along in her pregnancy and 4 centimeters dilated.  Could I come?  Absolutely! ...

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A Birth Story

A Birth Story

If you didn’t already know, I’m a Master’s trained Family Nurse Practitioner and practiced for 5 years in the States before returning to school once again to attain my Midwifery licensure.  For the past 2 years, I’ve been slowly chipping away at my midwifery academics as well as attending prenatals and births.  A few weeks ago, I attended my first birth here in Madagascar.  As could be expected, it was different than the lovely home...

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“For how long shall we let our women continue to die?”

“For how long shall we let our women continue to die?”

Last weekend our family traveled to Antananarivo, the capital city, so that I could attend a conference about “Ideas For Women’s Cancer Control in Africa”.  This conference, organized by TEDx, brought in specialists from several countries, including Italy, France, India, Zimbabwe, the UK, South Africa, Madagascar and the good ole‘ US of A.  The speakers were as varied as the countries represented… medical directors, researchers,...

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