Catching My First Haitian Baby...With One Glove On

By: Tayler Johnston, LiveBeyond Director of Maternal Health, Certified Nurse-Midwife and Women's Health Nurse Practitioner; reposted from her blog

1st Haitian Baby

Wow. . .  I have been wanting to write a blog post about my first baby born here in Haiti.  Four days later I am still having trouble putting words together, but here goes. . .

This past Friday, I had just finished my routine post-partum visits and was tending to a large gash on one of the Kè Pou Timoun children’s leg when I heard Gertrude (my Maternal Health coworker) yelling my name in a manner that I had not heard before.

Gertrude and Me

Gertrude and Me

I go out to the clinic pavilion to see a very pregnant woman struggling to walk towards the clinic assisted by a man and a woman who are yelling that she is in labor. [I later learn this is a cousin and sister.]  I usher her into our labor suite but wasn’t yet convinced that she was in labor (we have had a couple of false alarms), so I palpate her fundus.  A strong contraction started and lasted for about a minute, so I think this is probably the real deal.

I Doppler heart tones and they are 90s-110s.  [For readers who are not familiar with obstetrics, NOT reassuring.]  I immediately check her cervix to try to determine if transfer will be needed and she is 10cm/100%/-2 with a big bulging bag of fluid.  (Praise the Lord!!!)  She got a contraction and tried to push but there wasn’t really any movement.  Since FHTs were low, I broke her water to try to help the baby descend.  There was moderate meconium [aka baby poop, which can be a sign of distress, also not reassuring.  I later learned that this distress could have been from the hour and a half motorcycle ride she took to get to the clinic.]

She is now sitting in a puddle of amniotic fluid and meconium so I take off my gloves to get new underpads when she asks if she can push.  I tell her yes and the baby immediately crowns.  I frantically grab clean gloves and after I get one glove on, the baby’s head is out.  I couldn’t get the other glove on and ended up catching my first baby Haitian baby with one glove on.

Haitian Baby
  • June 8, 2017
  • 3:20pm
  • Baby boy.
  • Apgars 9/9.
  • 6lb 10oz
  • 19.5″ long

All of this happened within FIVE MINUTES of her walking into the clinic.  I didn’t have time to call for any assistance except for Gertrude, my wonderful MH coworker, with no medical background whatsoever.  I literally couldn’t have done it without her extra set of hands handing me chux, cord clamps, scissors, a clean baby blanket, diaper, etc.  It made it even harder for me to understand how most Haitian women give birth at home alone.

Mom and baby were both happy and healthy.  He nursed beautifully (after some convincing.)  Exactly 2 hours after birth, she got up, got dressed, went to the restroom and then informed me that she was going home.

*Story and photos published with Mom’s permission.