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Guatemala Oct 22, 2021

We’ve been enjoying our first few days in Guatemala! We’ve been working on organizing our equipment here and the project mannequins and equipment for our master trainers. Here’s some photos along with a photo of the thermometer device taking hand temperatures prior to entering a restaurant. Thanks to Sylvia and Jeannette for all your help!

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Aprons and masks for Guatemalan midwives

Special thanks to the Lois Marie Foundation for a grant providing water-resistant aprons and masks for a group of Guatemalan midwives. More photos to follow in Guatemala! Thanks & congrats also to new nurse midwife Bridget!

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Recent trainings in September

We had two great training days for Helping Mothers Survive: Bleeding After Birth-Day 1 and Essential Care for Labor & Birth on September 18-19, 2021, in Madison, Wisconsin, in anticipation of a training trip to Guatemala planned for October 20-30, 2021.

Please contact us if you are interested in joining us. Many thanks for your support!

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Our next training trip to Guatemala-October 2019

We are excited to be planning our upcoming trip to Guatemala, supported by a Rotary International Vocational Training Team Global Grant!

We are scheduled to train 87 midwives and nurses in 4 programs: Helping Mothers Survive-Bleeding after Birth, Preeclampsia-Eclampsia, Essential Care for Labor and Birth and Helping Babies Survive-Helping Babies Breathe. Along with the training days, we will be providing mannequins and teaching supplies to 11 Master Trainers we have already trained so they can continue to train others in rural areas of Guatemala.

We have trained 3 new trainers on our team. Stay tuned for their stories of new adventures in Guatemala!

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Upcoming Training Trip to Guatemala

Hello Volcano

We are in the process of planning a 2-week training trip to Guatemala, Oct 6-20, 2019, dates to be confirmed. We will be training and mentoring midwifery students and midwives in Helping Mothers Survive and Helping Babies Breathe programs.

Interested individuals need to attend our September 21-22, 2019 training weekend at UnityPoint Health-Meriter Hospital, 202 S. Park St., Madison, WI.

Sign up for this training under on this website under Programs. Please email Nancy at safebirthguatemala@gmail.com if you have questions, thanks

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Helping Mothers Survive Training Day

We had a great training day on April 6! HMS Preeclampsia & Essential Care for Labor & Birth:

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Shopping at Amazon?

Supporting Safe Birth is now a recognized charitable organization at AmazonSmile. When you use amazonsmile.com to shop at Amazon, .5% of your purchases are donated to your designated charity. Please consider adding Supporting Safe Birth as your AmazonSmile charity.  Remember, only purchases at smile.amazon.com (not the mobile app or http://www.amazon.com) support our work in Guatemala.

Thanks for making a difference! We’re helping save lives of mothers and babies in Guatemala.

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Day 10: Departure Bridget’s Travel Blog

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Upon my return, one of my best friends said something wise and insightful to me.  She said it seemed like this trip was like running a marathon. We are excited in the lead-up, we struggle and feel pain during, and we describe it as the most amazing, transformative thing we’ve ever done in the aftermath.

We were up before dawn, before the roosters, in order to catch a flight home leaving just after sunrise. Shortly before sunrise, at 0415, the airline finally gave us the option of rerouting through Dallas rather than trying to plow through the Category 3 hurricane currently making landfall in northern Florida. While I’m beyond excited to be going home to my little family today, I know I’ll miss living the lessons that this trip has taught me.

Over the course of the last 10 days, I have realized that the girl who used to blithely gallivant around the world no longer exists. She has been replaced by a woman with roots.  Sometimes we perceive roots as holding us down, but they also give us stability. Stability to stretch even further beyond our comfort zone than we thought possible. Guatemala, a place I admit I knew next to nothing about prior to this undertaking, got under my skin and into my blood.  Looking forward to finding a way to go back.

 

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Day 9: Asociación Corazón del Agua. Bridget’s Blog

Today was our second (and final) day of teaching at the midwifery school here in Guatemala City. It was also our last full day in Guatemala. On the last day or so we became aware of a strong hurricane working its way from Central America towards Florida. It was formed out of the storm we experienced down in Chiquimulilla, and the flooding it caused was so bad by today that they were evacuating the area where we had just been staying. It was set to make landfall north of Miami where we were due to fly into on Wednesday morning. We were pretty sure we could get into Miami, but we were also pretty sure we wouldnt get out of Miami in a timely manner. The airlines, in their infinite wisdom, told us they were not planning on rerouting passengers until the day of our flight.

But today, we were teaching Helping Babies Breathe. The class started out on a somber note when some of the student midwives wanted to share their experiences with babies who were stillborn or who died shortly after birth. They talked about how those experiences motivated them to become midwives and why they felt like the training we provide, in particular, is so important to them. The class followed the usual rhythm.the students take pretests that assess their knowledge and confidence, we teach hands-on skills using the mannequins and role-playing, skills tests throughout the day to assess understanding of the material being taught, and ending with knowledge and confidence post-tests. All the students in my group were smart and learned quickly. The other trainers said the same thing about the students in their groups. Over lunch, we conducted a focus group and asked the student midwives the same questions we asked the midwives down in Chiquimulilla. They shared their hopes and dreams for their futures and for the future of the health of their communities. Like the midwives in Chiquimulilla, the students also talked about how the midwives in their communities need access to basic equipment so they can better care for their patients. They expressed a need for everything from gloves and gauze to blood pressure cuffs and cord clamps.

As in Xela, the session ended with a little ceremony to pass out certificates to the students, lots of laughter and photos and some happy tears. We definitely hope we will be invited back to teach at the school next year. After leaving the school, before dinner, we decided to take a quick run through the Mercado Central for some last-minute purchases. Nancy and I entered the market on one of the levels below the artisan level. It was a wild array of baptismal gowns, rhinestone jewelry, housewares, and produce.  Sadly, we had very limited time and we werent able to poke around at all. We ended up having dinner much later than we had intended, compliments of the Guatemala City traffic and finally made it back to our hotel around 10pm. It was the moment of truth..would all my treasures fit in my suitcase without exceeding the 50lb weight limit??  Yes and no..yes they all fit, but my bag weighed 50.4lbs. Luckily for me, the airline person didnt get her tail in a knot about 4 ounces. Tune in tomorrow for my final blog post to see if we got to fly through or around Hurricane Michael!

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Day 8: Asociación Corazón del Agua. Bridget’s Blog

Day 8: Asociación Corazón del Agua, Guatemala City

Today we were up with the roosters for our first day teaching at the midwifery school.  The school was recently completed and it felt sunlit, fresh, and comfy. At any given time there are about 15 women enrolled in the school’s three-year midwifery program.  They come from all around Guatemala and their goals are to eventually return to their home communities to provide care for women and babies, as well as provide additional training to local comadronas. Teaching these women was very different from teaching the midwives in Xela because they had a high school education; therefore everyone was numerically literate and could read and write. This made our job much, much easier. They were also relatively young and you could just feel their energy, passion, and optimism. I definitely felt like I was in the presence of strong women who were dedicated to making the lives of mommas and babies in their communities better.

After a long day of teaching, we decided to get take-out for dinner and bring it back to our hotel. I think we were all sick of taking the time to eat in restaurants at this point. On this next thought I cant speak for everyone, but I, for one, needed a shower.  Unfortunately, the showerhead gave me real pause. It was metal and had exposed wires running into it from the wall. Now, Im not an electrician, but I see metal, wires, and water and I see a real problem. I texted Nancy, who was one room over, to ask about this. Totally normal, she said, its called a widowmaker and you have to be careful to not touch the shower head whilst in the shower. I sat with that for a minute.texted some people back home.seriously considered bucket baths.  But ultimately decided to face my fears and take a shower.  Which I did..while standing in a low crouch. It was fine.