Pics of the Baby!!


I know it has been a while since I have blogged here, and that senior projects are over and have been over for about a month, but I finally have pictures of little Amelia. On my last day at the hospital, Nurse Emma had a special treat for me and allowed me to go with her to visit Amelia and her mother. The hospital usually does not do many house visits for babies who were born in the hospital, but seeing as Amelia was not scheduled for an appointment with her pediatrician for quite some time, and knowing that I would be leaving Trinidad soon, we were allowed a special exception. I was allowed to watch as the baby was weighed and all of her vital signs were checked, as well as her mother’s. Then, when I expressed my desire to have pictures of the baby, the mother said that, if we kept in touch, she would take some pictures and send them to me. After a month of waiting they are finally here and Amelia is just as beautiful as the day she was born. I did not get many because some of the files were unable to open on my computer, but I will be posting below the ones that I was able to open. I hope you guys enjoy them as much as I did!!

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

I will start off this post saying that I think I have only just realized that I only have two more days left on this project, and this saddens me deeply. After all I have seen and experienced, I must admit that I kinda don’t want to leave, at least not so soon. But all good things must come to an end, I guess, and I must make the most of my last two days here.

Yesterday, as I said in my previous post, I was able to accompany Ms. Charles to one of the classes that the hospital offers as a part of their program for young mothers. This particular class was for girls all in their third trimester, meaning they were all seven-nine months pregnant. Because all of these ladies were coming down do the end of their pregnancies, the classes for third trimesters were geared more towards caring for your child once they were born than caring for them during the pregnancy like the earlier classes. I sat in the back while Nurse Charles and another midwife, who was a mother of 3, taught the girls how to nurture the baby. I learned which foods are good to eat when your breastfeeding, cauliflower and broccoli, and how to change the diaper of a tiny, 6 lb infant. The girls also learned about emotional nurturing-how to get their baby acclimated to being outside of the womb in a way that was healthy to both the mother and the child. I never knew that so much went into caring for a baby once they get home, but I guess it just goes to show you that you can never really know everything about a topic.

After the class was over, I was actually able to speak with some of the expecting mothers, who politely requested that they remain anonymous when told them that I was doing a school project. They were all in agreement that the program was the best thing that could have happened to them, especially sixteen year old Jane (not her real name), for whom the ladies in this program were her only support system. After learning she was pregnant, Jane, who is due March 31, was kicked her out of her father’s house, which forced her to go and live in her aunt’s one bedroom studio apartment. This made Jane feel as thought putting her child up for adoption was her only option, but with the support of the nurses in the program, Jane knows that she can take care of her child under these circumstances and work towards building a better future for the two of them. When asked what these young mothers would say to the younger generation about pregnancy, they all agreed that they would caution everyone to wait, because as exciting as having a baby may seem, as a teenager, you definitely are not ready for all of it.

On the ride back, Ms.Charles and I spoke about her plans for opening the clinic, which were well underway, fueled by her upcoming graduation as an official, licenced midwife in May. According to her, it’s girls like Jane and the other girls from the class that initially inspired her to get into her line of work; girls who see pregnancy as something to being made to look glamorous, or something that is no big deal. She told me that it breaks her heart every time she sees another young girl walk trough the doors of the hospitals clinic with a pregnant belly. She believes that young generation is seriously ignorant to the seriousness of issues like teen pregnancy and unprotected sex. Seeing things like this on a daily basis can cause anyone to feel like this, especially when you are as connected to these females as the nurses and midwives become over the course of a pregnancy; it can be an emotionally draining occupation.

But on a happy note, I hear from the nurses that little baby Amelia is doing fine and she was a week old yesterday. I really hope to see her again before I leave, that would definitely make the whole trip for me.

More Midwifery

I returned to Port of Spain General Hospital today to complete my interview with Marcia Rollock. During this part of the interview, I asked questions that focused on the more personal side of Mrs. Rollock’s job. I was especially interested to learn about how she dealt with the emotional strains of helping a woman deliver. Mrs. Rollock opened up to me and told me about the first time she ever had complications during a birth, and about her first unsuccessful delivery. I became a bit apprehensive as I was introduced to these details of her life, but she assured me that, despite these negative details of her occupation, the joy at helping to deliver a new baby was always greater than the pain felt after losing one. We also spoke about being prepared to deliver at any time. Mrs. Rollock recalled with laughter at the time she had to conduct a home delivery at 2:00 in the morning and was so tired that she missed the street three times! All in all I have enjoyed speaking with Marcia, and I learned so much from her.

I was also able to speak with a nurse working at the hospital who was also attending the School of Midwifery. Emma Charles has been practicing nursing for 8 years now and after working on the maternity ward for 3 of those years, decided that she wanted to be one as well. Nurse Charles, along with two of her friends who are current practicing midwives, hope to open their own free clinic one day in their neighborhood of Laventille. Ms. Charles let me know that over the time she has been working on the maternity ward, assisting midwives and obstetricians, she has seen the number of mothers under the age of 18 increase drastically, and she hopes to assist these young ladies. She also wants to educate the upcoming generation and make contraception more available in her neighborhood to decrease the large number of young women getting pregnant. Ms. Charles told me about a program, made up of various nurses, midwives and obstetricians, that they have opened up in the hospital that actually teaches young, expecting mothers how to care for their children, creating a support system for these ladies. This program was Ms. Charles’ inspiration for wanting to open her own clinic, that will offer programs like this one to females that may not have access to the hospital. 

I am especially excited for tomorrow, however, for I will be accompanying Ms. Charles to one of these classes, for women in their third trimester. It also saddens me to know that many of the girls in these classes are my age, some even younger than me. I cannot imagine having a baby now, and can only imagine what a time this must be for these girls out here. But it makes me happy to know that there are programs like the one in the hospital that prepare these girls for the road ahead of them, and let them know that they are not alone.

Every day that I am here I see something else amazing and life altering that these midwives do for their communities. I am completely in awe of the wonderful things they are doing to support and assist women during such an emotionally and physically difficult time in their lives, pregnancy and then childbirth. I have no doubts now, whatsoever, that this is definitely a career that I want to pursue!

Happy Birthday!

As you can probably tell from the title of this blog, today is someone’s birthday, new someone, who was born at approximately 10:20 this morning.

After arriving in this warm, beautiful island at noon on Sunday, I was eager to start my work with the doctor the next day. Unfortunately, the Trinidadian system of bureaucracy, I did not get to actually get any work done until today. The country had just finished celebrating a huge holiday and nothing was opened on Monday. Then, first thing Tuesday morning, I had to go and register my name at the Trinidad and Tobago Nurse’s Council and fill out tons of paper work. All of this was to basically give me permission to enter the hospital and to be able to get all of my information without any hassle from hospital security.

Today was my first day with the midwife, Marcia Rollock, and we spent most of it conducting our first interview. I learned that Marcia is a midwife and a nurse and has been working helping women deliver their babies for 33 years, that’s a long time! She is now the president of the Trinidad and Tobago Midwives Association and also the principal of the Trinidad School of Midwifery. We spoke for about an hour, during which time I was able to see one of the school’s campuses and also speak with a few students.

After the interview was through, I asked about being able to see a delivery and I nearly cried when I heard that the patient whose delivery I was to see had given birth during the interview. I was quite a bit upset, but when I looked through the windows of that neonatal center and saw little Amelia with her mother, all feelings of anger seeped out of my body. She was the most precious baby I had ever seen, only about two hours old, and already fighting to look out of her blanket and smile at the world. I walked over and talked to the attending nurse, and she told me there was nothing more beautiful and fulfilling than helping to bring smiles like the one Amelia was giving her mother into this world.

I did have to wait quite a while before getting anything done, but I must say it was totally worth it. I wanted to take tons of pictures of Amelia, but I was not allowed to since she was in the neonatal unit. I will be allowed to take as many pictures as I want tomorrow, however, when she is moved next to her mother in the maternity ward. So be on the lookout for this little beauty!!

=) Jhewel

Two Days ‘Till Trini

Hey! My name is Jhewel  and for my senior project I am going to my second home, the twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago. Though I was born in America, I lived in Trinidad for much of my childhood and, after moving back to New York, I have visited the country at least once a year. I have often considered moving back to the country after I finish college and starting my professional life there, and  it was this thought that guided my senior project planning. I am going to be “shadowing” a lady who works as both a midwife and a obstetrician/gynecologist for two weeks, from February 22 to March 5. I find obstetrics very interesting and wanted to study how doctors practice this form of medicine in the country that I hope to one day call my home again.

My project is composed of two main parts: the observation of how both of these professionals conduct their work and also an interview with them asking personal and professional question. I wanted to get an objective view by merely observing what they do on a daily basis, and then using the interview to delve below the surface and find out a more personal view of this occupation. So for the two weeks, from 9 am until about 3 or 4 pm,  I will be following the doctor to her office at the local hospital, and observing while she works. Currently, we have planned out two evening visits where I will be conducting my interviewing, because the doctor made it very clear that she probably will not be able to talk with me much if she has a full day of appointments.

I must admit that there is much that excites me about this project, and I cannot wait to begin. I was very happy to learn that my sponsor has experience with being both a midwife and a professional OB/GYN because I would like to know all about the similarities and differences that exist between these two medical practices. I am also extremely eager to get to my project because I will, hopefully, be able to witness my very first live birth. In New York State, there are very strict rules concerning who is allowed to be in the delivery room, especially if you are under the age of 18. The rules are a lot less strict in Trinidad, and I am hoping to be able to finally view a live birth. I just hope that I am able to stomach all that I see, and I must say this is my biggest fear. I would hate to think that, after all this I am saying about how much I want to see this birth, I am unable to watch the entire thing because of personal issues.

Another issue of mine, that is completely unrelated to my project, is that I was unable to be present at the biggest nonreligious holiday in the country, Carnival. Nicknamed the world’s greatest show, this year’s carnival fell from February 13 through February 16. I will be arrving just intime to see all of the glitter and dust being swept off the streets, but I am not complaining too much for this is the first canrival I have ever missed, and my excitement over my project quickly overtook any dissappointment I may have felt about missing this event.

All of that aside, however, I am anxious to get to Trinidad and embark upon my senior project journey. It is exciting to know that you, as readers of this blog, will be there with me every step of the way and I would like to thank you for allowing me to share this part of my life adventure with you! Hope we both enjoy my project! =)