Global Birthing Home Foundation

The mission of Maison de Naissance is to improve health for mothers and babies in impoverished communities. Our challenge is to prevent maternal and infant deaths. Maternal and infant mortality rates in Haiti are among the highest in the world. The causes of mortality are both social and medical. We have therefore developed a model combining both social justice and medical excellence to prevent unnecessary deaths. Our strategy has been to recognize the barriers which deny healthcare to the poor and strive to overcome them. Maison de Naissance provides accessible...
Apr 21, 2015

A Last Minute Delivery!

The
The 'emergency' baby and midwife

A little excitement occurred at MN on March 2nd, 2015, when a local mother who had received prenatal care at MN was driving into Les Cayes (while in labor) to deliver her baby at the general hospital. Her route took her close to MN, and shortly after passing the turnoff, she realized she would not make it the hospital in time.  She diverted back to MN, and arrived just in time. The baby was ready to be born as she pulled in, but our experienced staff quickly moved her into the delivery room, and got to work.  All went well and another healthy baby was delivered to a healthy mom at MN! 

If MN was not located where it is, out in the rural, impoverished area where high quality, professional is not otherwise accessible, the outcome may have been much different.  The baby would have been born on the side of the road with nobody in attendance, and with a greatly reduced chance of a healthy outcome for both mother and baby.

We are proud of our highly skilled staff, and the work that they do for their patients every day!

A last minute arrival!
A last minute arrival!

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Oct 16, 2014

Marie's Story

Demonstrating well baby care
Demonstrating well baby care

Marie's Story

Dantan is a remote village in southern Haiti where Marie grew up, one of 12 children. Her mother was a homemaker, her father a minister. Against all odds, while living and raising a large family in the poorest country in our hemisphere, her parents instilled the importance of family, faith and education. All but the youngest child has completed secondary school or beyond. Marie traveled to Port-au-Prince, a city of 3 million, because it held more opportunity for education and jobs. She attended a vocational school for a secretarial certificate, got a job and continued her schooling to become an auxilliare (nurse’s assistant) to further her professional development and make a higher salary.

One day, her male boss offered her more money if she would be “one of his women”. Marie knew that many of the other female workers agreed to this proposition in order to get more money to feed their families, pay the bills, and survive. She refused. Because of her refusal, she was mistreated, ridiculed, given less money and denied raises. She stood firm, prayed every day she would find a job where she was respected and valued as a woman. She finally graduated as an auxilliare, and set out to find a new job.

While visiting her family in Dantan, she heard about a birthing clinic called Maison de Naissance opening up not far from her parents’ home. Marie applied and requested an interview. During her interview, she demonstrated the qualities MN was looking for: compassionate care for others, technical skills, and a local community member. Marie was hired and helped open MN on October 4, 2004. 

This is where Marie entered my life. From its inception, I have been involved in the work of MN since it founding - first volunteering as a nurse and mentor to our Haitian staff, then as the Program Director full time.

Over  my 5 years with MN, I had the privilege of observing Marie help mothers and babies make a safe journey from pregnancy to birth and beyond (Haiti has one of the highest pregnancy related mortality rates in the world). She had her first child at MN and carries her own “safe journey” with her in all her work.

In 2012 Marie enrolled in an auxiliary midwife course with Midwives for Haiti, an intensive one year program that required living away from her family.  She graduated with honor from the program, and is now part of the midwifery staff at MN, having faithfully served for 10 years.

She treats every mother and baby as loved and valuable in a culture that historically has oppressed women in every way; physically, emotionally, economically and socially. She believes it is her responsibility to take care of the women in her community. She is bringing women hope. Marie is a role model for the women she cares for; one of their own is a living example that through perseverance, hard work, valuing oneself and striving to reach one’s innate potential, a better life is possible. If one of their own can do it, so can they.

The most unlikely people usually do the most extraordinary work in the world, Marie is one. That is what MN is all about, empowering women, one mother at a time.

Cindy Obenhaus, RN, MN Program Director 2004-2010

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Jul 10, 2014

Berneice's Story

A Happy Mom With a Healthy Baby
A Happy Mom With a Healthy Baby

The word “care” can mean many things. At Maison de Naissance (MN), it means that women receive counseling, education, medicines, lab tests, and loving attention every day, from expertly trained and dedicated members of our staff. It means that these elements of caring are provided without charge, and without discrimination, to all women who come to us. This is particularly important for women infected with HIV, the virus which can cause AIDS if left untreated.

In Haiti, as is true all over the world, there is a stigma attached to having a HIV positive test, and it can be difficult for a woman to accept the news. The counseling that accompanies this testing, both before and after, sets the stage for our mothers to understand that there is hope - that they can receive medications to help keep the virus under control, and to prevent their baby from becoming infected. Collaboration with the PEPFAR program at MN helps provide medication and the staff necessary to expertly complete the record keeping that insures all of our patients are tested, and all of the HIV positive mothers are given medicine in labor to keep their babies safe.

This is just one element of the care received at MN, but it’s a vital part of Berneice’s story:

Berneice’s husband was HIV positive when they met and married, but he did not share this news with her. She was thrilled when she became pregnant right away, and went to Maison de Naissance for an early prenatal visit. HIV/AIDS testing is a routine part of every pregnancy's first prenatal consultation.  Berneice was devastated to learn that she tested positive for the virus, having had no other partners besides her husband. She felt very alone, never having known anyone who survived with HIV. Her treatment, including nutrition counseling and a referral to the Mother's Club, began right away. 

After several visits to MN, she overcame the stigma of testing positive, and began connecting with the MN Mothers’ Club, where she met other women living with HIV and their healthy babies. They told her of their own experiences, and how the treatment worked to prevent transmission of the virus to their children.  Berneice was able to complete her course of daily medication, kept her nutrition up, pulled herself out of depression, and delivered a healthy baby boy with the help of MN's dedicated midwifery staff.

When Berneice brought her baby boy back for a well baby checkup, she proudly showed him off to the staff who turned her life around.

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