Giving Babies a Healthy Start: Diana’s Story
Diana Shane, a nurse-midwife from Colorado, volunteered at one of INMED’s maternity waiting homes in the Amazon rainforest. She shared her experiences and perspectives through a monthly journal.
“Ever since nursing school,” she wrote, “I have considered volunteering in another part of the world where my knowledge and skills might be of some help to the people there. I contacted INMED and learned about the opportunity to volunteer in the casa de espera (maternity waiting home) in Atalaya, Peru, where my knowledge and skills as a nurse midwife would be useful in improving maternal/fetal outcomes.
“[One patient] was a woman with a history of eight pregnancies. Having given birth to so many children, she was at high risk for a fast labor and complications, such as hemorrhaging during her labor and birth, so we encouraged her and her husband to stay at the casa de espera so that she would be close enough to arrive in time at the health center to deliver her baby. When she did go into labor, it lasted only about two hours. Had she not been staying with us, she would not have been able to arrive in time.
“This world has its fair share of difficulties and heartbreak, but there is also great beauty and an abundance of loving people working hard to create a better tomorrow.”
“After being discharged from the hospital, the patient and her family stayed with us for a couple more days, in which time we did some teaching on caring for herself and the baby, including umbilical cord care, infant bathing and breastfeeding. Even though she had so many other children, no one had ever really taken sufficient time to teach her and her husband these things, so they were grateful for the help. Thankfully, she and all of our patients and their babies went home healthy, having had uncomplicated, safe deliveries.
“I had a lot of fun times and saw some beautiful and amazing things, but I could not say that this experience was easy. It was tough, and I faced many professional as well as personal challenges along the way. However, facing and overcoming such challenges is how we learn and grow, so what I can say is that volunteering in Peru was an empowering and enlightening experience.
“This world has its fair share of difficulties and heartbreak, but there is also great beauty and an abundance of loving people working hard to create a better tomorrow. I am extremely grateful for this experience and to have met some of these amazing people!”