On Friday, November 18, 2016, Azucena, the Head Nurse, and I received a call from the Community Health Facilitator early in the morning informing us that a woman named Estela in El Duraznal had started going into labour in the middle of the night. The Ministry of Health nurses could not go and see her until later in the afternoon, but to wait until the afternoon could mean losing the mother and the baby.

Therefore, we picked up our equipment and we were on our way to El Duraznal, a mountain community about 45 minutes away from the CAUSE Guatemala head office in Comitancillo. When we got to Estela’s home with the help of the local Midwife, we immediately could see that time was against us because Estela was now only a few hours away from giving birth. We learned that Estela has had 11 deliveries in her home with the help of one of four community midwives and has lost 4 babies.

Estela and her husband preferred to have the delivery in their home in order to practice their Mayan traditions and because of the expensive transport costs of going to the nearest Hospital in San Marcos. However, this time they could not have the delivery at home because after Azucena checked the position of the baby, she was quite certain that the baby was transverse meaning that Estela was in high risk and could require a caesarian.

We drove them to the Health Post in San Lorenzo where a doctor was able to do an ultrasound and confirm that the baby was indeed transverse. The doctor was quick to transfer the couple from El Duraznal to the Regional Hospital of San Marcos in case Estela would undergo any complications in an ambulance. Azucena and I learned later that day that Estela had a normal birth only 1 and half hours after we saw her. There were no complications and she and her newborn baby were both healthy.

Dave Fafard

Program Director, CAUSE Canada