Hilary Overton
Glory Reborn Founder
Fri Oct 06 2017

The Realities of Maternal Mortality

blogoct6 In our previous post I wrote to you about a baby who, due to the long line for cesarean section and poor public care, died just shortly after being in his mother’s arms. What follows is the miraculous story of saving the mother’s life.

After waiting for three days in the labor room without eating or drinking, our precious mother, Jennifer, became so weak, so exhausted, so infected that high fever overtook her body. She began to have chills and severe body aches – now in labor for three days in the public hospital, she was finally critical enough to be prioritized for cesarean section. No one was allowed to visit Jennifer or check on her while she was in the labor room.

When we were allowed to visit Jennifer after the cesarean section, she was still weak with fever, very drowsy and had difficulty breathing. The husband was informed that the case of his wife was now 50/50. Every four hours someone from Glory Reborn visited to buy medications, process and follow up on laboratories, beg nurses for prescriptions and speak with doctors for updates. A very classic example of the disproportionate volume of patients to hospital staff was when Jennifer was requested for a laboratory procedure in the morning. When I personally went to speak with the doctors on her case that evening, the requests had not yet been given to our staff or the family for processing. I got on that right away and we provided the necessary medicines for her healing process. If someone is not an advocate for the patient and does not process all the medicine and laboratory requests, the patient’s life will be in further jeopardy. For mothers transferred to the public hospital from Glory Reborn, we become their advocates, ensuring they get the medicines, blood, and labs needed to survive.

Jennifer’s breathing continued to deteriorate. She now had fluid in both her lungs, her body was swollen from head to foot, and she was still too weak to speak, much less sit up. She did not even know about the loss of her baby yet. Jennifer was fighting for her life. As our staff and myself continued to follow up, pray, and assist this family with the burial of their son, Jennifer was placed on the highest strength medicine combination and it now seemed to work. Glory Reborn provided Jennifer with the medicines that were requested. After a few days Jennifer was sitting up! Things were looking better for her – from hovering in the valley of the shadow of death, Jennifer seemed to be crossing into the land of the living. As she was improving, the two mothers on either side of her bed both succumbed to post-delivery death. Jennifer knew and had witnessed how hard she had to keep fighting for her own life. Then the infection set in again. This time in her cesarean wound. The wound had not been attended to, as the attention had been on her breathing and swelling. More intravenous antibiotics and wound draining were started. Another long week in the hospital where Jennifer witnessed two mothers in her same room succumb to pregnancy/delivery complications. Maternal mortality is a very real struggle in the Philippines.

This is a mother who, just three weeks before, was smiling and walking into our clinic for care. This is a mother who was referred for premature labor, was started on antibiotics at our clinic and heard the healthy heartbeat of her baby for the last time. This is a mother who waited for three days in a crowded labor room, sharing a bed with multiple other women. This is a mother who, like myself, needed a cesarean section to save the life of her baby. This a mother who, unlike myself, has had to fight for weeks just to survive. This is a mother who will always be a mother but never have the joy of holding her baby. This is a mother and baby who, had they been able to afford private hospital care, should have walked out holding one another, looking forward to a bright future. This is a mother who matters to us. This is a mother who, without the advocacy of Glory Reborn’s team and your support, would have become one of the 13 mothers a day who die during pregnancy or delivery in the Philippines. Each and everyday our staff have been visiting and praying with Jennifer when they bring her medicines. Our staff have assisted and attended the burial of her precious son and have made 30 days of prayers to encourage Jennifer that her life matters and is worth living, and that there is still goodness and mercy in the journey ahead.

Jennifer and her son inspire us at Glory Reborn to do more, to invest more, to believe more for a future where equality of care exists, not just in our clinic but in a hospital. We are more passionate than ever to see a hospital be birthed where mothers like Jennifer and her baby can find life and hope and health. No mother should have to fight for survival during childbirth. Again we ask ourselves, what is the value of a life?

Currently Glory Reborn is asking for your financial assistance in order to help us continue investing in mothers like Jennifer each and every day. Medical expenses and quality care do not come without a cost and we are in urgent need of increased funding. There are months, like this past one, where the regular budgeted bills are put on hold in order to save a life. We believe that choosing life must come first and thus we have gone out of our way to continually ensure our mothers not just survive pregnancy and childbirth but are invested in with the medications they need. This month we chose to save the life of Jennifer as our first priority with no regrets. However our regular bills still must be paid. Would you consider helping us meet our urgent need of an additional $10,000 this month? Thank you in advance for investing in Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies and Hopeful Hearts with Glory Reborn.