Barlow Family - Haiti



The WHOLE crew


Ted & Rebecca


Tania Grace


Ana & Oliver











In Prayer, For...
  • the orphans in Haiti
    a smooth moving process
    calm during the transition
  • our kids -
  • Tynan & Tania in college
  • Ana working in Germany
  • Twins' homeschooling
  • the future "additions"
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Entries in Midwives for Haiti (10)


it's official...back to school this fall!

I'm finishing up my last week with Midwives for Haiti for now...Illa & Juslene are just doing a fabulous job with the new postnatal care program!...& our last midwife/volunteer for the near future leaves this weekend too. It's been an amazing experience and I'm grateful for the way that MFH welcomed me into their community and let me walk alongside them and use my skills in helping the Haitian nurses provide much needed maternity care here in Haiti.
I look forward to see what comes of our relationship next!!
My time here has ALSO been a fabulous precursor...
                  to a pretty exciting email that arrived a few days ago from:
Dear Rebecca,
Welcome to Frontier Nursing University!  I am pleased to inform you that you have been accepted to Class 130. ...We look forward to having you join us on this exciting journey. 
SO, I am now officially enrolled in the MSN+DNP Midwifery program!!! 



looooong awaited,

little bit scary.

super fantastic


I want to also publicly thank LakePointe Church in Rockwall, TX for their support in getting me started on this personal & spiritual calling, especially in relationship to Haiti...and all that God will use it for in the future!

I'll be applying for further scholarships through the school & several maternity care organizations, but if you are interested in joining me on this journey through prayer, financial or physical needs support, see this ministry page for MORE details.

It may be a GOD thing...but one of our volunteers last week is going to be one of my future instructors @ FNU! She and the other midwife here currently, have both been such an encouragement as I look forward to the somewhat daunting task of moving into this new role.

Seeing the ENORMOUS need for even the most basic women's/maternity & newborn care here in Haiti & knowing that it is only one of many such the other factor that URGES me forward on this new adventure. I'll be posting several related needs in the coming months...from volunteers, to stateside clinical midwifery preceptor sites, to medical supplies and reusable diaper/peripad donations.


 Feel free to contact me ( if you're interested in partnering to help provide safer births for ALL Haitian moms & babies.

Orphan Care Prevention!!


a GRAND opening in Hinche...

Today was the first day of the new Midwives for Haiti Post-Natal out patient follow up clinic on the grounds of Hopital Ste Therese. Illa did follow up visits and Jusline did mom/baby assessments hospital discharges.

After intensive discharge teaching all week, especially about "early milk" and encouraging moms to breastfeed fequently, drink plenty of water and eat a variety of healthy foods....drummroll...

ALL of the babies had LESS than 10% wt loss and MOST of them were already ABOVE their birth weight!

The mom's were all recovering well too.

Juslene also shared that over the weekend she had an inpatient mom that she saw before discharge and upon her postnatal assessment found the baby had a fever. Rather than just walking out the door 6 hours after delivery...never to be seen again, a possible infection was identified & her baby was referred to the Pediatric unit for early treatment.


Two of our opening day patients are nurse graduates of Midwives for Haiti's Skilled Birth Attendant program. They not only had colleagues deliver their babies in the hospital, but now they're receving postnatal care follow up from former classmates & new co-workers as well.

It made for a lively FIRST day!

Gotta love any work day that includes a moment like this...!

Pauline's Beautiful Baby GIRL

Ivanese's GORGEOUS Baby Boy

Goal met: the 3 H's

Happy Healthy Haitian Mom's & Babies!!


Life @ Midwives for Haiti

Just a few months ago this video was completed by Every Mother Counts, who partners with Midwives for Haiti to aid in providing maternity care here, especially in the remote areas of Haiti.

The main student featured is Juslene, who graduated in the last class & is one of the TWO midwives that we have just finished training specifically and are guiding through the first few weeks of postpartum and follow-up care. She and Illa, are heading up the new Post-Natal care program.

We've just finished our first full week of postnatal examinations & discharge teaching for moms & newborns at Hopital Ste Therese. Juslene saw EIGHT moms today on her own!

Another VERY EXCITING thing happened today....

Part of the discharge teaching is a list of "warning signs" to return to the hospital for.  Some mom's can't read, so Illa & Juslene review the points and have the moms say each one back to them.

This morning we had a mom come find us...knowing that we were the Post-Natal team. She had been discharged yesterday after a normal delivery (typically sent home after 6 hours) and came back today because her baby had a fever. (POINT #1 on the baby warning sign list!) We took a temp to confirm and it was 38C (100.4F) axillary. She was referred immediately to the pediatric emergency unit for further evaluation. 

It worked!!! 

She returned based on their care...

                                 you should have seen Juslene's smile!



So much of life feels chaotic lately, but sometimes I think it's just me.

Now that we’re living apart for these weeks of work up in Hinche, and both working full time during the week, Ted & I are having to grapple with everything over brief cell phone calls or facebook messaging. With 6 kids, 2 ministries, a Haitian business and household to run you can imagine how difficult it must be to communicate even a fraction of the necessities and even less of our emotions or needs lately. I think we’re doing pretty well & yet often it just isn’t enough!

This morning’s chat we had time for some depth & at one point I wrote:

I feel broken in so many ways & yet hard as stone in others…

I wonder how we will ever process everything here when we're done...years from now...or will we not? instead just tuck it away into our past that we don't talk about much...and find distance from things we can't really understand or don't want to feel?

This is one of the places where our hearts often live here, dwelling amidst the poverty. EVEN when God is faithful and generally we are doing fine.

Being in Hinche with Midwives for Haiti has been a joy in some ways, but a stressor in many others. I have to admit I’ve been sharing more stress than joy about life here with my hubby lately, knowing that he would understand. He’s heard about:

- how hard it is to raise a child in a work/school/living space setting

- worries about Syndies recent tantrums (a new thing)

- how I really miss my kids overseas that are all spread out

- concern about how we will pay for our homestudy

- being unable to follow up on Kervensly while I am here

- unable to complete dossier paperwork while here

- missing my own bed

- increased loneliness & isolation at times

- feeling his difficulty of managing things in PAP alone

The ability to finally use my personal skills in a purposeful way, the gorgeous countryside, and the more evident needs everywhere here are my personal perks to the work at hand.

Yesterday was our first day onsite with the two nurses we’ve been training to provide post-natal care at the local government hospital. I want to explain that these nurses salaries are being paid by outside donors to provide this much needed care.

Up until now a mom would come in to deliver, if everything was normal she would go home 6 hours later - NO after delivery follow up appointments, NO head-to-toe assessment of her baby, NO discharge get the idea, she’d be on her own to figure it out (without even books or the internet). THIS is another reason that many moms & babies die...not during childbirth, but in the days & weeks just childbirth related or newborn complications.

As we worked our way through the moms being discharged yesterday morning, I had a hard time reconciling the medical care & resources available there to what I am used to in the states. There are 2 MFH trained nurses & 2 charge midwives for all of maternity (L&D, post-natal, ante-natal & post-surgical (c-section) wards. The wards are open - approximately 10-12 beds, no privacy & no toilets (they use buckets that go under the bed). NOT the beautiful private birthing suites & postpartum rooms that most of the hospitals I’ve worked in have.

This project is the FIRST time (in this hospital) that there will be a full newborn exam perfomed on each baby....even now, they have no chart, no vitals taken, no one checking on them in particular… Illa & Juslene will provide this care now, along with care for the moms. The hope is that the nurses will catch complications early & prevent fatal outcomes.

There was a mom yesterday who was laying ALL morning (over 6 hours) in blood & fluids... she had a c/s that morning & her baby was laying by her legs for hours with family nearby. I NEVER saw it eat. She was sleeping through the pain. Finally I saw that she was awake & that baby was awake & our nurses were finishing up their I snuck over & asked if I could help...took her breast & put the baby on it for it's first feeding ever.  I showed grandma how to help.  Finally a midwife had a free minute to check on see why she was bleeding...come to find out, I moved the foley & it started draining, then it pooled & splashed out the drain, which wasn't closed....hence the saturated sheets she was laying on...that her family would have to take home & wash. Still the first smile I saw on this mom’s face was when her baby latched on & started feeding as she lay’s universal..

moms just want their babies to be OK!

THAT smile was enough reward for the day.

AS we wrapped up our clinical for the day we reviewed how it went with the Illa & Juslene. They were happy and felt good. They talked about feeling slow in their interviews & assessment. We encouraged them that it would come with time & become routine.

It was quite frankly a very hard day for me physically & emotionally, but I was SO PROUD of how well they cared for these moms and of how much they have invested in providing this care for them too.

As we arrived back at the MFH compound & walked in for a late lunch, Juslene came up beside me & slipped a cellophane wrapped card into my hands with a kiss on my cheek before rushing off.

When I picked it up to open in the privacy of my room a few hours later…

a huge crack in my easy-going but strong outer shell erupted.

I don’t really like doing what I do for any thanks, In fact it often makes me uncomfortable to be acknowledged. Just knowing something was the right thing to do, helping others and pleasing God is truly enough in my book. I typically feel reward in the moment by the peace that it brings.

Knowing the expense spent on this card was for ME and the beautiful words are so touching, but what stopped me in my tracks was one fact:

This is the FIRST and only thank you card I have ever received from a Haitian!

So sweet that it came from a fellow maternity nurse & sister in Christ too.

What might be lost in the cultural context is the fact that Haitians see giving KNOWLEDGE and skills to another as the greatest of gifts and sacrifice. These are providing her with a job too.

This simple gesture sledge-hammered “my world” and the fact that I’ve been focusing SO MUCH on my own stress lately, that I almost missed the JOY in serving here.

Picking up the pieces now...with a fresh heart & perspective.


from Hinche...

Last week, Syndie & I strapped on our adventure gear, climbed into the car with all of our tough chick power and made the trek 3 hours north into Haiti's central plateau...on our own! We dripped through nearly an hour of traffic in the blazing heat wishing the air conditioning worked and finally made it to the outskirts of the city. Syndie dozed a little as we climbed the barren dry mountains surrounding Port au Prince. The well paved but narrow roads wound up, over & down into the “provinces” (Haitian word for the “countryside”). Cresting the summit our surroundings went from brown and dry to lush and green. We weathered rain storms, crazy big trucks, slick roads and magnificent views. Syndie woke from time to time bursting out with "Sa bel, mama!! tre bel!!" (It's beautiful, mama, SO beautiful!!) We arrived at the Midwives for Haiti compound just in time for dinner and to settle into our room, which will be our home, away from home, for the next couple of months.

If I haven’t said enough about Midwives for Haiti...let me just sum it up now. MFH is a small humanitarian organization doing some pretty remarkable things here in Haiti. They started a training program for Haitian nurses to teach them the full-spectrum of maternity care and delivery. From that program they have invested into the local hospital where both their graduates & students provide moms with tender care during labor and assist in identifying and treating high risk and emergency cases. Some would say that anyone who comes to the hospital is likely a high risk case, as Haitians often prefer to deliver at home. MFH also has mobile clinics that go out 5-6 days a week into the remote areas of this region to provide monthly prenatal care & identify moms that need referral or transport to the hospital. They also provide a Matron Outreach training program for the lay or village “midwives” who have had very little training, but a passion and heart to help their community members deliver babies well.

That is where Syndie & I will spend the morning today…

I love how the health dept curriculum that is used includes songs to teach hand washing, warning signs and such. Many of the matrons have never been to school or ever completed it. Last week as I sat in on class the current students were teaching about the female anatomy...several snickered as they reviewed the external genitalia visuals in detail. When the flip chart page was turned to discuss the internal female reproductive organs the crowd gasped with delight. One matron shared that they had never seen what the inside looked like before!! They were such a happy and excited crowd of sponges with this new information in front of them. The midwife who helped get this program up and going shared that this class is 22 weeks long & if they don’t mis more than 3 times they will get to participate in a “graduation” ceremony for their certificates & receive an ID badge that shows they have had training. She said that for most of them this is likely the FIRST and ONLY graduation they will ever have. So not only will they be able to provide safer care & know when to refer moms for high risk needs, this course also serves as a lifetime highlight for them as their families gather around them to celebrate at the end.

ONE of the reasons I am here for the next 2 months is to help out with a brand new training program. Jenna Schmitz one of the in-country staff midwives has been working hard to get a post-natal clinic off the ground. It may sound surprising, but at present mom’s receive monthly prenatal care, safe delivery care and then if all is normal they are discharged with their babies 6 hours or so later...never to be seen again. SO, in trying to help cut down the maternal & newborn complications & risk of death in the weeks following delivery TWO MFH graduate specialty nurses are being trained to provide all of the postpartum care in the local hospital here as well as follow up outpatient clinics for each mom during the 6 weeks after birth. They will eventually receive anyone who has delivered in the area, even if the birth was at home.

My other function here is to serve as a temporary “in-country coordinator”. I’ll be helping with volunteers that come to stay at the MFH house and work alongside the students or in the surrounding community. It's been a quick learning curve & my Kreyol is being stretched again too!

In the afternoons, Syndie and I have been going to a local hospital that is part of Mother Teresa’s ministries here in Haiti. We’ve been serving in the infant malnutrition ward, helping with feedings and providing stimulation, developmental play, physical touch and simply quick response to the babies needs as it is severely understaffed. The sister in charge is joyful and welcoming and Syndie LOVES “giving the babies milk” as she says. She is learning to hold and carry the little ones and truly enjoys our ministry there. We hope to go at least 3 afternoons a week and perhaps weekend mornings too as it is so nearby.

Here are a few highlights of our week:

Syndie running FREE in the countryside on the 4th of July...and every other chance she gets.

Ted came to visit with our new little guard pup… (no name yet)

A Sunday drive in the countryside. (yes this is a CHURCH!)

Post-Natal Care Training Classes

PNCP team - Jenna, Illa, Jusline & Rebecca