In mid-January our friend, Juana, who helps Chrisi and is teaching Hudson to speak K’iche’ called us to tell us her 25-year-old cousin, Sebastiana, died after giving birth to her second child — a healthy baby boy.
We were heartbroken at this loss that is more common that it should be here in the mountains where medical care can be too far away or just not available. We were also concerned for this new baby boy. Juana and her mom stepped in to care for the baby until the mourning husband and family could decide what they were going to do.
We don’t know all the details, but, Sebastiana apparently lost a lot of blood after the birth and then died. She was being assisted by a midwife but many of the midwifes here have no formal training and learn by simple practice and experience. She gave birth, but an hour later, the placenta still hadn’t come out and she was losing a lot of blood. She kept saying, “I am very tired and want to go to sleep.” They told her not to, and that she had to stay awake.
She told them that they should bring her to the hospital because she felt very tired, but her husband, Manuel, and his mother, who lives with them said that she didn’t need to go to the hospital. They thought she would be better to stay at home. The midwife however, did think she should go to the hospital. She had had complications with their first child and had a difficult time in the hospital so her husband didn’t want her to go through that again. He and his mother had no idea of how serious of a condition she was in. When they finally realized that she needed to go, it was too late. They brought her to a local hospital, but she died right before they could get her inside.
The funeral was held the next day. Manuel, her loving husband, is heartbroken over the loss of his wife.
There was talk about them possibly adopting the baby boy out to a couple in the family who haven’t been able to have children after trying for years, but the father has decided that he wants to keep his son. This will of course not be easy, especially since he already has a young daughter and his mother is sick, but his wife gave her life in the process of bringing this baby into the world. This dad is committed to raising his two children in what will be a difficult road.
The ASELSI Milk Program where Chrisi helps with training the moms and providing nutrition and milk to the children, has offered to help with this baby so we’re excited that this father will have monthly help with caring for his son as he raises his family without a mommy to hold her baby and their daughter.
Please pray for this family as they stick together and learn how to rely on God’s love, patience and provision in the face of this loss.