May 02, 2011

Count Your Blessings

Precious...only 2 days in and she's trying
to snuff him out,sign of things to come?
 Ask not what Mother's Day can do for me, but what I can do for Mothers.  I interrupt my regularly scheduled posts {whew, lucky you} to wield the power of the blogging masses. 

My Aussie blogging friend, Adriel, at The Mommy Memos is not only a brilliant blogger; she is a loving Momma and volunteer for YWAM Medical Ships.  She has started the Bloggers for Birth Kits initiative.  Her post made my heart swell and eyes tear.  I am so blessed to live in a country where I have choices where childbirth is concerned.  We have a choice how our child will come into this world and {most often} it is a safe sterile environment.  It is hard to imagine we still live in a world where 1 out of 7 newborn babies will not feel their Mother's touch due to childbirth complications and sterility issues.  As a self-proclaimed germ-a-phobic type gal,  I cannot fathom this and the sheer thought makes me want to reach for the hand sanitizer and get involved!

Sweet baby girl, pre Drama Queen status.

I gave birth to my 2 beauties in a hospital, by choice.  I had complete confidence in that no matter what happened, no matter what problems arose, everything would be okay.  I had every kind of medicine, specialist, equipment, air lifting medivac chopper, and EPIDURAL {sweet, sweet Epidural} at my fingertips.  I could do an entire post on my love for the Epidural, but that is for another time.

Touch nicely, don't poke his eye!
Without further adieu, I am going to re-post Adriel's, Bloggers for birth kits.  My copy and paste just won't do it justice, so I encourage you to click on the link above.  I ask that you read with an open heart and mind and count your blessings.

{Excerpt from The Mommyhood Memos, Adriel Booker}

Bloggers for Birth Kits:  Help reduce maternal mortality this mothers day

Every minute a women dies of complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. Ninety-nine percent of these deaths occur in developing nations. For every woman who dies in childbirth, another 30 women incur injuries and infections, which are often preventable. (Source: World Health Organization.)

Chances are if you’re a mother reading this blog, you are not one of them. Most likely you delivered your baby safely and hygienically in a hospital, birth center, or possibly even at home under the expertise of an experienced midwife. (Unless you are Amy who delivered hers on the side of the road!)

No doubt you had access to doctors, nurses, midwives, and other medical professionals throughout your pregnancy, delivery, and postnatal care, as well as access to drugs and medication and surgical procedures when necessary.

But hundreds of thousands of mothers around the world aren’t as lucky as you.

The organization that my husband and I volunteer for (YWAM Medical Ships) regularly sends teams of volunteer doctors, dentists, optometrists, ophthalmologists, nurses, midwives, educators, and other volunteers to address the needs of the poor in Papua New Guinea. (This is where Ryan is now.) We provide dental services, eyeglasses, cataract surgeries, vaccines, primary health care, education, and other crucial services to those who most need it.

We have campaigns going all over the world to gather toothbrushes, toothpaste, eyeglasses, and other medical supplies… but we are running desperately low on birthing kits.

This is where you come in.

Bloggers for Birth Kits is a simple initiative from the Mommyhood Memos to rally bloggers to reach out and help other moms in Papua New Guinea. These moms may live in a different nation to you, speak another language, look a little different, or have a very different lifestyle… but they are mothers with the same heart. Mothers who desire to deliver healthy, happy babies just as we do. (The idea was born out of this post: Four Healthy Mamas, Four Healthy Babies as well as the positive feedback I got from other bloggers in the comments, emails, and tweets that ensued.)

Because in rural Papua New Guinea... 1 in 7 women die in childbirth and that rate is simply unacceptable.

There are plenty of resources in the world to help these mothers and babies... they just need to be collected and redistributed.

So this Mothers Day, why not consider giving back from what you’ve received in order to help another mom deliver her own baby safely?

It’s so easy to make a difference. Here’s a few ways that you can get involved:

1. Make a birth kit of your own and send it to us. We will distribute it within the poorest regions of Papua New Guinea through the YWAM Medical Ship. (Instructions on assembly below.) Mail your kit to:

Bloggers for Birth Kits c/o Adriel Booker

YWAM Ships
PO Box 6221
Townsville, QLD 4810

2. Make a donation to YWAM Medical Ships designating Bloggers for Birth Kits in the comments section and we will purchase the supplies and assemble a kit on your behalf. $10 can provide five mums and babies with kits. All funds go directly toward supplies and distribution.

3. Blog about this initiative and rally others to join in the cause.

4. Display the Bloggers for Birth Kits badge on your blog.

5. Share this post with others. Tweet this post using the hashtag #B4BirthKits, link to this post on your facebook, or email this post to friends and family, church and social groups that you think might be interested in getting involved.

6. Consider doing any of the above on behalf of your own mom. What mom wouldn’t like a Mothers Day card saying that a birth kit (or several) were donated on her behalf and she is literally helping to save the lives of mothers and babies in developing nations? If you do make a donation on your mother's behalf, please tell us so in the comments section of the on-line donation form. Write "Bloggers for Birth Kits" and include her name (and specify that she is the mom!), your name, the amount donated, and your email address. I will then email you a personalized printable graphic explaining your gift that can be slipped into her card. To have an insert done by Mothers Day, your donation must be received by Thursday May 5th. A card insert for donations made after that can still be done, but please note that it will be late.

Card insert that will be sent to you via email:

(Where there are blanks, the insert will be personalized with the info you provide.)How to make a birth kit.

According to the Birthing Kit Foundation birth kits are very simple, containing six basic items:

1 plastic sheet (approximately 1m x 1m or 1 yard x 1 yard) – for a clean birthing surface; to prevent mother and child from coming into contact with the floor or ground

1 bar of soap – for clean hands; to prevent the birth attendant from transmitting germs to mother and baby; for cleaning the stump to prevent infection

1 pair of plastic gloves – for clean hands; to prevent the birth attendant from transmitting germs to mother and baby

1 sterile scalpel blade – for a clean cut of the umbilical cord

3 cords/pieces of strong string (24cm or 10 inches long) – for clean ties for the umbilical cord (with an extra string included just-in-case); to prevent bleeding from the umbilical cord from mother and baby

5 gauze squares – to wipe secretions from the baby’s eyes and mothers perineum
If you’d like to assemble one yourself, it’s simple. Just gather the above items, prepare a clean surface, wash your hands thoroughly, and assemble the items into a normal sized ziplock bag. The idea is that the kits are small enough to pack in large quantities (space is incredibly limited on our ship) and simple enough to not deter women who are accustomed to very little medical services and who often are illiterate.

Since I am not purchasing supplies in bulk, my kit cost me a total of $3.10 to make at home – still a very minimal price for the chance at life! (Tomorrow I will post a more detailed post about how to prepare a birth kit yourself, with step-by-step instructions and photos.)

The Mommyhood Memos currently has approximately 900 followers and RSS and email subscribers. My goal is to gather 300 birth kits by the end of this year, which we can easily meet if only 1 in 3 of you respond! I feel like this number is totally reasonable… with the help of this fabulous community.

Note: All photos courtesy of YWAM Medical Ship's I Want to Live campaign in Papua New Guinea.

adriel booker
the mommyhood memos

do not reproduce without written permission

Update May 6, 2011: In three days we've had 210 kits donated/sponsored, 33 blog posts, 192 links on facebook, and tons of tweets. Well done ladies (and gentlemen)! You ARE making a difference by giving and by spreading the word.


  1. this is so great cari! thank you for joining in. it really means a lot to me, and i have no doubt that we're already making a dent on the problem. and thank you on behalf of the beautiful women of papua new guinea!!

    a big happy mothers day to you! xx

  2. Update May 6, 2011: In three days we've had 210 kits donated/sponsored, 33 blog posts, 192 links on facebook, and tons of tweets. Well done ladies (and gentlemen)! You ARE making a difference by giving and by spreading the word.

    Via Adriel, The Mommyhood Memos

    Hooray! Love the bloggers!


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