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August 20, 2010

Certified Nurse Midwife Maria Rivera spent part of her summer last year away from her home in Houston, Texas to volunteer with Project HOPE. The first-time volunteer had a memorable experience in Puerto Cabaezas, Nicaragua, when a patient asked Maria to name her newborn son.

Maria's Story in Her Own Words:

In August 2008, I volunteered with Project HOPE as part of the U.S. Navy Continuing Promise Mission onboard the the USS Kearsarge. The Kearsarge was anchored about 7-8 miles from Puerto Cabaezas, Nicaragua, where I worked for several weeks. The military helicopters flew the volunteers to an area of the airport landing strip, and buses transported us to the local hospital to work and teach in Puerto Cabazas.

It was there at the local hospital where I had my most memorable experience of the trip. One day while visiting the OB Department, a Navy nurse and I had the privilege of supporting several of the women with their labor and postpartum phase. We introduced ourselves and were welcomed by the women and the nursing staff. The following day, we visited with the postpartum women and their newborn babies and conducted the new mother's postpartum exams, as well as a newborn exam.

As a fluent Spanish speaker, communication with the women, nursing and medical staff, was not a problem. Therefore, there was not a barrier for teaching postpartum and newborn care. One woman was so grateful for the care and teaching, that she asked me to name her newborn son. It was an honor and a privilege to be asked such a task, for doing what is natural in my heart-- personal training and calling as a Certified Nurse-Midwife. I hold this fond memory in the depths of my heart and my photo with newborn W. S. W. in my personal photo album.

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