As you all know, Sew For Kids’ main focus has been in the Wanblee area of Pine Ridge Reservation in SD. However, I recently received an email from a nurse on Rosebud Reservation , which is about 48 miles from Wanblee. Nurse Michelle had gotten wind of our project in Wanblee and asked if we might help their program as well. Michelle works in the Women’s Clinic which is a part of the OB/GYN department at Rosebud Hospital in SD. Their clinic has had a prenatal incentive program in place for a few years although they aren’t able to advertise because they don’t have a reliable source of goods, it’s sort of hit and miss with donations. Nurse Debbie (from Wanblee) and Michelle had previously worked together on Rosebud until last year when Debbie took a job in Wanblee to be closer to her home. She had worked on the Rosebud reservation for 14 years.
The Rosebud program gives moms who follow their prenatal program an item to be added to their diaper bags after each step of the program is completed. The bags are stored at the clinic and are available to the new mother after the baby is born, this is done to ensure the items are there when needed. In order to advertise the program (which would reach and help more women) they would need a consistent flow of donations. There are approximately 10-15 new births each month at Rosebud and about 50 women and babies come through the clinic monthly for services. The NRC (Indian Relief Services) trucks do bring some items like laundry soap and toilet paper occasionally but rarely any supplies for babies and many times truck deliveries are even rejected because they contain items that can’t be used. Women don’t receive anything from the hospital before or after delivery. Although the tribe does help with some of the clinic’s needs, they are still left with a huge shortage of items they need for their program.
The ages of women delivering babies is similar to those of Pine Ridge with many under 20. They will come to the clinic initially for a pregnancy test and an unltrasound but many don’t come back for any prenatal care .The clinic would like to see women on a monthly basis so there will be a good outcome for both mom and baby. Some moms do see the value of good prenatal care and come in monthly once they get into the program. Incentives do help encourage women to come back and work towards completing the program and at the same time fill their diaper bag which they will surely need when the new baby arrives.
Michelle, like Debbie, is a lactation specialist and provides education and encouragement to women that want to pursue breastfeeding their babies and also helps them with any problems that may arise. Michelle uses her own funds to buy food for the group program, food always draws more in as people are always at least a little bit hungry. More women are breastfeeding since the breastfeeding initiative was implemented on the Rez but they need to continue for a longer time.The lactation clinic is trying to address this issue and find out why they are stopping so early.
To give you an idea of needs here is a note I recently received from Michelle. “Just to let you know what we could use, I don’t expect everything on the list, but just to give you an idea of what we would put to good use. Onsies, suits, baby tops, pants, shirts, any baby clothing, sleep sacks, socks, booties, bibs, mittens/hats, burp cloths, baby blankets, swaddlers, washcloths, towels, baby shoes, nail clippers, lotion and manicure sets (for mom), boppies, nursing pads, thermometers, Qtips, children’s books, baby toys (teething, rattles,etc). Pretty much anything to do with a baby we can use. The only exception is that we can’t give out medications.” Add to that list diaper bags which Michelle and I discussed were really needed. We all want babies to come into this world feeling loved and wanted. Having resources does help relieve the stress moms feel when they lack basic needs for their child and the feeling that the child is a burden to them because of not being able to fulfill those needs.
Here’s another note from Michelle. “First of all I want to say THANK YOU! What we have been doing here is a prenatal incentive program. For every scheduled appointment our patients come to, they get one item for their diaper bag. At the time of their delivery we get to give them a diaper bag full of items. We could use any sort of baby items, breastfeeding item, or diaper bags. We could use anything a mom would like for her and her baby. We also do incentives for the mother if they come in and get their labs done which includes 1hr glucose( gestational diabetes test) , group b strep (vaginal test done close to delivery, can be fatal if babies are exposed to this bacteria at delivery), AFP (test for Down’s syndrome). We usually let them choose from one of three things, a pack of toilet paper, lotions, or a gift sack of assorted items. It is amazing how many mothers choose the toilet paper for their family over the gifts for themselves. Thank you again! If you have any more questions please let me know.” “Michelle”
So there you have it, another reservation in SD that is in great need of our help. Donations for babies up to the age of 12 months would be greatly appreciated by Michelle but what they really need right now is clothing, diaper bags and their contents and toiletries for newborns so they can get the prenatal program running and on solid ground again. The need is ongoing, 10 -15 new babies born each month. Some Rosebud women have even headed over to Wanblee in search of things for their babies having heard about the possibility of help there. We can help change this by donating baby things to both reservations, Pine Ridge and Rosebud. Below are a few photos of some things I made/bought this week. Finally I can send the items I’ve been stockpiling while awaiting the new mailing address for the Shining Start Program. My boxes will be on their way early this week to both reservations. Thanks from Sew For Kids. If you can help please send your tax deductible donations here. If you prefer to make a monetary donation, go to Hearts of the Sacred website under Special Programs and make a donation at the Sew For Kids’ site. And while on the site check out their other programs- gardening, heat and food being their main programs. Let us know if you make a donation here. Thanks from Sew For Kids.