Sunday, August 26, 2007

Laura Jean & Lara Jean

Earlier today, a mom tore really bad while delivering her beautiful little girl. It was more than we could fix here at the clinic, so she was transported to the hospital to be fixed up and her baby stayed back here until she was able to be discharged from our care. During that time, she needed to eat, so I volunteered to nurse her.

It wasn't until she was getting ready to be discharged that we found out, through coincidence entirely, the baby girl was being named Lara Jean.

Small world, hey?

Here is a pic of the two of us...

Answered Prayers

Today has been amazing. I left the birth room last night after working 16 hours. I had one transport and one patient I had sent home. I was bummed.

I woke up this morning at nearly 10 am. My mom took Carlie and let me sleep in. It was wonderful! I have been up most mornings around 5 am, so this was a nice treat...gotta love the Granny Nanny, as we have affectionately nicknamed her.
So on to answered prayers...

1. I woke up this morning and my sore throat is gone. I feel so much better.

2. My mom, Carlie and I went to go visit the patient I transported yesterday morning. We got to the hospital and found her right away. She was able to have a vaginal birth a little less than an hour after we dropped her off and both mom and baby are healthy! Mary Fe, the mom, was very pleased with the way things turned out and kept thanking me for the support she received during her time at Mercy. We prayed together and then she asked me for my email address. I was surprised to hear that she had email, but was very happy to give mine. I hope that we can keep in touch.
Here is a pic of baby Hector, Mary Fe, Carlie and me.

3. While at the hospital, I also saw, Aris, the 16 year old mom who lost her baby earlier in the week. She looked much better than the other day I had seen her, but I know she is still hurting. I didn't ask for any specifics, just let her know that we were praying for her.

4. Lisa, another intern here, dropped by the house this afternoon and offered me on of her patients who was in active labor. I rushed over to the clinic and took over. A 6 lb 3 oz baby boy was born at 8:27 this evening...he was slow to start, but once we got him going, he has been vigorous and is doing great. Mom lost a good amount of blood with the placenta and had an issue with blood pressure (low), pulse (high) and temp (high), but after we started an IV, she is doing much better.

So, my day was great. As I near the time to leave, I am realizing how much I am going to miss being here. I love the people and they bless me with their welcoming, kind and gentle spirits. I am so blessed to have been given this opportunity.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


Since being here, I have typically been on the Tuesday team for my prenatals with a couple Fridays thrown in. I have really enjoyed this time to worship with the women, have a small devotional with the other midwives and get to know the patients prior to the hard work labor entails. I have been so blessed by the Filippinas kind and gentle spirit.

Here are how prenatal clinics run... The women start gathering outside the clinic as early as 6 am to sign in, as they are taken first come first seen. At 8 am, they are taken upstairs to the waiting room where their blood pressure, weight and hemotocrit (if needed) are taken. Then comes joint worship, sometimes the songs are in Visayan and sometimes they are in English. After worship comes Health Teaching. The topics can range from fetal development, breastfeeding, family planning, nutrition, etc. After the Health Teaching, the actual prenatals start. They aren't the one hour appointments we do at home, but they are receiving much superior care here then elsewhere.

Ate Susan doing a Health Teaching - she is amazing!

This is the room we do prenatals in. All the curtains come down for privacy and the air con comes on. It is so nice :)

The banas (husbands/boyfriends) all wait outside for the moms to get done. You can see the tricicabs through the window.

I have been trying to embed this video of worship time, but my connection isn't allowing it. You can see it here though. I just think it is beautiful.

Samal Island Jeepney Tour

Can you tell I have some extra time during a shift and the internet is actually working on a continual basis? :)

On August 10, my mom, Carlie and I went on a tour of Samal Island, which is only a 5-7 minute boat road from Davao City. We loaded up into this "jeepney" and off we went.

I thought this was such a neat tree. Had to get a picture of it!
When we got off at one of our stops, this man was walking down the dirt road. He has a durian - a type of native fruit - balanced on his head.

About half way through the tour, we stopped at some caves that held the world's largest gathering of bats. There are an estimated 1.3 million bats there. It was unbelievable! Carlie could not be convinced that they were bats, instead she said they were birdies.

A couple more...

Here is the boat we take over to Paradise Island (beach). I have left my mom and Carlie there a couple times, so now whenever I leave to go anywhere, Carlie thinks I have left on the boat.

I have been pleasantly surprised at the lack of creepy crawly creatures here. I was preparing myself for much worse. I do have to say that this snail is pretty yucky though. The juice boxes here are taller than the boxes in the states, so that will give you an idea how big this sucker was. Snail on steriods, for sure!

There are four people on this one motorcycle...I have seen up to 5, but others say they have seen many more. Don't ask me how they do it! Good thing Filippinos are small people :)

More babies...

Here are some pictures of my most recent moms and babies :) Are Filippino babies just gorgeous?

Carlie Pictures

Here are some pictures of Carlie...mainly for Daddy, Katie-mama, Bubba and Maddie :) I know what a kick they got out of the last batch and thought they might like these too!

Spoke too soon...

I had my first transport today. It was a 3rd time mom who would not progress. We believe the baby's head was too big to enter the pelvis. The ride to the hospital wasn't as scary as the last...not sure if I am used to it or if the guard didn't drive as fast.

When we got to the hospital, we were processed fast. The mom was exhausted and wanted a csection at that point. We are not able to stay with the patient after they are checked in, so we left her there, praying that baby and mom would be safe.

Today, I saw something at the hospital, I hadn't seen last time, but had heard about. In a room, right off of the ER entrance, called the Resuscitation Room, there were 5 or 6 beds, all with patients in them ranging in ages from around 3 to elderly. There were no machines, there were no doctors or nurses, just a family member next to each bed with a resuscitation bag pumping air into their loved ones lungs. They don't have the option to stop because if they do, the patient dies. It was heart breaking and words can't really describe the scene or the emotion. The hospital is everything that had been described to me, but you cannot even begin to get what it is like until you have seen it and been there.

I will go back to the hospital tomorrow and check in on my patient. I am praying that she was able to have the baby vaginally as this is an easier recovery, better for both mom and baby and less expensive, but really, the only thing that matters is that baby and mom are safe and healthy.

My throat is a bit sore today. I am nervous that I might be coming down with strep again. I had some other students pray with me this morning and I am trusting in God's protection over us while we are here.

Please also keep Ben in your prayers. He has been hit with many obstacles in regards to our business while I have been gone. We are still having employee issues and now we are dealing with the IRS in regards to an issue from before we owned the business. It is a bit much for him and I wish I could do more.

I am working a 16 hour shift this afternoon and hope to get some pictures posted. Check back in :)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Long time, no post... has been a long while. Between my crazy schedule and our internet service not working more times than not, I haven't been able to update as I had hoped. Let's see if I can bring you up to date.

We just completely week four here. In some ways it has gone by so fast and in others I feel like I have been here forever. I am getting used to the way things are done here and really feel like I have become competant with the way things go.

I have handled 8 births thus far and charted or assisted in 10 others. I have had quite a few slow shifts, much more than I anticipated, but it has been good for a time of prayer and reflection.

In those births that I have been apart of, I have been amazed at God's protection over the moms and babies. All have been healthy.

Because I have had all healthy deliveries, I had not had a chance to go on a transport to the local government hospital we bring our moms to if they risk out of our services. So, last night, Elisabeth, one of the students here, was on her way to the hospital with a patient and asked me if I wanted to go with her to experience it. The ride over there was a bit scary and clausterphobic for me. The ambulance windows were closed and we were going so fast. There is no air con in the ambulance, so the air was very thick and humid. We arrived at the hospital and it was just as everyone had described to me. Our mom was quickly brought to a room to be examined and the doctor did a quick over on her. The walls and exam tables were all splattered with blood - and it wasn't from our patient. The labor area of the hospital was out in the open with no curtains and probably about 100 women there. After we got the mom checked in, we prayed with her and then had to leave.

This afternoon after I got off shift, Elisabeth and I went back to the hospital to see mom and baby. When we got there, there was some confusion as to if she was a patient or not, but we found her in a bed in the postpartum unit. Like the Labor Unit, there are about 300 women all in one room, bed after bed with their babies. Everything is very old and very dirty. Immediately when I saw her, I knew something was wrong. She looked to be crying and I could not see a baby. Her neighbor in the next bed motioned that the baby was dead. We just sat and cried and prayed with her. She wasn't really able to speak at all, just layed in bed sobbing. There are no answers here. No one seems to know if baby died before or after the birth and I doubt we or they will ever know. She now has to spend the next 2-3 days in the postpartum ward with all the other moms and babies. My heart just breaks for her. Aris is only young to have gone through this pregnancy and now death. Please keep her and her family in your prayers.

We leave a week from today. I am so excited to see my kids and Ben. 5 weeks is really a long time. I am so thankful for this opportunity though and would do it again. I have been convicted time and time again at how even when life feels tough for us in the US, it is nothing compared to how others live their lives. We have so much to be thankful for.

I hope to add lots more pics soon...pray that the internet works and I find the time! :)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

4th Catch

Here I am with Grace and her baby girl. My fourth catch here in the Philippines. Grace had her baby on August 9th.

Paradise Island

For 12 Ph pesos (less than .$25), you can take a 5-7 minute boat ride from Davao City to Samal Island. We spent the day there last Thursday at the resort, Paradise Island, after I got off of the night shift and had a blast.

Here are some pics from our day.
Jean and Carlie on the boat ride. Carlie wasn't too sure about the whole thing.

Here is the view of the island from the boat.

Carlie and my mom both had fresh pineapple juice in a pineapple (around $1.40!)

Carlie was surprised at how sweet it was!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Just so you know...

I am not going to have computer access that much for the next week. So, if you don't see an update from me, I am fine. Just busy.

Thanks again everyone for your kind words of encouragement and prayers. Love you all.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Baby Pictures

Just caught my third baby. Another healthy mommy and baby. God is so so good. Here are pics of babies 1 and 2. The top three pictures are Axcel Troy (my 2nd catch), his mommy, me and my assistant and then comes Brigitte and her mommy (my first catch). The last picture is of me with one of the Filippina midwives.

Can you tell how hot I get during birth here? That is about the only time the weather and humidity really bother me. I think I must lose at least 5 lbs of water weight with each one! :)