Thursday, August 30, 2007

Driving and stuff

Sorry we haven't been updating our blog too much this week. We have been too busy having a great time with Mom and Dad. Today we went to the House of Jubilee to help feed the kids. I'm not sure if we're much help, but the kids love to see us and play with us, so I guess that counts for something.

This afternoon Matt was kind enough to lone us his car so we took Mom and Dad on a bit of a tour of the city. I suspect my driving startled them at times, but I'm just trying my best to drive like the locals. We went up to Jack's Ridge for a great view of the city, a couple of the islands, and the bay. It was a lovely day, so the view was fantastic. We then drove north out of the city to see what we could see. We drove for well over an hour but never actually left the city of Davao. They boast that they are three times the size of Manila which of course is a farce. They cheat by putting the city limits very far away from what we would consider the city proper.

We drove to the edge of the mountains. It was beautiful. I didn't really take many pictures because I was driving and didn't want to stop very regularly. I do plan to go back to that area though because I think I could get some really nice pics there. I don't have any pics of Mom and Dad either because when I tried to take one, Mother complained that she was grubby.

Anyway, we're having a super visit with my parents. Please be praying for Dad. His sleeping patterns have been askew. Below are a couple of photos taken with Bethany's camera at Jubilee today. One of them is of her being swarmed by the children. The other is some of the kitchen staff that prepared the lunch for the kids.

Tomorrow is our 5 year anniversary. I love my wife.


Monday, August 27, 2007

Just Catching Up...

A brief catch up on the events of the last few days:

My parents arrived in Davao this morning. We're very excited to have them with us all week. We took them to Boodles (a nearby restaurant) for lunch and Dad ordered BBQ chicken. They served him a chicken leg that still had the foot attached! We'll tell you more about their visit as the week goes on.

Bethany took me out for a lovely birthday dinner this weekend. We went to a place called Jack's Ridge and ate dinner as we looked over the city. It was great. And the chocolate cheesecake was fabulous, which is surprising because most Filipino food that involves cheese is usually a big disappointment.

I spent some time at the ropes course, Outland Adventures, last week. They were doing one of their three days camps for high school students and they had asked me to take some photos for a multi-media presentation they're working on. I had a great time taking pictures and hanging from great heights, but I also got to observe the camp and got a better understanding of what they do out there.

The kids spend time doing various group activities. They then debrief with the counselors about how the activity made them feel and what life lesson they could learn from the experience. With each activity the counselors introduce a piece of the gospel. In the evenings they all gather together to sing worship songs and hear more about the gospel. By the end of the weekend many of the students have made a decision for Christ.

The whole thing seems like an excellent way to minister to these kids. I'm hoping to spend a lot more time at Outland in the future. Right now I'm looking for as many ways to minister the gospel to people as I can.


Saturday, August 25, 2007

LBM and Birthdays....

Greetings! And a very Happy 28th Birthday to my bana, Tim! It's been a very busy day, but I should start with yesterday (Friday).

I was on duty for prenatals and Ate Susan (my supervisor) taught me how to do injections! I got to do several prenatals on my own and then she MADE me give a tetanus injection on my own! Crazy! She said that I was a very fast learner and was so impressed with my bloodless injection. WHOOOPPEEE! I am learning so much!

Then, Jenn and her helper, Nene and I went to "ukai, ukai" which is the best place to get used clothing here in the Phils. I got a great blouse for 25 pesos! That's like 50 cents! We had a great time and then went to Jenn's house to have all the amazing Filipina midwives over! We had pizza and so enjoyed getting to know them better....we decided that we needed to have a karaoke night soon!...and eat Filipino food, of course!

Today, I have been in the birth room. A good and heavy day all at once....I arrived at 6 am to work with supervisor, Jonna, interns, Laura and Julia, and Jane, our lovely Filipina midwife.
Dear Gigi was already in labor and in intense pain. I was able to chart. We were sure her baby would arrive by 7:30 am, but by 8am, baby was stuck inside and she was crying to Jesus for help. I passed on the chart and asked if I could pray with her.....after 10 minutes of praying, her screams and cries were more like low moans....her body was beginning to relax a bit, too. I began to rub her back and she looked as though she was resting.

Our supervisor gave it a few more minutes and then inserted an IV. Our supervisor decided to transport her to the hospital and at that point, Gigi was ready for a c-section.

I prayed with her again and continued to massage her back while Laura and I accompanied her in the ambulance to Davao Medical Center. Once again, DMC was filled to the brim with business....the nurses were kind, though, and got Gigi in there pretty quickly. However, her wait for the doctor was long and we were told to leave. We are still waiting for word whether she had her baby boy and whether it was by C-section or naturally. Please pray for Gigi and her little boy.

On the way back to the clinic, Laura and I had a good time of praying and crying for Gigi. I hear that it never gets easier to transport a "buntis" to the hospital....this is the hardest part of my time here. Mercy is heaven compared to DMC. Whew. I am so glad that everything that happens is filtered through the loving hands of God....and He is all-loving.....ALL the time. Mmmm. Heavy.

We had three more women in during our shift, one gave birth to a baby boy as we were transporting Gigi to the hospital, the other two were sent home because they were not dilated enough. Perhaps the swing shift midwives will see them!?

After shift, I came home to find out that Tim was at Outland Adventure taking pics again (soon to come) and having loose bowel movements (LBM) for his sad. He came home sad....sweaty and ready for our dinner drive to Jack's Ridge...a beautiful lookout restaurant in the hills of Davao. Before leaving, I lit his cheesecake (only 2 candles would stay lit because of the wind/rain/thunder/lightning storm that was brewing), but the pics turned out anyway...then he opened my card....Ahhhhh. I will let him tell you about HIS birthday, Jack's Ridge and Outland Adventure next post. :)

Many blessings to you all and keep those comments coming!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

All things Filipino....

Greetings! This afternoon Jenny, Lois and Charity took me on a Filipino Extravaganza to NCCC Mall. They needed a homework break and I needed some "out and about" time. Our first stop was to "Chow King"...the McDonald's of the Jenny said, "Kids here don't say, 'Mommy..take me to McDonald's'...they say, 'Mommy! Take me to Chow King!'" So there you go...we went to true Filipino fast food and had the most popular desert..."Halo Halo".
Halo Halo is crushed ice mixed with sweetened condensed milk, buko, candied bananas, candied beans, crunchy rice flakes, strange candied unidentifiable fruity jellies, and purple sweet potato ice cream....Mmmmm. It was good...the finished product is pictured below.
Then they took me up to the bowling alley...and check out my score! Yes, I am "Bet" and Lois was "Noif" 'cuz the guy couldn't figure out how to spell her name. :) Jenny and Charity were in the lane beside us and we had a great time cheering each other on and making quite the scene.
Then we took a taxi in search of REAL see, the cheesecake here is made of processed cheese....tastes like salt and well....cheez whiz. But after being tipped off by another midwife, we found "Lachi's"....a dessert place far far away (or seemed like it) and REAL cheesecake appeared!
Tim's favorite dessert is cheesecake and I just needed to find one for him....and with the help of my dear friends, Jenny, Lois, and Charity, we picked out an EXTREMELY expensive (by Filipino standards) chocolate swirl cheesecake for Tim's birthday. Ahhhh. He will LOVE it.

Then we came home, had some grub and met at the clinic for home group...all us students and staff together again. The teaching was fantastic and it led to some deep repentance for things said and some things unsaid....for the way we foreigners have treated the Filipinas to the way we have portrayed the body of Christ. We were reminded that we ALL are the "aroma of Christ" and should treat each other as such. It was a good word. Heavy stuff and I know God is not finished with us.....

Tomorrow morning is another prenatal day and I am looking forward to meeting more ladies! Thank you for all your prayers and encouragements! Be blessed!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Water pumps, thunderstorms, and pirated movies....

Greetings! Thank you all for the comments on last post....poor Tim is looking and feeling a bit better now that his beard is beginning to grow back. It may be a while before he totally feels like himself.

This post is an "everything" specific theme, just news of what we're up we begin:

We've been having some water trouble...not sure why, but our water pump has been shutting off and it seems to do this when I am in the shower. I am very thankful for the opportunity to even TAKE a shower, but when the pump stops, the water stops and when your soapy and Tim has to run all the way to the street, turn on the water, run up the stairs, and then turn on the pump, we get a bit frustrated. We're trying to fix the problem soon as Steve and Christina (Tim's parents) are coming on Monday! YEAH! It'll be great to see them and show them around our new home. AND they will get to experience our awesome COLD WATER showers, too! Who needs a water heater when your body temperature heats the water as it hits you!?

In other news, we've been having the MOST AMAZING lightning and thunderstorms. They start at around 6 pm (just when it gets dark) and end around midnight! Sometimes the heavy rains follow it, which sounds like thunder....until you HEAR THE THUNDER! The loudest thunder I've ever heard! BEAUTIFUL! There aren't any tall buildings to block your lightning view, so the show is magnificent. It is so easy to marvel at the power and beauty of the Lord in the midst of the storms. He is FANTASTIC....what a wonderful Creator....AND we catch the rain water just in case we lose our water (like this morning!) and last night alone, we filled both our giant buckets half full!

Another amazing experience in the Philippines, is the pirated movie, in Canada, I would be opposed to buying such filth, but here, since we don't get movies, the pirated gems are a blessing....Tim and I have never watched much TV and we don't have one here, but the occasional movie on Tim's laptop is one of the greatest ways to "cool down" at the end of a busy day.....ahhhhh. Of course, some the pirated stuff is just plain can actually hear people talking during the movie and sometimes they drop the video is quite the movie experience. :)

Are you bored, yet?

Continuing on, Tim's birthday is Saturday (he will be 28!) and I have to work....and so does he!! He is supposed to be taking photos on location at Outland Adventure Camp! They are having a weekend of high schoolers and Tim has been asked to document the experience for the directors. Great fun for him.....except yesterday he had a little accident and tore off a HUGE piece of skin from his foot...the wound is deep and bled a lot...and he is to be tromping through the wilderness today through we're praying it heals quickly.

My last night shift was a quiet one, no babies. But Ate Susan, my supervisor, and I had an amazing two-hour conversation about the Lord, how we got to Mercy, and the journeys in between. While we were talking, a small ant train began to form....little by little...from one end of the clinic to the other, the ant train began to grow...and grow...until it was a full ant SUPERHIGHWAY! I kid you not....that ant community was migrating right through the clinic! It was truly amazing. The queen even came out for the migration event! I looked over and nearly lost my breath as the millions of ants in perfect alignment, all traveling the same way, passed from one outside door to the other. Way cool! Ate Susan quickly got out the bleach and then the ants went nutsy and died. Poor, poor ant community. They lost some of their own that night. But it was cool! The picture is actually when the majority of the ants had passed and the few stragglers were left behind! The one with the ants swirling is the ant community protecting the queen (in the middle)! They continued heading towards the door while swirling around the queen! If I were an ant, I think I'd get dizzy! The other picture is of our dear clinic guard who helped fight the ants. He makes sure we midwives are safe....even from ants. :)

This week, I also found out my team members (the students and supervisors I will be with for this semester)! My supervisors are Jonna (pronounced "Jonah") from Oregon, who has been here on and off for 5 years, and Elai, a Filipina who may be taking a sabbatical, so I may not see a whole lot of her for a while. My peers are Heather, another married student on her second year, Lois, my dear friend, also in her second year, Josephine, a Filipina student who is an awesome worship leader, Medea, who is first year, but has a lot of experience being a nurse and all, me, and Serena, a student arriving in September! Our prenatal day is Wednesday and we will be in the birth room together, too. Please pray for our team as we desire cohesiveness, community, humility and grace.....patience for the supervisors who will be teaching us, peace in our dealings with each other, healthy relationships between peers and teachers, and joy in working together...please, please pray.

I think that's about all there is to report this week....thank you so much for all your prayers, comments, and encouraging words. Be blessed!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Swing shift and a bad haircut....

Greetings! Tim is not happy...not happy at all. In fact, Tim is very sad....sad that his chin is naked and his lips are cold. Today Tim went for a haircut....a haircut to cut the hairs on his head...

Last post Tim shared that the kids at House of Jubilee loved his beard and were constantly yanking on it. Alas, the red beard that made Tim look like a teddy bear is no longer with us.

Tim explained to the barber that he wanted his beard cut to 1/4" and the dear man just did not understand and shaved his beard OFF. Tim phoned me from the barber just to warn me of the pending doom and I couldn't help but chuckle..."Welcome to the Philippines!" (Note to self...I will continue to cut my own hair.)

A depressed pirated-movie-carrying Tim came home....the movies are to occupy our time while we wait for Tim's beard to grow back! Just kidding. It's all a part of the experience, right?

In other news, I worked swing shift in the birth room yesterday. While it was a good shift for visiting with other midwives, very little labor occurred. But a lady named Michelle came in and left quite an impression on me.....

She was just barely 33 weeks when she came in and clearly having strong contractions. Given her due date was October 15, we were quite concerned. My supervisor explained to her that she could not deliver at Mercy as we are not allowed to deliver premature babies below 37 weeks. Michelle understood, but began to cry (I don't blame her).

I asked her if I could pray for her and she nodded. I prayed that the Lord would protect her and her baby and that He would give her peace. She looked very weathered for 21 years old and had already given birth to three children. Her bana (husband) looked very concerned and my supervisor opted to transfer them to the hospital.

I was able to ride with them in Mercy's ambulance and walked with them through the mess of the hospital to triage. The hospital was very full and people were yelling and scurrying was so heavy there. Lots of children crying and wounded Filipinos walking aimlessly about. Julia (the intern midwife I was with) handed in Michelle's papers and we were told to sit them down on a crowded bench and then leave.

I felt like I was abandoning them and felt a little sick. I asked her one last time if I could pray for her and her bana and after praying, she smiled and said "salamat" thank you. Then we left. I felt awful. But I am hoping that though she was in a crowded and heavy place with beds only a couple inches apart, that they were able to stop her contractions so that she is able to deliver at Mercy....and if not, that she will have a safe and healthy labor and baby. Please pray for Michelle, too! Sending laboring women to the hospital is no fun....for anyone.

Thanks and please keep the comments coming! I get to work the night shift tonight! I will try and take pictures......Be blessed!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

House of Jubilee

Today we went with Jenn and Joe and some of their kids to the House of Jubilee, a local ministry that feeds children and provides some basic tutoring. I believe this was the most fun either of us have had since we arrived here in Davao. We got to play with the children, which mostly entailed them climbing on us or pulling my beard. My beard is getting rather large these days, and the locals seem to be quite puzzled by it. The kids were quite happy to play with it.

When we arrived, the children were very happy to see us. Some of them cheered and greeted us around our car before we had even gotten out. When we entered the gate of the property they cheered even louder. I was the last to duck through the gate, and when they saw me, their cheers turned into a chorus of "Whoa!" Again, I think my beard (and perhaps my size) are quite the attraction.

The children gathered together to sing some songs about Jesus. The leaders would proclaim that "God is good", and the children replied at the top of their lungs "All the time", leaving my ears ringing. After the singing they washed their hands and had lunch. We were able to help server the lunch and assist the younger children with cutting up their food. After lunch they brushed their teeth (something they are in desperate need of) with toothbrushes provided by Jubilee.

These kids are severely malnourished. For many of them, this is the only meal they would have received today. One of the girls, aged four, could barely walk when she first arrived at Jubilee. Her mother feeds her coffee and pig fat. Now, thanks to the nutrition that Jubilee provides, she is walking! These folks serve the kids four or five days a week.

Bethany and I are going to go to their church service tomorrow morning. We were very blessed to be a part of the activities today, and we know we will be spending more time with those kids.


Friday, August 17, 2007

Feeling a bit better!

Greetings! Thank you for praying for me these last two days! Yesterday, our dear friends, Jenn and Joe, came over to pray for me as I was barely able to get out of bed. The diarrhea, intense stomach pain and migraines made the humidity and crazy heat almost unbearable. I spent most of the day laying lifeless on our bed sweating like a stuffed pig. Not fun, but God's mercies were once again, new Friday morning and I made it to prenatal check-ups! Praise God! I hated having to stay home from swing shift on Thursday, but walking to prenatals this morning made me feel so grateful for His provision of health.

I got to work with an intern from Colorado who has 11 children! YES, eleven kids...all her own...all delivered vaginally! Nuts! Joyce and I had a great time listening for fetal heart tones and asking all the usual questions.....she is a great midwife and taught me a lot and I was able to teach her some Cebuano! We made a good team and she let me do a whole bunch of the exams on my own! I am learning more and more how to determine if edema/swelling is serious or if it is just the heat or how to find the heart tones of TWINS!

We got to exam a beautiful lady named Juvelle that will be having twins very soon! Feeling two babies and hearing their hearts beat was an amazing experience! It's her first pregnancy and she is very excited to be having twins. Joyce and I giggled and joked with Juvelle as we felt for the positions of her two babies. Fun. Then we got to pray a blessing over her and her little ones. That's my favorite part.

The pictures are of the prenatal classes taught today by my friend, Jenny, and being translated by Melody (she ROCKS)! She was teaching on birth control....a little-known subject prizes for women who answered questions, Jenny brought condoms....and you should've seen the buntas get excited about getting a condom! It was better than candy! We had a good laugh.

Jenny did a great job explaining all the birth control methods and which ones were the best. Here, the preferred method is "withdrawal" which totally doesn't work, but many of the women are taught this is the best and then they come into Mercy pregnant! The women are taught to check their cervical mucus and understand when their bodies ovulate....a task that is harder than you'd think! I am still learning to do that myself!

But in a few months, I will be in Jenny's shoes - teaching and hopefully giving out great prizes! Scary and fun all at the same time!

Tomorrow Tim and I are heading to "House of Jubilee", a ministry that feeds the poor children of Davao. They are expecting over 100 children tomorrow! And we get to go help! We are very excited to get to know this ministry and serve in a different way.

Thank you for all your comments and encouragements! Please continue to pray for us as we know we've been under some attack....

Be blessed!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Slow Day

I'm going to keep this fairly short because I don't have much to say on the matter. What matter? Nothing matters. Check out what Ecclesiastes 1:2 has to say on that matter...

Hey folks, I spent another day on the boat yesterday. Please be praying for Glen. The engine installation is going slower than anticipated. Yesterday he arrived at the boat to weld the new engine into place, but by the time I had left at 2:30 they were still struggling to maneuver the motor into the right position. As it turns out, it is rather tricky to move a few tons of raw diesel power a fraction of an inch. Glen was feeling frustrated because he had hired a man who specializes in engine installations, but the guy didn't show up because he had to go to a funeral or something.

On the bright side, I did get to go with Glen to the warehouse where he buys all the metal that he needs. This is where we will be getting some of the materials for the water filters. On the really bright side, I got myself a wicked sunburn (see Ecclesiastes 1:3). I spent some time hammering a few pieces of steel on the back of the boat (that sounds more romantic than it really is). When I started the job I was in the shade, but I have discovered that the earth has this annoying habit of rotating (see Ecclesiastes 1:5). Anyway, at some point the shade went away and so did my pasty white complexion. (Is that really how you spell "complexion"? It seems kind of Old English. The language, not the floor polish.) ("polish", not "Polish". I can't believe the people group is spelled the same way as the verb.) (Have you ever seen so many brackets back to back?)

Bethany and I had a few friends over for pizza last night. Then Jenn and Joe brought their dinner guests over and we played a few games. Good times were had by all. Below is a picture of what happens when you play spoons (a card game) with people who have ADD.

Please be praying for Bethany. She is having tummy trouble. It kept her up much of last night and it looks like she won't be going to work today. And please pray for me...three Ecclesiastes references in one bit of prose is clearly an indication that I have too much time on my hands.

Be blessed!


Monday, August 13, 2007

Uh oh, Tim's rambling again...

I thought I would give you a brief report on what I have been up to lately and show you a few pictures I've taken along the way. Last week I joined Glen Knight on his boat(s) for the day. Glen is my new friend who runs Remote Island Ministries. I had joined him on his boat in order to help out with the installation of a new engine, but our day didn't go as planned.

The new engine was supposed to arrive from Cebu (the second largest city in the Phils) that morning, but after I arrived at the boat we learned that the engine was not due until the evening. We decided to spend our morning inquiring about a crane that we could use to switch engines at a local dock. We were taking the Tropicana (pictured below, it is the smaller of Glen's boats, though at 62 feet it can hardly be considered small) across the bay when the engine suddenly cut out and we started to drift south.
Without the engine, we were drifting parallel to the waves which made for a rather turbulent ride. The crew did their best to get it going again, but after we had drifted a mile or two, they decided it was best to call for help and get towed back to the Nativa (Glen's large boat, pictured below). The turbulence left me feeling a little seasick just in time for lunch!
After lunch we decided to take a drive up the mountain on Samal Island, where they were just beginning a church building project. Faith Baptist, the church Bethany and I have been attending, has a seminary that works with RIM. The students go with Glen on the boat, preach the gospel in the villages and then plant a church there. We drove up the mountain to a village called Bandera to see them unloading the bricks that would become part of the foundation. The church will be located right at the top of the mountain, across the street from a school and the barangay hall (something akin to a community center...sort of).

I took a few pictures of the church property. Because it is at the top of a mountain, they will first have to level it off by filling in the lot with stones. You can see a red water tower behind the empty lot. Glen is excited about getting some water filters to this location because he is convinced that the water sits in that tower too long and becomes unfit to drink. Apparently a visiting pastor drank from that source and became intensely ill.
I also took some photos of the kids that were watching us from the school house. Sorry this was such a long post, but now you know a bit more about Glen and his boats and what he does. He and I are hoping to have a water filtration operation started by February. I'm really looking forward to joining him on some of his journeys to the remote Islands. I will learn a lot from him, and I believe that the Lord has great things in store for RIM.

You can be praying that Glen successfully installs the new engine into the Nativa. They were able to get a crane and get the engine into the boat (the crane operator nearly dropped the engine into the ocean), but they still have to hook it all up. Also, please be praying for Glen's wife, Paula, who went back to Texas last week and has become very ill with some mysterious virus.

Talk to you again soon.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Learning so much!

Greetings! I am actually writing this in the birth's 2:10 am Monday morning here...the ladies have settled and are sleeping for the night. So far, we've had one birth! Another laboring woman named Micay (sounds like "Mee-Kie") just came in and I am sure we will see her baby in the next few hours, but for now, she is resting with her bana (hubby). We found out the coolest thing, too! is Micay's Birthday! She's gonna have her baby's birthday on HER birthday! Crazy! What a celebration today will be!

The birth we had this evening (my sixth attended birth at Mercy!) was a great learning experience. Jenny was my teacher and she is also a student here. Our supervisor was Ate Susan (pictured in previous posts) and another attending midwife was Laura, an intern from Utah.

Jenny, Laura and me got to work with Elizabeth as she pushed her BIG baby boy out. She had a difficult labor and after delivering beautiful Joshua at 10:56 pm, she bled quite a bit, needed some manual assistance in getting her placenta out, plus an IV, a catheter and some more drugs. She was so strong the entire time, wincing in pain as so many midwives were putting their limbs inside her to make sure she was okay. She continued to smile and even tried breastfeeding despite the difficulties. She is resting now and Joshua is doing great.

This was my first time charting the WHOLE entire event on my own, too! It was pretty special. AND THEN!!! I got to bathe the baby (hence the pictures). Joshua was a good sport as I got him nice and clean and Jenny did the baby checks while I charted the results. I had a GAS. Elizabeth was so great with letting me do the dirty work with her new son and her bana was all smiles. Even her mother came to celebrate! Jenny was gracious as I asked her TONS of questions and she explained every detail of the birth and aftermath with me. She made me feel comfortable and encouraged my progress.

Needless to say....I was blessed....and my shift isn't over for another four hours! Busy, but peaceful night. Praise Jesus for healthy babies and healthy moms. What a blessing.

Please continue to pray for us and don't forget to really blesses us!

------update! Micay's baby girl, Cheska, was born healthy and happy at 3:35 am Monday morning! Praise God and a happy birthday to her!------

Friday, August 10, 2007

Baby Girl, quiet shift

"Maayong Buntag!" Good morning! Today I worked with midwives Susan, Rose, Ate Ana, Ate Estef and pictured below is also Ate Susan. Rose, pictured above, who is so silly and sings non-stop (no joke) was scheduled to pick up the next labor that walked through the doors.
And 45 minutes later, patient Christina gave birth to beautiful Christine Kim. Rose and Susan were her midwives and I got to chart a bit, get supplies and pray with the family. Her "bana" (husband) was all smiles as he gazed at his new baby girl. A fast labor and a fast delivery. And praises to Jesus. She is a beautiful baby....and very quiet. Very appropriate considering they were the only ones here. I felt far more confident in all the things I am learning today.... Thanks for your prayers! Please continue to pray for remembrance of all the crazy things I have to memorize and learn! What a joy and what a task!
Despite the quiet morning, as I left this afternoon, two more "buntas" arrived in labor. Busy swing shift's really HOT today, too, so I imagine there will be many more coming in!
It was a good day. Tim will be posting next with some great pics of our neighbors! Stay tuned and be blessed!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Busy prenatal day!

Greetings! Today I got to do some prenatals all by myself!! No joke!

Lois was my teacher and little by little she had me do every part of the prenatal exam and by the end of the morning, I had done 5 all by myself! She started by teaching me how to count the fetal heart tones, then she went through each question I was to ask the "buntas"...
"Any bleeding or pain when urinating?" I learned to say that in Cebuano! Then after a bunch of other questions, I got to measure the fundal height, listen to the baby, feel for the baby's position and chart the results. I also had the opportunity to give some helpful advice and pray for the mothers-to-be!

Pictured is Lois measuring the baby's growth and me charting the results. Fun! Lois is such a great teacher and I was blessed to have her place so much faith in my abilities....I really feel like I don't know much, but with Lois' encouragement and the permission of my supervisor, I was able to fumble through the exams. It was great. I asked my teachers tons of questions and they were always so gracious to answer each one.

The other picture is of my supervisor, Ate Susan. She is an amazing person. She is silly and goofy (like me!) and yet, can speak the truth, train and teach with grace. She is not at all annoyed when I ask questions and is always ready to give a smile or a giggle. I appreciate her. I really love prenatals...she makes them less stressful for a first-timer.

Prenatals usually begin with the buntas arriving and while waiting for their individual check-up, they get their blood drawn and their blood pressure checked. Then we all sing worship songs together, pray, get a few relaxing exercises out of the way, then listen to some Bible teaching. After that, the buntas are taught a lesson about good prenatal health and the importance of coming to their check-ups. (this is always in Cebuano). Then the ladies come one-by-one into the cubicles where us midwives are waiting to check them out. There are usually four midwives working and another three charting and making sure that the ladies are prepared for their check-up. After that, the ladies are free to go.

Today was exceptionally busy. I started out by filling the syringes for tetanus shots and then went to work with Lois. We had one lady who had extremely high blood pressure and had to be given an IV then taken to the hospital for preeclampsia! Then we had another lady who was struggling with high blood pressure and needed to chug tons of water, lay on her left side and be monitored every fifteen minutes. She was later discharged and encouraged to rest and drink tons of tubig (water). We also had a lady who didn't speak Cebuano, Tagalog or English! That was nuts....and then the numbers were high, too.

One of the things I love about this culture is that all the ladies have a when you look at their chart, their name is written, but they also have their nicknames recorded....they like it when you call them by their nickname.....and some of them are hilarious! One little lady who was having her first baby at 16 years old was nicknamed "Love-Love" and another was "Li-li". I loved getting to know them and having them share how they were feeling about being pregnant. Some say right out that they are excited while others just smile and look if they really don't know exactly how they feel. I can't imagine.

Tonight, Tim and I have invited over a couple from a church we have been attending. Pinky and Manny are the pastors of Faith Baptist Church and I have been told that Pinky is an excellent Filipina cook who enjoys teaching how to cook authentic Filipino dishes to silly Americanos! So THIS time I am cooking, but I am sure next time, she will teach me! We are looking forward to getting to know them this evening. Please pray that we are a blessing to them.

Tomorrow I work another birth room shift, so please pray for that, too...that I am not a clutz!.I really want to be a help and a blessing to the ladies in labor....and not a hindrance to the staff or ladies. I will keep you posted! Thank you for all your encouragement and prayers! Tim will be posting more pics soon, too!
Be blessed.

Prenatals and Care Group

Greetings! Thank you so much for the comments on last post....even today as I walk home from the clinic, the nasty dog gazed at me with its sick and forlorn eyes. I also found out this evening that the dog's name is "Chi Chi". Right. Retarded dog. Looks like a "Chi Chi"! Whatever that is.

Anyways, today is the short post.... today was another day of prenatals. And here's a pic of the "buntas" waiting for their check-up. They actually liked me taking their picture! :) I got to shadow Sue today. She's an intern from Idaho and a lovely lady. We had a pretty cool visit with one buntas named Rosalie who is ready to have her baby any day now....except today we found two very different fetal heart tones inside her....with two dopplers placed on either side of her belly, we found out that she may be carrying twins! Don't know for sure, yet, but we may find out soon! She is headed to an ultrasound this week! It was a great day at the clinic and I learned so much....again. Everyday is full to the brim with learning.

Then this evening, Tim and I headed to Care Group! All the staff, students, and interns were invited to join together to focus on the Lord in unity. We're planning on doing them bi-weekly and Tim is helping with worship! It's good that the Lord has given him that outlet again....the Lord just speaks through him in worship. I just love it.

We had a great time (the pics below) worshiping and then Matt McNeil (our director) shared from Hebrews on faith....and from his own experiences adopting his two gorgeous Filipina daughters, Josie and Jessica. The fellowship was good and the refocusing of our mission was so valuable. We had a great time of prayer for the clinic, its reputation and for all of us representing Christ in it. God is good.

Tomorrow is another day of prenatals and I may get to shadow my new dear friend, Lois! She has an amazing heart for the Lord that ooozes like green goo from her. It's really an encouragement and a blessing to learn from her.

Thank you again for all your prayers and comments! Be blessed!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Ugly dogs...loud dogs....smelly dogs...

No, this isn't a Dr. Seuss book......but it COULD be!

Greetings! This post is about our resident dog! The dog who lives downstairs and pees and poos on our steps and on our fortress gate. Yes, this dog is SAD....not SAD, PATHETIC. Like most dogs here, this dog needs hair replacement therapy, a breast reduction, rat poison and a face lift. This dog's poo is always white and crunchy. This dog brings an aroma of the place of eternal punishment wherever it goes....Sorry for the details, but you really must understand....this dog is really, REALLY nasty.

But the workers in the shop downstairs share their lunch with it (hence its size), they pet it and let it doodie where it pleases. They love this hideous animal. The scary part is that we know that this dog has had puppies (check out its underbelly) and it is frightening to know that this dog's offspring is roaming around our neighborhood somewhere!

Now, you may ask, "Why, Bethany, are you telling us this!? This is GROSS!"

Well, friends, if you intend on visiting us and staying in our wonderful home (yes, it truly is wonderful, I love it!), then you must understand that when you leave our fortress, you will be greeted by the stench of this pictured dog....and it's smell is far worse than its looks. Just be warned.

The BIG blessing is that you cannot smell it at the top of our 31 stairs or in our home.
The other plus is that it is a great conversation piece. Tim and I, just about every night, giggle and cleverly devise plans of ridding ourselves of this foul beast. And then we chuckle at its ironically spoiled life.

I know, I know, I may have offended you animal rights activists...but YOU AREN'T HERE to take in its glory and enjoy its offerings, so get over it. :)

On a happier and lighter note...I went to the market today with my dear friends, Jenn and NeNe. What fun! I love the's really the only place where you feel COMPLETELY submersed in Filipino life. I am sure Tim will take pictures there soon and post them. When you're getting your fruits and veggies, it's really hard to take pictures, too. But I decided to post some of the more exotic favorite items found in the mangosteen (the healthy purple fruit), Buko (young peeled coconut that I crack open at home and drink the fantastic juice out of!) and here, you get eggs like the picture shown and you DON'T refrigerate them. They are o'natural...unbleached and not at all washed, so they can sit on the counter top for almost a month! Sweet! I love this country.

Hope you are all well and please continue to comment...the encouragement is such a blessing and it certainly makes Tim and I feel more connected. Many blessings!