Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Joy and Sorrow...

I must confess that I'm grumpy. The new steel molds that we had built last week are still not in use. We had major problems with them and one of the molds actually broke into two pieces when we tried to extract it from the cured concrete. I won't bore you with details, but needless to say I'm feeling very frustrated with the whole thing.

Yesterday I decided to blow off some steam by going out for a photo hunt. I used to do photo hunts all the time, but I hadn't gotten around to it for some time. I took a one hour walk from our house towards downtown (if there is such a thing in Davao), stopping anytime I saw something that struck me as interesting. As you know, I love to photograph people, but I tried to challenge myself to photograph objects and abstract patterns instead of the dozens of people who begged to be in the frame. I'll post a few of the results below, and then let Bethany tell you about her day, which was much more interesting than mine.


Greetings! I am not grumpy! But, however, like a good wife, I am sympathetic to Tim's grumpiness.....enough said, so I move on!

Monday (yesterday), I had the pleasure of doing initial prenatals for some newly pregnant ladies and some baby checks for some recent deliveries...TODAY (Tuesday) I had the privilege of delivering a GWAPO (that means handsome) little boy named Lance. His momma, Jing Jing, came in at 10 am looking uneasy and in pain, but after three babies already, she was controlled, happy, smiling and would only pause her happiness to have a contraction. Seriously, I was thinking this woman was warped! Only 28 years old and getting set to delivery her fourth baby without her hubby nearby (he was 2 hours away working!) and still smiling every time I would give her instructions to pee, drink water, check the baby's heart tones...all smiles.

Until 11 am. Then things got a little more interesting. The smile disappeared and I knew that she knew she was almost ready. But we breathed together....breathed some more....then POP....her water broke and no sooner did her water break that she was on the bed with her baby's head visible! She pushed for one minutes and VOILA! Little baby Lance came out followed by more amniotic fluid than I have ever seen....talk about a SWIMMING POOL! That little Lance was ushered into the world with a celebration fountain!! We all got a little wet. Eww. And gosh, that birth description was seriously just as fast as the birth was! Maybe not as easy, though. :)

We thanked Jesus for the safe delivery and Jing Jing and Lance are doing great! She made labor and delivery look like just going in for a routine teeth cleaning at the dentist! What a pro! Knowing I was pregnant, she prayed that my delivery would be the same....quiet, fast and without complications! Sounds good to me! :)

And at the same time Lance entered the world, a prenatal patient from upstairs got a giant (baseball size) pus-filled boil lanced on her bum by our Primary Health Care nurse interning here from Sudan! No joke! She just happened to be present when Jenny (a graduated midwife here) discovered her patient could not sit down without tons of pain! They did minor surgery and she went home with a big smile across her face...apparently now we do lancing, too! Bum lancing and baby Lance! Ha ha.

But there was something else going on while this was happening, too. One of our patients came in for a prenatal and no heart tones were found. Upon entering the birthroom, I recognized her immediately as a patient I had done a prenatal on. In fact, I had met her the very first day she came to Mercy Clinic and had the pleasure of doing her first prenatal exam. She had no idea, at the time, how far along she was in her pregnancy and could not remember her last menses. So I sent her in for an ultrasound. At 16 years old, she had trouble coming up with the money for the ultrasound and just continued her pregnancy without a thought. I ventured to guess that she was around 24 weeks at her first prenatal visit. But today, she was 27 weeks....because of the lack of heart tones, she was raced to a clinic with an ultrasound technician and her baby was found to be without a heart beat. The baby had died just days ago.

She had mentioned that she had not felt movement for a week or so, but did not come into the clinic. She came back to Mercy to be referred to the hospital for induction of labor just as Jing Jing and I were bathing Lance. From her face I could tell what the ultrasound results were....

A few minutes later, I went to talk with her as she covered her face to hide the tears....her belly still swollen from pregnancy, a fetal form still evident....but not moving. She said nothing and I started to cry, too. We prayed for her baby and I tried to reassure her that Jesus was holding her baby now and that nothing she did caused this. I am not sure if she believed me because in this culture, it is common for the mother to be blamed for the baby's loss of life regardless of the circumstances. She was in shock. My supervisor, Ate Susan, sat with her a long time and explained the options she had at the hospital and wrote the referral. She prayed with her and our patient left....her face still stained with tears.

It was strange to celebrate the birth of Lance and know that this patient's baby had just died still being carried by his mommy. His mommy never really met him, held him, or even got to enjoy the rest of her journey of pregnancy. This side of heaven, she will never know his smile, his personality, his character.....and yet, she still has to labor for him, deliver him, and still say goodbye. I cannot imagine.....I don't want to release her name, but please pray for her. Thanks.

Thinking about her made me realize just how grateful I am to have made it this far in my own pregnancy. I hit 30 weeks this week and Promise still moves a ton....she wakes me up every night around 3 am and won't go to sleep until 4:30 am....she's constantly on the move even though she has no place to go! Sometimes I think she is mischievously devising her plan to BREAK FREE of her small cramped space....as of now I am currently already 2 centimeters dilated!! But for some women, that can last their entire third trimester. I just have to be careful I don't overwork myself.....but again....how precious is the life inside!

Speaking of which, I must mention (though most of you probably know now!) that there is already a new Stewart in the family born on July 12, 2008!! Hope Liberty Judith Stewart was born to Joshua (Tim's bro) and Esther in Sicamous, BC. We are so excited for them and their growing family! TWO girls now! Fantastic. God is so good. Healthy baby and healthy momma. We so excited to be Aunt B and Uncle Fuzz once again!

A mix of joy and sorrow...always reminding me that the One who sits on the throne never sleeps or slumbers....He mourns when we mourn and takes joy when we take joy.....below is Jing Jing, baby Lance, and her bantay, Michelle. Pure joy.

Be blessed.


Anonymous said...

Wow Bethany, what a day. What a challenging day but you seem to know what to do in every situation! God is amazing. I'm so excited for you, 30 weeks! I was 2 cm dialated for my entire 3rd so don't worry we're praying for all three of you.
Love Nicole

Anonymous said...

Bethany, I am so sorry to hear of the young gal who lost her baby. we will pray God wraps His arms around her. That has to be hard on you too. I am sure God placed her in your care on purpose, knowing you would bring her a word of hope. Tim, your pictures are interesting. Not too exciting watching paint peel, eh? Sorry to hear about the molds breaking. Don't give up. There's always a new day to begin again. Congrats on becoming new auntie and uncle.
Love you two.

Jenny Freeman said...

I'm famous! I'm in Bethany's blog and as a "graduated student" no less. Wow. that sounds weird. I will keep on reading your blog (especially since you are the best at keeping current - but don't worry - you have a great excuse to not blog come sept!). I am writing from my hotel in Manila... Weirdness. Love to you both.