Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The journey.

Greetings! Thank you for all the supportive comments on Tim's last post. He has had an interesting week as he prepares for his trip to Hong Kong...things seem to becoming clear and he is feeling greatly encouraged. His post was convicting to me, as well, and I, too am making some changes. He is looking forward to a change of pace for a few days in Hong Kong as I am looking forward to spending one-on-one time with the Bird.

The last 8 days have been a whirlwind for me. The birth room has been consistently full on my shifts with labors, births and continued postpartums. Several times, every bed was full! We had quite a few transports last week. Mostly patients having their first baby with premature rupture of membranes (their water broke before they went into labor). Last Thursday was a particularly interesting day.

When I arrived on shift, every bed was full and my peers and I dove into work. We managed to discharge quite a few healthy women and their babies and tend to the labors in the birth room creating a bit more space for new patients. I was endorsed a patient that I had treated for anemia in prenatals and had become quite close with. :) I was so thankful she was my patient. She was very active upon endorsement and at 6:53 am, I had the pleasure of delivering her third baby....a boy. She and her bana were struggling to come up with a name and so, because it was my brother, Andy's birthday, I asked if they liked the name Andrew....it meant strong, wise, and manly. They loved it and named their baby after my brother on his birthday. Very special.

Just after their delivery, I was handed another labor and an immediate postpartum. My labor, Sheila, had PROM and was only slightly dilated. I had her in prenatals just two days earlier and was grateful to receive her as my patient in labor. Despite her many risk factors, she labored like a champ and at 2 pm, I was sad to have to endorse her to swing shift.

Instead of heading home after shift, I lumbered upstairs to the prenatal room to set up for Bible study....I was REALLY not in the mood for a Bible Study. I was tired....so was An-An. We were spent. But after a cup of instant bliss (that's instant 3 in 1 coffee), An-An and I prayed and felt a little better. However, 3:30 pm came around and no one had come upstairs for the Bible Study....so I asked An-An if it would be okay to ask the laboring patients (that were not too active or pushing) if they'd like a break from the birth room for a snack and Bible study. An-An agreed and I headed into the birth room, asked Erin, the supervisor if I could steal some patients. She loved the idea and I calmly yelled out, "Any bored patients and their families that want to come upstairs for merienda and bible study, come on up!" There was a little giggle that spread through the birth room and my patient, Sheila, her mother, two other mothers of laboring patients and one other preggo came up! We had 7 in all! What a great turn-out...hahaha!

We chatted a bit and I had an opportunity to give some midwifery advice, as the mothers were concerned for their laboring daughters. Then we studied Genesis 1 taking note of how powerful God is and just how special He made man...in His own image. That discussion led to whether or not we truly believe EVERYONE (even bad people) are made in the image of God. It was a good challenging discussion for all of us. We began to pray that God would give us His eyes to see men as they truly are... precious and in the image of God. We prayed for safe and healthy deliveries for the women in labor and just as An-An was finishing her prayer, the emergency alarm in the birth room rang....a patient was in trouble.

As I was still in my scrubs, I, along with several senior midwives from upstairs on the third floor, raced into the birth room to attend to the emergency...a baby had just been born, but was not breathing. The mother was bleeding and they needed a few more midwives to help stabilize the mother and resuscitate the baby. The grandma of the new baby had been in our bible study while her daughter was giving birth. She was totally mortified, but because she had just been with An-An and I in prayer, she was greatly comforted by An-An's words from God. After the emergency was under control and the baby finally took her first breath, An-An and I were able to explain to the patients and their mothers sitting outside what had happened and we had another prayer time. :) Interesting timing. We gave thanks for the baby's breath and the faithfulness of God....

After arriving home, I received a text stating that Sheila, my patient from day shift and from Bible study, had been transported and received a cesarean section. Despite the unwanted turn of events, Sheila's baby was healthy and she is currently healing well.

Monday was also a very intense shift. Another patient I had done a prenatal on walked in fully dilated and at 2:41 pm, delivered a very healthy baby boy named Arvey Jacob. Despite hemmorhaging, Grace stabilized quickly. Here they are with their new arrival.
The birth of her baby was quite significant, as we had several active labors and her baby was Mercy Maternity's 14, 999th birth! We were holding a drawn out contest between staff and midwives to see who would guess the time of birth for baby #15,000. With baby 14,999 out of the way (ha ha ha), the clinic was in party-mode awaiting the arrival of baby 15,000. The mother and baby would receive a huge prize (tons of baby items) and the midwife who guessed the time would receive a gift certificate. :) Well, our room full of labors began to empty...two transported....one sent home...only one patient left...a woman having her 6th baby who had a closed cervix with possible PROM. Mmmm.

We took care of our postpartums and prayed that Jhobee's patient would deliver and be the 15,000th baby....on our shift. However, 10 pm was quickly approaching and we were thinking we would have to endorse her to night shift. Alas, at 9:00 pm, Jhobee's patient had SROM...7 minutes later - BABY OUT!! Baby 15,000 was born a beautiful 8 lbs. They named her "Mercy Joy" and were so excited to learn of their new-found popularity. Pictures were snapped and the prize was given. Our director, Krys, guessed that the 15,000th baby would be born at 9:00 pm, so she won the gift certificate, but happily gave it to the patient. We cheered and enjoyed recounting the full story of her birth. Jhobee, her midwife, and Maria, her assist were busily attending to her as we shared the story to night shift during endorsements. A good day. Here are Jhobee and Maria with baby Mercy and our supervisor, Ate Estef, in the background.

And me giving her the prize..they were pretty overwhelmed. :)

Today, I am headed once again to shift. While Tim and I struggle to find balance in our marriage, I, personally, am also struggling to identify my priorities and truly hear God's desires for this season of our lives. It has been very difficult, both physically and mentally, to balance my desire to serve as a good midwife, wife, and mother. I have been reading some friends' blogs sharing their experiences of staying at home with their kids taking time to do decor renovations, make cute quilts for their babies, attend playdates and go on field trips with their kids...and there is a very real piece of me that longs for that freedom...and relationship...and peace.

While I am sure they have their struggles, too, I found myself REALLY wanting to take Promise to a pumpkin patch with the leaves in their beautiful Fall colors crunching under my close-toe shoes while I drink a pumpkin latte with my mom wearing a coat feeling a brisk wind on my nose and watching Promise climb orange squash getting muddy. I know, I know...."Stop feeling sorry for yourself, Bethany!" But truthfully...I DON'T feel sorry for myself, I feel torn. Torn between wanting to be a mommy surrounded by the familiar and wanting to live overseas in service for the rest of my life....now, you may say, "but you can do both....to a certain extent". Yes, in some ways I see that. But I am struggling to see how...I love being with Promise and learning/growing with her, but the demands of a busy midwife are high and right now, both are sacrificing. The physical, spiritual and mental cost to me, Tim, and Promise has been intense.

For now, I am going one day at a time trying to be obedient to what God is asking of me TODAY while trying really hard to not look too far into the future. I know that I would not be content with "ordinary"....however, I know that even the ordinary can be made "extraordinary" if it's God.

A friend asked me if I wanted to move back to the West....everything in me said, "no", but a very small piece of says, "maybe"....only to experience "seasons" again, wear warm clothes and to be close to our families. It's all a process...a journey. I'm tired of journeying. With that, I leave you with two new photos of the Bird. I sure love her.

Be blessed.


Anonymous said...

Bethany when you tell a story I feel like I'm there. I love your extending the Bible study rather than being disappointed. How amazing to be there for the prize patient, and what a wonderful ministry you are involved in! My heart tears when I hear how torn you feel. The good news is that Promise doesn't know she is missing autumn and she loves having time with both her parents, which many little girls her age don't get. I really appreciate you sharing so vulnerably. I miss you and I love you, Mum

Emilie said...

Bethany - Your post really spoke to me today! I know how you feel about being torn. The call to midwife was so strong for me. It took a lot of prayer and "letting go" to finally make that decision to stay home with the kids and wait for another season of my life. Likewise, it'll take a lot of prayer and trust for you. Your answer might be completely different! Be sure to let God show you and Tim what is best for you, and to trust Him with whatever comes. You're an awesome midwife, and an awesome mom no matter what! We'll be praying for you :) Emilie

Anonymous said...

I know you feel torn. It's not unusual to feel that way. You are on a hard journey. Even Jesus felt torn about leaving his friends and family to do the hard thing. But I am confident God will give you the grace to continue on. You are a wonderful wife(I think) and mom! A terrific midwife and a compassionate friend to those ladies. I remember when you were a little girl, you wanted to live overseas and help the children. You are doing what you were created to do. Not everyone is so blessed. I miss you terribly, especially this time of year as you and I love the colors of autumn, and pumpkin lattes, and pumpkin patches....:( ok, you've brought me to tears. Gotta go.

juls said...

Hello, I came across your blog when I googled "missions midwifery". I found one of your classmate's blogs that had your link. I was particularly interested because you are married. I have looked into and yearned to go to New Life for over a year now, but my husband and I have struggled to get over the financial aspect. How are you doing it? Are you supported by your church or family? How difficult was the fund-raising?? Sorry for being nosy. I am 3 or so months pregnant and feeling like I may never become a midwife, but still passionate about the idea and would appreciate your thoughts. My email is juls.bisbee@gmail.com
Thanks. I know this is random. -Juls