Sunday, January 31, 2010

May-May's mother

Hi everyone...just a quick word. May-May called me this morning (Monday) to tell me her mother passed away late Sunday night. The family is sad, but feeling some relief that their mother's suffering is over and she has gone to be with her Lord.

Thank you for all your prayers and please continue to pray for her family, as grief is a process and they also have many bills to pay.

Be blessed.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Almost there!

Greetings! Sorry for the long delay in posting. We were planning on Tim giving the latest update, but alas, he has been too busy for it and it has fallen to me again. Sorry you have to put up with me one more time, then you can have Tim back. :)

Since last post, not too much has changed with May-May's mother. She was moved to ICU almost two weeks ago with the docs thinking she would not last the night. Her family said their goodbyes, but today, she is still breathing....not completely on her own, but she is still fighting. She fell into a coma last week and the doc said that her brain is currently inactive, but her heart rate is down to 28 bpm. Despite pleas from May-May's family, her mother received a very expensive medication to boost her heart rate. In all honesty, they are ready to have her be with Jesus. She is suffering. The coma has helped to relieve her in some ways, as her brain can no longer process pain. However, it has just added to the suffering of her family.

Ate An-An and I went to see May-May's mother on Monday in ICU. Her daughter was sharing that 4 people die in that ward everyday in full view of all other patients and their families. Resuscitation is tried, though most often failed and only seems to add to the distress of the attending families. Watching each family weep over their loved one was difficult for An-An and me and we were only there for 45 minutes! I cannot imagine being there everyday, all day.

I watched as May-May's father, a deeply sincere and loving man, pumped mucous from his comatose wife's mouth, making sure that no sputum remained around the edges of her lips. He was gentle and caring. Made me cry. Her lifeless body only once in a while heaved with a heavy breath, her eyes rolled back in her head.

Meanwhile, we talked to her family asking them how they were feeling, if the nurses were kind to them and if they had enough food. We were very concerned for the quality of care they were receiving. As we were beginning to pray, a loud beeping sounded in the bed about two yards away....a man who had suffered a stroke was going into cardiac arrest. All the patients' families gathered around the man's bed to watch as a few nurses came to try and revive him. While this was taking place, the man's family walked into the hallway, stricken with grief and wailing. It was clear the man was not going to last the rest of the day....and lying there with the whole ward watching.....An-An and I started to cry. We prayed that May-May's mother would have the privilege of quietly walking into the arms of Christ without worldly pomp and circumstance or frightened stares.

As we were leaving, An-An and I felt a strong urge to ask if we could pray with the man's family as they sat weeping in the chairless hallway. They agreed. One lady attending was the man's sister; the other, his daughter. We asked if he knew Jesus and if they felt he was ready to go and they emphatically responded saying that he knew Jesus and had asked to go "home". So we decided to pray for their peace with his passing and that it would occur quickly....we gave them hugs, too....what else could we do? I cannot imagine watching a family member die so slowly in such conditions. I cannot imagine being the nurse that cares for those in the ward when 4 die everyday just in that wing of ICU! No wonder the nurses were cold and callous. We said a prayer for the nurses, too and headed home....in silence.

I love Ate An-An. She is my dearest friend here. She is a powerful woman of God and I have learned a new, sincere compassion from her. Being with her empowers me to continue. She is precious.

We had an opportunity to visit May-May in her home on Thursday bringing lots of food. She was so grateful and said that though I was going to the United States, she would continue to update me through An-An.

Speaking of which.....the time has arrived. Tuesday, Tim, Promise, and I will leave Davao and head to Manila overnight so that I can fly out early Wednesday morning on a jet plane bound for Oregon. Tim will return to Davao Wednesday night. I am so thankful he is coming with me to Manila, as being alone overnight with the Bird and not knowing my way around kinda made me nervous. Tim will send the Bird and me off. We are going to miss him terribly.

Tim has been so very busy with the Water Project and will definitely be giving you an extensive update soon. If you are impatient, please visit www.impactnations.com and click on Villages to see the latest in the Philippines. Also, if you are interested in the progress made in Haiti, check out what Impact Nations is doing in Carrefour, Haiti just by clicking on the link. God is on the move. :)

For the coming weeks, please be praying for:
The Bird and my safe travels out West - for lots of empty seats so we can sleep! Also, please pray that we are able to adjust quickly to the climate! It's COLD!
Tim's safety while we are away
TOTAL recall while taking my midwifery certification exam on February 17th - pray I pass!
Our health...it has been a little struggle these days
For May-May's family
And for our return to the Philippines, Feb. 26th

Thank you all so very much for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers. And again....thank you to those that commented on the last post....the encouragement is invaluable.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Update.

Greetings! Thank you all for the thoughtful and deeply encouraging words in response to last post. Each one made me cry...I felt so supported even from strangers! Thank you for reading and for sharing your heart, too. It means a lot to us and each comment makes things feel less far away.

This week has been another doozy. Not horrible...just hard. Tuesday...First Tim had to get a complete blood count test and a urine analysis because he has not been feeling well. Upon retrieval of the results, we found that his white blood cell count was terribly low. TERRIBLY. Wondering was could be sending them so dangerously low, I called my dear friends Heidi and Kate (who are nurse practitioners) to inquire possibilities....we discussed a whole whack of things from hernias to HIV to leukemia! What a way to start the day! We decided that a doctor's visit was in order, but couldn't go until Wednesday, so instead we took off to our awesome friends, Darrell and Shannon's place for dinner. We needed a break...we needed some solace. We got it. What a wondering evening....while there, I received a text from May-May.

May-May was saying that her mother had water coming out her nose, eyes, and mouth and that she was having more trouble breathing. She said that her skin was white, but that her underside was purple with blood. She was dying....in pain. The hospital gave May-May's father a hand pump to manually suck out the liquid and mucous filling up her fragile lungs. He spent three hours pumping until his hands were so sore he passed the job to his kids.

May-May was nervous because her neighbors, who had been watching her baby, could not care for her baby through the night so May-May was asking me if I could take her baby for a few days. Because I needed to take Tim to the doctor the following day and had shift the following day, I knew it was impossible to take the baby for few days, but we could take the baby for the night. May-May, excited and thankful, agreed to meet me at a gas station to direct me to her house where the baby was.

At 9pm, Tim, Promise and I arrived to pick up the baby. May-May ran to greet me in tears saying that she didn't think her mother would last night. We prayed that she would pass quickly. She also shared with me that her family was so surprised that her mother spoke to me and answered my questions when An-An and I had visited. Apparently, she had not spoken in over a week! Mmmm.

I followed her through muddy back alleys and down small sand corridors, through a tiny neighborhood to her plywood home. Her family had suffered a severe fire in 2008 and had no money to repair the house, so the inside was filled with smoke damage, a leaky ceiling and the back half of the house was completely gone where the fire had ripped through. The back was piled with destroyed possessions and furniture still rotting from 2008. The few possessions they had were carefully displayed in their front room. They had done a magnificent job making their home appear welcoming and whole.

May-May raced to put a baby bag together and we quickly ran to her neighbor's place to pick up her baby....asleep. May-May thanked me again, kissed her baby, waved to Promise and off we went....home to put two babies to bed.

Promise THOROUGHLY enjoyed watching, poking and discovering this tiny baby boy and every time he would cry, Promise would cry harder.....it was rather humorous. I knew we could not have these two together in the same room for the whole night! So while I put Promise to bed, Tim fed the baby a bottle and rocked him to sleep.

I headed to the guest room to get some sleep before the baby's next feed and Tim put the baby in our makeshift co-sleeper and Tim headed to bed in our bedroom with Promise. The baby was out until midnight. Next feed....I lumbered to him and picked him up....he was very wet...and decided that he would prefer to cry until 3 am. Despite rocking, feeding, changing, burping, cuddling, walking, he just would not sleep and every time I put him down, shrill cries resonated. He had horrible gas from the formula. Finally at 3 am, I placed him on his side supported by pillows and he felt comfortable enough to sleep.

I was ready to get Tim for his next shift. We traded and thankfully Promise slept through the night (this is the first in over a year!!) and the baby slept for a few hours. I woke up to find Tim with the baby on his chest humming and singing to the wee boy. Tim is so great. I could not have done the night without him. Our sleepy and achy bodies were exhausted. But we managed to bathe two babies, feed the two and head out the door to drop him off with his mom and head to the doctor for Tim.

The doc was fantastic and basically said Tim's blood tests must be a mistake and to go get it retaken. Sure enough, the lab that had done the first sample had screwed up....a BIG screw up. Tim's count was normal, although we are still not sure why he is having such abdominal discomfort.

This morning, May-May texted saying her mother is still alive! But has now been transferred to ICU. They are not expecting her to last much longer as all her organs are failing, but the longer she stays alive, the more suffering she endures. Intense.

Please continue to pray for May-May and her family. They have been through so many trials and yet, their faith in Jesus stays strong.

Thank you again for all your encouragement and support. I am still trying to find some time to study for my exam, but very rarely do I have a free hour these days. I know God will be faithful, but I also know that I still have so much to learn.
Blessings to you all.

Monday, January 18, 2010

With a heavy heart....

Hello, friends!

As most of you know, my mother-in-law made it safely home to Vancouver after a grueling 48 hours in Haiti. She is doing rather well and is heading to Uganda on Wednesday...seriously...she is one of the strongest women I have ever met. If you'd like to join her on a Journey of Compassion to Haiti in June (or to the Philippines in February!), please visit www.impactnations.com. You can also donate there, too.

Needless to say, Haiti has dominated my daily thoughts. I have a few friends working at a mission's organization providing medical/maternity care for the poor there....they are still working amidst the rubble. You can see their work or donate to their ministry at http://heartlineministries.org . They are updating their blog daily.

Today, however, I have a story to tell.

Remember May-May, my continuity patient that delivered a baby boy on December 22? Well, she came for two baby checks and then I did not see her for a while. Concerned, I texted her several times with no reply until two days ago. She texted apologizing for the late reply stating that something terrible had happened. She shared that her mother was put in the hospital with kidney failure, a compromised liver, and a failing heart associated with severe diabetes. For this reason, she was unable to afford the fare to come to Mercy for her baby checks and was embarrassed to say so. She complained that she was bleeding heavy again, had a very bad headache and felt very tired. I asked countless questions and found out that she had been the watcher for her mother in the hospital and her baby at home getting very little sleep and not eating much.

For those of you who do not know, when a woman gives birth, if she immediately goes back to work, lifts heavy objects, and suddenly switches from breastfeeding to formula, she can hemmorhage from the stress on her body as the uterus is not given time to heal. This, unfortunately, was beginning to occur with May-May...I discovered that she was CARRYING her mother to the bathroom to wash and holding her up all by herself. I found out that she was contemplating giving her baby to her ex-boyfriend hours away from Davao because she had to get a job fast in order to pay for the hospital and medical bills her mother was racking up daily. This would be over $800 US every TWO WEEKS! In a society that lives on less that $5 per day, May-May and her family would be working day and night and still be in debt many years after her mother dies! With no insurance and just a slight bursary from the government, May-May would still have to find a very well-paying job to even sustain her mother's daily medication...not including the actual cost of the hospital stay.

My heart was heavy for her. She asked me if I knew of a nanny that she could hire. I started to look into the idea and advised her to come and see me as soon as possible to ensure her baby was still healthy and to assess her bleeding. I also began to pray for a miracle for her mother....and for her.

May-May came for her check this morning. I had made her a sack of food, iron supplements, and some money for fare and she was exceedingly grateful. She looked so thin and pale. She was too tired to cry. Too dehydrated. However, her vital signs were normal and her baby appeared healthy despite the rapid change in diet. We talked for over an hour and after much questioning by both my dear Filipina friend, An-An, and myself, came to the conclusion that the only solutions for this predicament was either for her mother to go be with Jesus or for her to be totally healed. Two options. I asked if An-An and I could go and visit her in the hospital. May-May was not opposed to the idea, so we headed to DMC in the late afternoon to visit May-May's mother.

An-An and I were having trouble finding her. The ward that she was in was located in the hospital gym, wide open for animals to wander in and out with little to no airflow available. Beds were lined about two feet apart with about 200 beds in the gym. It was not a pretty picture. May-May's mother was being looked after by May-May's other sister until May-May was able to return. She was so sweet and welcomed us to her mother's bed. Her mother was yellow, jaundice from the failing liver. Her frail body was misshapen by edema, so much so that only one of her eyes could open...most likely from the kidney failure. She had already acquired painful bed sores and her breathing was extremely labored. I started to cry. I began to understand May-May's situation. It is dire.

We talked a little while about how things were going and I shared with May-May's sister that May-May needed some time to rest or she may end up in the bed next to her mother. I was a little harsh. But then I felt a sharp tug on my heart...I felt like the Lord said that I needed to ask her mother if she wanted to be healed or if she wanted to go "home" to be with Jesus. I asked May-May's sister if it was okay to ask her that and she began to explain that her mother knew Jesus and was not afraid to die, but that they never asked her that question before. When I asked her, she opened her eye and said in Visayan, "I want to go home. I am tired." So I repeated, "You want to go home to Jesus now?" And she slowly, but with conviction, nodded yes. An-An, May-May's sister, and I burst into tears and look at each other knowingly that she was ready and we needed to pray her passing would be fast....with no more suffering.

May-May had shared that her mother was supposed to start dialysis once every two weeks (costing over $800 USD each visit) and I felt again like I needed to ask if a decision had been made and if her mother had been consulted. They had not asked her what her desire was. So An-An and I did. And her answer was, "no", very firm. She did not want her family to be in debt for life for a procedure that most likely will not work.

Her breathing became labored again and An-An and I asked if we could pray with her. We did so and cried a lot more.....we felt the hopelessness in the room....the anguish, her mother's suffering....her daughter's fear and exhaustion...it was overwhelming. I thought of Haiti. No doubt this conversation is taking place by the thousands saying good-bye to loved ones too injured or sick to recover. I know God can heal them in an instant. And for May-May's mother, I think He may not....because she so desires to be with Him now. Mmmm.

An-An and I rode home together feeling tired, but hopeful for May-May and her family. We may have found her a nanny, too.

The feeling of wanting to go home ....home to the West came over me with such shooting pain as I walked the rest of the way home. Since living in the Philippines, I have missed the birth of two nieces and one nephew, missed 4 weddings, 3 Christmases, lost two very very important and irreplaceable friends and could not say goodbye or go to their funeral, and could not share the birth of Promise with my family except via Skype [:)] or walk through this pregnancy with a pregnant sister-in-law......and this week, I didn't get to be the one to hug my mother-in-law as she came off the plane from Haiti.

After visiting May-May's mother, I realized that I am not willing to miss out anymore. How long will I have with my mom and dad? My nieces and nephews...cousins for Promise? How long will I get with my brothers and sisters-in-law? How many more coffee dates do I have with my mom? Deep conversations about the heart of God with my brother? Stories from my grandma?

I am done. Perhaps this is my preggo body and mind speaking, perhaps it is the realization that at any point, I could lose the dearest people to me and never be able to say goodbye or grieve with those who know them, too. I am tired of missing out on my family. I want to come home now....yet I know I will not want to stay for too long...but I do know that I need some time with my family now. I am eagerly awaiting February 2 when Promise and I will begin our long journey to Oregon to see my family and take my midwifery certification exam. I may not want to leave them. Three weeks is not enough time to make up for 3 years of "misses". I will need to send for Tim..."leave the apartment furnished...who cares about it...just come home." That's where I am at. Selfish. With a heavy heart. I long to cry and grieve for Uncle Bob...for Christina...for May-May...for many things...some grateful tears, some anger, some just plain sad....but I just don't feel safe, yet, to let them fall.

Thank you for praying for us amidst all the crazy prayer requests. This has been a difficult season and I am currently fighting a urinary tract infection and some intestinal problems.....on antibiotics now. Tim is also feeling a little...well, "intestinal", too. :) Blessings to you all...give your mother a hug for me.
Be blessed.

Here are a couple of recent photos. You can see more on Tim's Facebook page here.



Thursday, January 14, 2010

She's Okay

I'm still fighting back tears. Haven't let myself have a good cry yet. It's been a remarkable 48 hours to say the least. For those who were unaware, my mother was in Port-au-Prince when the earthquake hit this week. I received a text from her on Wednesday morning (Tuesday evening in the Americas, minutes after the quake) that simply stated that she and Adam (her traveling companion) were in one piece, and that she had her passport.

On Wednesday afternoon, Bethany seemed confused at my apparent indifference to my mother's predicament. To be honest, I really wasn't giving it much thought. She had texted to say she was okay, so there was nothing to worry about. I went to bed Wednesday night feeling rather peaceful about the whole thing. My mom is super tough and can bring order to any and all chaos, so I was imagining how well she must be doing.

I suppose my lack of concern was partly due to the knowledge that the Lord was with her and He had her back. That would be the super spiritual viewpoint. But the reality is that I just had no idea how bad things were in Haiti because the news wasn't getting out of the country yet.

I broke my rule on Thursday morning and opened my computer before breakfast. That was when my peace started to fade, slowly to be replaced by a vague sense of dread. While I was asleep, the pictures and stories from Port-au-Prince had hit the newswire. Suddenly I had a lot to be worried about. It had now been over 24 hours since I had heard from Mum, and as the sun was rising on Davao, it was setting in Haiti for the second time since the disaster struck. I now understood that she was almost certainly without shelter, food, or water. I had no idea if there were looters or violence of any kind.

Talking to Dad helped. What a strange world we live in. I was sitting in the Philippines, talking to my dad who is in Kenya, wondering what my mother was up to in Haiti. Thank God for Skype. Dad and I talked for a while but did our best not to speculate. I think we were probably both trying hard to be brave.

I understand that worrying doesn't get you anywhere, but with each hour that went past without hearing from her, I was increasingly concerned. I was restless and irritable and couldn't concentrate on work. When Bethany brought to my attention the ridiculous words of Pat Robertson, it was too much for my agitated soul. A fountain of obscenities poured from my mouth and I suddenly realized that I was having trouble coping.

I called the hotline in Ottawa to register Mum as officially "missing", which was kind of a weird experience. The Canadian government was great and gave me as much information as possible. It was a pleasure to call them six hours later to report that my mother had once again been heard from and was reportedly at the airport. She had texted Dad from her near-dead phone and he Skyped me immediately to pass on the news.

She then left the airport to report to the embassy, where they made arrangements for her to catch a flight to Montreal. I have just heard from my brother Joshua, who spoke to her only moments ago when her plane stopped in Miami to refuel and drop off some injured Americans. There will be Canadian officials waiting to assist her in Montreal so that she can get to Vancouver shortly after that.

Why am I writing this? It feels silly to talk about my feelings when I consider what my mother must have just endured. Sure, my feelings are valid, but the story isn't about me. Mum will have time to tell her story another time, but for now I feel like I need a bit of a release from the tension and talking about it helps.

I really love my Mum, and frankly I'm not accustomed to worrying about her. As I said, she is super tough and very well travelled. My parents both have some pretty crazy adventures (though this one tops them all, as it involves her "riding" her bed from the second floor down to the ground), but I know that they are doing exactly what the Lord has called them to do.

This may sound strange, but part of me was wrestling with jealousy yesterday. I'm sure you can relate. Haven't we all wondered at one time or another how we would respond in such a circumstance? Surely, you too have pictured yourself as the hero in a natural disaster. Yesterday I was envisioning my mother and wishing I could have been along side her.

Thanks to all of you for praying for her. We'll link to any blog she writes about the whole ordeal. She says she was interviewed by a lot of Canadian media, and may appear on the evening national news broadcast on two networks tonight. She was already quoted in one Canadian Press story:
Christina Stewart was in Haiti scouting a missionary project for Vancouver-based charity Impact Nations. She had been working on her computer when suddenly the house she was in disintegrated around her.

"The floor opened up, the walls opened up," Stewart recalled.

"The house was gone and I was alive."

The gathered 50 comprised the second wave of Canadians to be evacuated from the Caribbean nation's ruinous capital, memories of the carnage of Tuesday's magnitude-7 temblor still fresh in their minds.

At least five of them were injured, though believed to be in stable condition.

Stewart remembered spending that first night in a field that quickly became so crowded with people fleeing their homes there was nothing to do but stand.

When rumours of a tsunami - which later proved untrue - began to spread, everyone in the field starting running.

"We were just running through the streets, thinking the water was coming."
If you're curious to know what she was doing in Haiti in the first place, you can read the one report she had filed before everything changed. Sounds like she was having a pretty good time.

On a side note, we had a pretty good size earthquake of our own in Davao this morning. We get them quite regularly here, but they are usually more of a "gentle roll" than a violent shake. Perhaps we're just ├╝ber sensitive this week, but it sure seemed like this morning's was the worst we've experienced. It was enough for Bethany and I to grab the Bird and head for an interior wall, something we've not done before. Like I said, a bit sensitive right now...

Peace out.
Tim.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Clarity.

Greetings! And a happy new year to you all! Thanks for reading and being faithful to comment and encourage.

We were so blessed this week to receive a HUGE package from Tim's family packed with yummy chocolate, coffee, crafts, and toys for Promise. Thank you soooo much to Andy and Nicole, Mum and Dad, Jeff, Ben and Holly, and Joshua and Esther for making our Christmas closer to home! Promise has been ecstatically wheeling her new baby stroller around the house with pride. She is such a girl! However, often instead of a baby in her stroller, there is a plastic truck. :) She's balanced.

I have definitely entered the second trimester of this pregnancy....wow! What a change! I am feeling more clarity of mind, spirit and hit a new level of energy! And just in time, too! The end of December held the birth of a continuity, attendance to a Catholic baby dedication for a precious patient of mine (Tim and I are now the Godparents of EJ, a precious baby boy), and the end of consistent shift work at Mercy Maternity. While I am working one shift a week, I am spending most of my days visiting past patients, studying for my certification exam in February, and basking in the joy of getting to know my ever-changing daughter. No longer bound to my cell phone anticipating sleepless nights with patients in labor or the fear of not having someone to watch Promise while I boot to the clinic for copious baby checks.... *sigh*... I am beginning to understand normalcy again.
Here's May-May and her baby Kacer (my last birth for 2009)

However, I am still seeing patients and some tug at my heart more than I can express. This week, one of them gave birth.

I met Ate Jean when she was 28 weeks pregnant with her seventh child. I was scheduled for gram stains and she was on my list. After doing her gram stain, I found an STD and checked out her chart to find out that her husband is not a faithful man. Grieved and concerned, I took her as a continuity. She also had a UTI and was severely anemic. Severely. She explained to me that she wanted to leave her abusive husband, but was afraid of trying to support her 6 (almost 7) young children. She shared that her husband did not allow her much money from his income, but had just enough to provide food and school uniforms for her children...not enough for medication for her STD or iron supplements for her anemia. After a long conversation, Ate Jean, looking frail, tired and frustrated, agreed that she needed to take care of herself. I assured her that I would be along for the ride and would provide her with what she needed for her pregnancy.

After giving her meds and iron supplements, I scheduled her back every two weeks until she was term. The first two-week visit proved to be disappointing as the intensity of her anemia and her malnutrition caused her body to vomit her meds and supplements. Grr. We started over and I advised her to stick them in a banana after eating a full meal with added protein. After giving her eggs and making sure she was willing to try, we set another prenatal for two weeks.

The second two-week visit showed quite a difference! Her skin was no longer pale and her eyes were bright. She had gained almost 2 kilos and beemed with added energy...in just TWO WEEKS! :) She had finished her meds and was still able to stomach the iron supplements. And her body liked it...her hematocrit had gone from 26 (severely anemic) all the way to 30! (Normal in pregnancy is above 35). WAHOO! I gave more eggs and threw a little party in her prenatal cubicle. We had a good laugh, too. She shared that though things were not great with her husband at home, he had agreed to be treated for the STD, as well. Her UTI disappeared, too! She continued water therapy to ensure its complete departure and told me that she had been eating two eggs a day, just like I asked her to. You could tell she was doing incredibly well.

Each visit brought a new and improved Ate Jean. Beautiful, healthy and anticipating a healthy baby. I loved seeing her....and when she hit 40 weeks, her hematocrit was 35 and there were no traces of infection in her body. :)

The afternoon of January 4, I had just gone home from day shift and Tim left for some meetings when Ate Jean texted me, "Ma'am B, sakit ang tiyan. Daghang sipon, dugo." She was in labor and wanted to go to Mercy. Without having someone home for Promise, I had to send her to another midwife. I was grateful she got a good one. :) Abigail, a new midwife here at Mercy, had the privilege of delivering a precious and beautiful baby boy to Ate Jean, who ended up only have 6 hours total of labor and pushed for less than 20 minutes. :) She didn't hemorrhage, she didn't tear, she didn't need an IV. God is so good. The change in her is remarkable.

While I didn't get to be her midwife for the short time she was in the birth room, I was so grateful to be her midwife for the last couple months. That's why I love this job....not because of delivering babies. I really don't care too much about being the delivering midwife....but I love being a part of the process of positive change that will impact a whole generation. Ate Jean's son got off to a good start in life because his mother received prenatal care, took the advice of her midwives, and desired to bless her child despite her rough home life.

Clarity. So as I study for my certification exam interrupted by precious Promise wanting to nurse, play, sing, or eat, I remember the patients I've had over the passed 2 1/2 years whose situations seemed bleak at the beginning....and yet, after care and sincere concern, have healthy babies and continue to thrive.

I think that's all I have to say today. I am almost 15 weeks preggo now and I am looking forward to the next few weeks of changes...some women begin to feel their baby move around 16 weeks and soon I will be able to listen to the baby's heartbeat with my fetascope instead of a doppler. :) My tummy is getting a bit big now and my pants are not fitting so well, but because Promise still insists on breastfeeding, my tummy is getting bigger and my bum is getting smaller! :) My pants sag only in the butt. However, I really want to wean her now. Please be praying for that transition...she is not doing very well as she is teething (the molars are coming) and is quite grumpy. Thanks!
Here are some pics of the mass baby dedication we attended Dec. 27th for EJ and his parents, Lenita and Rex. :)
Here's the church...beautiful...and can you believe they sell balloons in the shape of Dora and Hello Kitty for the kids...and they bring them inside!!? Ha ha ha! Promise saw the Dora one and exclaimed, "BACKPACK!"
Here's Lenita and baby EJ playing with Promise's Dora....apparently, she isn't the only Dora-lover! And above is the whole God-parent gang, Lenita and Rex's family. We were honored to be a part of the crowd!
And last, here is the priest blessing baby EJ....notice the mass-quantities of people in the background waiting for their blessing, too! It was quite the event!

Be blessed.