Friday, May 28, 2010

Update...thanks for praying!

First of all, I just wanted to thank everyone for their encouragement and prayers. It has been a tiring week, but we are seeing some improvement and are grateful for God's gracious provision through our friends here. One of my friends, Beth, arranged for us to have dinners delivered to our house every night so I wouldn't have to cook! Thank you to all who volunteered to feed us!

And Bea has been over everyday this week to check up on me, help me with some household chores and ensure that I am not doing anything I am not supposed bending over, carrying Promise or overworking myself. Despite her busy work schedule at the clinic, she has selflessly given her time and friendship....she is one of the most amazing women I have ever met.

Saturday night is now a blur thankfully, though there are times I can still taste the bile in my mouth from throwing up 11 times as a result of the pain...makes me a little nauseous. I do, however, remember how amazing Bea and my doctor, Dr. Estuart were in taking care of me. They spent many hours assessing my condition and discussing the possibility of still having a natural homebirth despite the obvious concern of my femoral nerve compression.

So the neurologist's diagnosis was that my left femoral nerve was severely compressed causing the excruciating pain and immobility. He said that the pain would not be relieved until this little baby boy came out. He also said that permanent nerve damage was likely and that postpartum therapy would be required. He suggested that we not have more children. Sorry, buddy, I think I will just rebuke everything you said and trust that God will take care of it, thanks. :) But I was grateful he was willing to give me the straight goods.

The anesthesiologist gave me some heavy-duty opiates - tramadol and dolcet - that totally worked, but backed up the bowels for 5 days...but Bea packed me with psyllium husks, flax seeds and papaya, so we are on a slow road to recovery leaving behind the mother of all hemorrhoids. The pain has subsided some, though nights are rough, as baby boy is most active then bashing into the nerve causing the pain though I am thankful he is moving despite the strong meds. :)

The other concern as of late is the massive and painful edema in my feet and legs. We noticed it after about 12 hours in the hospital. Though I have been elevating them several times a day and increasing my water intake, my legs resemble an elephant's and if I spend more than 20 minutes on my feet, they throb and ache. Mmm.

Caring for Promise and doing simple household chores have become extremely difficult and Tim has had to carry a much larger burden than ever before. He is doing great, though.

So we'll just wait and see what happens over the next couple weeks as the onset of labor gets closer and Tim and I try to juggle work, Bird time, and adjusting to a new living space. The other tenants of the house have been so gracious and understanding of our circumstances. They, too, are praying for complete recovery.

Bea and I have agreed to do a trial of labor here in the house and if things get dangerous, we will pay Dr. Estuart at Brokenshire Hospital a visit. The alternative there is an epidural and a possible operative delivery. We're praying that it will not be necessary. Only 2 more weeks and this boy will be full term and able to make an entrance into the world. We are hoping that labor will begin in about 3 weeks. If not, we may look into alternatives or natural induction.

At this point, I am trying to wean myself off of the dolcet (the stronger of the meds) and have successfully gone a full 24 hours without it. :) It has not come without an increase in pain, but the pain is now tolerable. We will see if I can wean off of the tramadol before entering into labor. :)

Thank you again for all your prayers. We wish we were close to our families during this time, but have been amazed at God's gift of surrogate family members. Rick and Sherry came over last night and prayed intensely over us, our new home, and our family. They leave tomorrow and I can honestly say, their presence will be deeply missed. They have ministered to us in this difficult time more than we could possibly express and saying goodbye to them will be quite painful. They will be forever friends, but as a result of the life God has placed us in, we say "goodbye" more often than "hello".

So we press on. I guess that's about it. Thank you again for your incredible and faithful prayers and support, everyone. We are so thankful and know that God is doing something bigger than our earthly minds can comprehend. Be blessed.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bethany Update

I'm gonna head to bed in a minute, but I wanted to give you a quick update on Bethany's health. For those who were unaware, Bethany was taken to the hospital at around 4am this morning. She had been suffering an intense pain that spread from her back, around her left hip, and down to her groin. She woke me at 1am when the pain was becoming more intense, and a couple hours later I called Béa, our midwife, and asked her to come have a look.

Béa brought Beth K with her to assist in what we thought might have been pre-term labor. An internal exam revealed that her cervix was still closed, but this certainly looked as though it may be the beginning stages of labor. Bethany is only 34 weeks, so a home birth was out of the question (you need to be 37 weeks for a safe home birth) and a trip to the hospital was the obvious choice.

I called our friend Sherry and asked her to come help. She and her husband Rick were here in a flash, and while I went to start the truck, the gang helped Bethany down the driveway. Oh, did I mention that we just moved yesterday. So trying to pack a bag for her was a bit of a gong show. I didn't know where anything was. Truth be told, I was having trouble finding light switches, so I was groping in the dark. We had literally only been living in the house twelve hours.

Anyways, Beth offered to stay at the house while Promise continued to sleep unaware. Meanwhile, Sherry and Béa and I went to the hospital. Béa had already made arrangements with the doctor at this hospital a few months ago, just in case a home birth became a problem. The doctor that Béa had chosen was amazing. Amazing. She was so attentive. She was there very quickly, despite the 4:30am wakeup call. She stayed with Bethany for so long and made sure she was getting the best of care. She let the three of us go into the birth ward even though it was against hospital policy.

All of the staff in that ward are fantastic. Each of the doctors was very communicative, telling us exactly what was going on. They did a great job of listening to Bethany and meeting her needs. Her need was simple: Pain Relief. She was screaming bloody murder. The pain was unbearable. Job number one was to relieve the pain, job number two was to find the cause.

It took a while to find a strong enough drug to stop the screaming. Eventually they called in an anesthesiologist who got a tramadol IV drip going, with the occasional shot of morphine to battle the sudden onset of even greater pain. Meanwhile they were doing regular checks on the baby to make sure that he was not getting stressed. Each check confirmed that he was largely oblivious to his mother's agony.

The first suspected culprit was kidney stones. An ultrasound ruled that out. The next thing on the list was a possible blockage in her intestines. This hospital doesn't have an MRI machine, so we took an ambulance to the nearby hospital where they scanned Bethany for over 45 minutes. Of course, she was asked to remain as still as possible so they could get a clear picture. She did amazing. I sat with her in the room while Béa sat with the tech and saw some very cool pictures of my baby boy. After the scan we were told that it had not revealed any trouble.

This left us with only one other possibility, and that is where we are now. Bethany has been referred to a neurologist who will check for some sort of pinched nerve. She was signing the papers for that referral when I left this evening, so we expect to get some word later tonight.

I sat with Bethany while she slept for a couple hours this afternoon while Béa went home for a quick nap and a shower. She returned at 6pm to send me home so I could tuck Promise into bed. I can't tell you how excited I was to see Promise. Bethany and I really missed her today. What was she up to during our adventure? She was having fun with her friends!

Beth, who had arrived in the middle of the night, stayed for the entire day with the Bird. Kendra and Bethany W. were here as well. They had a great day with Promise, and I can't tell you how much they blessed me. I came home to a super happy kid who had already eaten dinner and was already bathed. After a big hug, we waved to the girls as they left and then we went to my bed to play.

What a privilege to play with my kid. We spent about 45 minutes together doing our regular evening activities of "horsey" and "woah". "Horsey" is the one where I lay on my back and Promise sits on my belly facing me while I jiggle up and down. "Woah" is a similar setup with her facing the other direction while I hold her arms and pull her in every direction before finally flopping her on the bed beside me.

We then read our nightly bible story and went to her room to read "Tiger Can't Sleep" and sing our songs. She went to bed perfectly happy. That, my friends, is the grace of God. Imagine, she awoke on her first day in a new house, to find that her parents were missing. She spent the day with the girls, got an hour with me, and then went to bed with a smile on her face, never having seen her mom. And she's not even two years old. God is good. He really is good to us.

I know I've said this dozens of times on these pages, but we have some incredible friends here. They helped us pack up and move house over the course of two days, and then on day three went the extra mile and took care of us in yet another crisis. Beth, Bethany and Kendra—thank you for being such awesome babysitters. Sherry, thanks for being there and loving on Bethany when I felt like I had nothing left to give. I don't know who was working to cover Béa's shift today, but thanks to all who arranged that. Rick, thanks for doing what needed to be done and taking care of those who were taking care of Bethany. And Béa, thanks for all that you do. I don't know how you can so graciously take such good care of Bethany and I when our world seems to be crumbling around us. Thanks for the wisdom and peace that you bring with you everywhere you go.

I'm gonna sleep at home tonight and Béa will stay the night at the hospital. She has a shift in the morning, so the girls have offered to watch Promise at the orange house while I go see Bethany first thing. I hope to bring the Bird with me for another visit later in the morning. I'll try to update this blog late tomorrow when I have more news for you.

In the meantime, if you'd like to pass on a little message for Bethany, leave a comment on this blog. I'll be brining a computer to the hospital tomorrow so she has some tv shows to watch or something. I'll be sure to open up the comments window before I leave with the computer so she can read your get well wishes. I know that would really bless her.

It feels awful to hear her in such agony. I feel so helpless. Please continue to pray that the doctors will find the cause of her pain and find a solution. Thanks for all your prayers.


PS. I was texting Darrell about the silly little shoes that I had to wear in the hospital room today, and he suggested I take a photo. I had my phone, so I leaned over and took a snap shot.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Greetings! Sorry for the long delay in posting. Our lives have been a little chaotic.
To just quickly update ya'll before Tim's following LONG post, here's what's been happening:

Rick (Sherry's hubby) arrived last Saturday bearing Tim's COMPUTER!!! This computer I am currently working on is now simply Promise's "Dora the Explorer" addiction....or so she thinks. :) Tim is ecstatic, as he is now able to get lots of work done and follow up on the items he was unable to get to because of a lack of computer. I haven't seen him so very happy in a long time!

We've been sucking every morsel of time out of Rick and Sherry, as they head back to California this on the 29th. It will be very hard to say goodbye to them. Their presence here has been an incredible encouragement and blessing to us and we have no doubt in our minds that God will cross our paths again and again over time. :) They reek of Jesus and it's awesome.

We had a great evening of celebration with the graduating class of Newlife International School of Midwifery. This class of 11 girls have been a source of great fellowship and fun and we are so excited for them as they step out in faith for what God has in store for them as international midwife ambassadors.

Filipino elections have ended, though there is still some unrest with some of the fact, we are still waiting on receiving word who are the winners in some areas of the country! Ha ha ha...however, the blackouts have diminished significantly and for that, I am grateful!

Promise has completely recovered from the accident last month, though we spent the majority of the last two weeks awake at night with her as she got a horrible flu we later discovered was an amoeba. After 6 days of diarrhea and recurring fever, I took her in to see a pediatrician. He listened as I rattled off all of Promise's symptoms and said exactly what I thought he'd say...."Get a stool sample and we'll put her on metronidazole". Sure enough, stool sample showed a nasty amoeba infiltrating her intestines (usually caused by bad water or poorly cooked food). She started the meds a couple days ago and though very pale and tired, seems to gaining her appetite, is not dehydrated, and is in better spirits. I hate seeing my baby girl sick. :(

The package my parents sent came at a wonderful time! It had Easter candy for Tim and me and stickers for Promise. :) It also contained my certified professional midwife certificate. :) It was full of encouragement and we are so grateful for the pieces of home.

Speaking of which, this morning, some of my dear friends from Mercy are coming over to help us move out of our apartment and into the house we will be watching for 6 months for our pastor friends. We're just about completely packed and though there is actually very little to be moved, we have been amazed at how much "stuff" we have acquired over the past 3 years! Though mostly paper and books, determining what stays and what goes has been an arduous task. Tomorrow, we will complete the move and prepare this apartment for the couple arriving in August to serve with Newlife and Mercy. God's grace has been super sufficient in this time of preparing.

Sorry this post is a little disheveled...I am writing it at 5 am as I have not been able to sleep the last few nights. With only 4 weeks left until this little baby inside is full term, sleep is becoming quite the luxury and with the added stress of moving and Promise being sick, sleep is just not really happening. This, too, shall pass, I am told. :) My midwife and very dear friend, Bea, has been totally amazing coming weekly to hang out, help pack things, watch Promise, remind me to take it easy, and just be a blessing. I am so so thankful for her.

Tim is having a GAS being back to work and there are exciting things happening with the water project, so stay tuned for his post in a couple of days. He has lots to share regarding God's amazing provision of clean water to the poor of Mindanao...and beyond!
Be blessed!
I leave you with just a few pics of the month....
The Newlife International School of Midwifery Class of 2010 (minus me and Promise, of course). They have served the poor women of Davao City at Mercy Maternity Center tirelessly. :)

Promise's new Easter bunny from Gramma Con and Papa Jim (notice the stickers on her arms...those came in the package, too!)

Sherry doing nutrition teaching at Mercy on our prenatal day.

Our lovely preggo ladies at Mercy.
And this is what I woke up to on Mother's Day.... (*BIG smile*)

Monday, May 3, 2010


Greetings! WELCOME TO MAY!!!
I cannot begin to share with you my gratefulness in seeing April come to a close. April, the nightmare month, is officially over! May is SURE to be better! Just read what we get to look forward to in May:
1. Filipino elections (signaling the "possible" cessation of rolling blackouts...."possible")
2. Our friend, Sherry, gets to meet her hubby, Rick, at the airport (they have been apart for 3 months!) BONUS: He is bringing Tim's new and absolutely necessary computers!
3. My dear friends at Mercy Maternity Center graduate from Newlife International School of Midwifery.
4. We're moving at the end of this month into a temporary place until November.
5. My parents sent a package that should arrive sometime this month.
6. Tim planned a date for the two of us this week and Sherry is coming to babysit!
7. There will be MANY nights of playing cards and chewing the fat with Sherry and Rick. :)

So, as you can see, there is a lot of GOOD things to look forward to. :) Already this month is better than last month in that we haven't had a power outage since Thursday because of the May Labor Day holiday! That's FOUR DAYS with consistent power! That's a Filipino record! WAHOO!

So, I won't go on much longer, but I wanted to just give a quick update on the healing process since the no-so-fun Wednesday we had last week.
Promise's head is healing well and her cuts and scratches are beginning to itch showing she is on the mend. Her bruises are fading and we rode in a taxi this morning without incident. I don't think she even remembered that is was the same company and taxi-type we were in last Wednesday.
She will often point to her head and say, "OWIE" when I clean it...she even tried to clean MY head after seeing me gingerly put salve and betadine on her cuts. Cute. She does seem a bit more clingy, but not crabby or fussy. God has protected her. :)

Tim's back is still very very sore, but some of that was from long before the accident. He is trying to stretch it out everyday, but I think he will need some therapy when we return to Canada. His shin is healing, too, though you shouldn't ask him about it when Promise sits on it. She's like a magnet for touching the OWIES. OUCH!

I took the advice of friends and iced my left side as best I could and decided not to "rest" it too much, which could cause it to become stiff. I have regained most mobility now in that side, though it gets sore and tired very quickly. I am still experiencing some muscle weakness in my left arm, but little by little I am seeing the bruising fade and the muscles relax. My back is still very sore, but I am thrilled that the pain is less than what it was. Contractions have lessened and little baby boy seems happy, so I am happy. I am wary to ride a taxi or motorbike as of late, but I am sure my protectiveness will fade a bit over time.

Tim is working hard picking up the pieces of April. We should get the truck back this Wednesday, which will make his life significantly easier. He is excited for continued progress in the water project and will blog next about it for you.

Thank you all so very much for your support and prayers throughout these past horrible weeks. As a friend shared with me last week, "With much adversity, must come much blessing." So I am anticipating a lot of joy this spirit certainly feels more joy! Thank you again and please continue to keep us in your prayers....they are working.
Be blessed.