Saturday, September 7, 2013

Birth Stories. and Cambodia.

It has been quite the month here in the Philippines! So much transition as the batch above us left, the new first-year batch came in, and we have had busy, BUSY shifts. In the past month, I had two very special continutiy patients deliver their babies. See their pictures and their stories below.


      I absolutely loved being Grace's midwife. She was more of a friend and having prenatals with her was always a joy. Grace was pregnant with her second baby, a baby girl. A good friend of mine delivered her first baby, and I was more than excited to deliver her second. When she texted me that she was in labor, I came to the clinic to find a very active, 8 cm dilated momma. She gave me just enough time to get everything ready and then delivered her baby! She was a great pusher, listened wonderfully to me, and baby girl was perfect. Her husband, Eugene, cut the cord and soon after brought a very sleepy new big brother, Josh, into the room to meet his new sister. 
Everything was going alright with Grace in the time after birth, except within the hour, she started bleeding pretty heavily. We administered some uterotonic drugs to help encourage contracting of the womb and had to insert an IV. She kept bleeding and eventually fainted from the high volume of blood loss. Even though I have seen this a dozen times before (our women here are at such a high risk for hemorrhaging), it really scared me. I just did what I knew to do, and with the help of a few other wonderful midwives, we were able to get Grace stable. I just sat beside her, talking to her, praying. Yes, all of these women and babies are SO precious to me, but when my very own patient, one I have been walking with for 9 months, experieces a complication, it effects me in such a different way.  
    Praise God for His sweet faithfulness to me and to Grace. She and her baby girl, Cheska, are now wonderful and healthy, three weeks later.
 Continue to pray for Grace, though, as she is a little bit anemic and tired. She has a very supportive bana (husband) to take care of her and her baby. So so thankful to get the chance to love on this patient and her family. Here they are are, just a few hours after birth.


     My second continuty patient to deliver in August was Amy. Once again, I was completely honored and blessed to be her midwife. Amy is a dear friend and the sister of Charlyn, who runs the outreach to Badjao (sea gypsies) that I do volunteer prenatals with a few times a month. Amy and I formed a fast friendship as I began doing prenatals for her early on in her pregnancy.
     Labor was a bit different for Amy, as time slipped quickly past her due date (40 weeks). At our clinic here, we only can have women deliver from 37 weeks to 42 weeks pregnant. Under our clinic's protocol, if a woman passes 42 weeks, we refer her to the hospital to give birth instead. Well, when Amy got to 41 weeks and a few days, we attempted to naturally induce her labor. (No people, we didn't do a pitocin drip). Instead, we had her doing exercises like a mad woman, trying to get that baby moving. Next, I tried ripening her cervix with evening primrose oil. After a day's time, that didn't seem to work. She came in on a Sunday morning for castor oil. She downed a 60ml bottle and was directed to continue exercising. Finally, she texted me late that night that labor had started, and I headed to the clinic. She was only 4cm when I checked her around 10pm. So she labored all night, walking outside with her bana. She got active around 3am and came inside to deliver her baby. She too was an awesome laborer. I know it is a tad bit 'midwifey' of me, but when a mom pushes out the baby's head slowly, with such great breathing and control, it is the coolest thing. Amy was absolutely wonderful at this. Her baby boy Nel Jedidiah was born with a cord around his neck, so it took him a good minute or two to breathe. We were all prepared for resuscitation, but with a strong heart beat, we only gave some oxygen and he cried shortly after. This too was such a cool, amazing birth. Love Amy and her sweet baby boy!

     So the last part of this post is a glimpse into the near future. For those of you who receive my monthly support emails, you already know about this, but in just a little over a week, I head out for a trip to Cambodia. The organization that I volunteer with here in the Philippines (Mercy Maternity Center) has been presented with an awesome opportunity to send some of us midwives to Cambodia to partner with a local IMB missionary on the ground there. His ministry is located on the north end of Tonle Sap lake in Cambodia. . Our team of midwives would be working with people who live in house boat villages on the Tonle Sap. The population is comprised of Vietnamese refugees and native Cambodian people who live far from any medical care.

     The organization that I served with in 2010 & 2011, Nehemiah Teams through the IMB, sent a team to this area for this first time this past summer. To read about their ministry, check out this link (
      Our director made a recent trip to the area and reported back to us that there is a dire need for midwives there. So, we have been asked to bring a team of midwives in to assess the maternal health care situation and to formulate a plan to help provide quality care. We have the open door to pave a way for the missions translators to share the Gospel, as midwifery care would be provided in the home, on the family boat, thus opening the door for the translators (and us too!) to share the Gospel. We would also have opportunity to teach these local Christian translators the basic skills needed to deliver a baby and to recognize complications, training the people to reach their own people.
     This trip provides the opportunity to do the ground work, the "plowing of the field." I am a part of the initial 3-midwife team that heads out to survey and assess needs. Our organization intends for teams to be constantly sent out for quick ground work to be laid and care to begin!
      This is an amazing opportunity and a great privilege. The organization I serve with has been praying for years now for opportunities to partner all over the globe to arise, and I am so excited that God is opening doors for the season that I am here!
     I sent an email to those of you who support a few weeks ago, asking for prayer as our leaders decided who to send and when. Just within a few hours of sending, several of you asked to help financially with this opportunity. I was astounded and took that as immediate confirmation that I was to go! As I am completely funded to go, I still ask for a few things more..I need you to pray!!

*Pray for those of us going on this initial trip, that we would be open to the Lord's leading, and to have the wisdom to help as we can. We have no idea what to expect, so be praying that we would be sensitive to the Holy Spirit.
*Pray for us as we fight a spiritual battle. Many of the rituals and beliefs surrounding birth there are heavily based on works of a witchdoctor. Let's ask God to show Himself superior to the powers of darkness!
*Pray for opportunities around the world like this one to blossom. I knew even before I came here that being a midwife is such a unique tool that can be used ANYWHERE in the world to meet urgent needs and break down any walls or barriers to the Gospel. God has continued to show me this as I have been here this past year, and I am confident that He has prepared other places like Cambodia for us to serve. Let's pray expectantly!
*Pray for the leadership here at Mercy. This trip is a great opportunity, but a serious one. God has been working in many hearts for a long time, and this is just a step towards branching out with missionary midwives. Please pray that wisdom would be granted and that the Lord will clearly show His will and leading in this new ministry opportunity.

Thank you for reading and encouraging and PRAYING and loving. Continually, every day, I am blown away at the blessing of Christ in YOU.