Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 in Brief Review

This year has been a busy one! So much has transpired in the past 12 months! I have been very blessed! It would be a very LONG blog post if I were to recount all my blessings, highlights and struggles of the year... Here are a few of the major highlights of 2013 that stand out when I glance at 2013:

Visit to Tabuk- this was in March. I was blessed to spend a few adventurous weeks at a smaller maternity clinic in Tabuk, Philippines... it was a great experience- I even rode on a Carabao!

June Break- June was a packed month with a great trip home and my brother's wedding!

Cambodia Trip- In September/October I had the opportunity to travel to Cambodia on a missions trip... It was a wonderful experience and I learned so much...

Brother-in-law - This year one of my "little" sisters (ok... younger... she isn't little anymore) became engaged to a great guy... next fall I will have a brother-in-law!

Aunty-I also found out that in the spring my brother and his wife are expecting a little girl! I am an Aunty!!!

12 Skills- I was able to be successful in my "12 Skills Project" where each month I learned a new skill and shared it here on my blog.

Sadness- unfortunately this year has also brought sadness... the overseas adoptions my family has been praying for and working towards is still suspended do to the foreign government closing USA adoptions... and also the death of one of my dear grandmothers...Please continue to pray for my family for comfort and also that the foreign government would again open their doors for USA adoptions! The children do not deserve this!

2013 also brought the privilege of witnessing many births and learning much from my Filipino friends... I am thankful for all God continues to teach me!

That is a brief glimpse of my year in review.... feel free to read through my blog for more detailed posts of my life this past year...
As the New Year rapidly approaches I look forward to all it will bring! Lord willing these are highlights I will continue to look forward to in 2014... April = birth of my niece.... August = going home and sitting for the NARM exam... September = My sister's wedding (and being maid of honor)... and only God knows what else! Have a blessed New Year Celebration!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Warm Christmas Greetings!

Hello Friends! Merry Christmas to you all! I had a wonderful Christmas full of various surprises and blessings... Let me share how I spent my second Christmas in the Philippines

The day started at midnight where I was on shift at the clinic. A beautiful young woman came into the clinic in active labor. We labored together and laughed together... she cried, I dried her tears... She was strong and excited to meet her precious baby. At 2:08am a tiny sweet baby girl was born. 5lbs. 7oz. Baby Janilah Rey...

 Such a Wonderfully Sweet Christmas Gift to receive!... Just look at her precious face!

After shift I returned to my Christmasy dorm and slept for a few hours... Then I went to turn on my computer and suddenly I received a skype call from a sweet friend of mine! What another surprise Christmas gift! I am very blessed!
Here are a just few pictures from my Christmas in the Philippines....




Can not forget the fans! A part I am very thankful for!

Definitely not the same as a "real" tree... but it works well... and we are thankful for it!
Christmas evening we made pizza (Yes, I made a gluten free one for myself) and had an enjoyable Christmas party with our housemates and friends! After exchanging gifts, we played a game and then my family called! I was thankful to be able to actually skype with them... especially as there was a huge ice storm back home which left them and many others without power.... Thanks to a generator and an internet hotspot it was possible to skype with my precious family... I am so thankful and so very blessed! I am also glad that the children received the only gift they asked of me for Christmas... to see and talk with me... this was my favorite Christmas gift of all!
What a precious day... not only for the many blessings and surprises I received on this Christmas day, but also for the greatest blessing I benefit from... the one that came years ago in a manger in a little town called Bethlehem. I am so very thankful that my Lord came down to show how much He loves me... He didn't have to, but He chose to come as a newborn baby and experience life... Praise His Name for the MOST PRECIOUS GIFT that was ever given! Merry Christmas Friends!

Monday, December 16, 2013

12 Skills Project Conclusion

This year was a lot of fun... so much has happened! At the beginning of the year I had the idea to begin a 12 skills project with the object of learning 12 new random skills by the end of the year... and though some posts were slightly late, I was successful! Here is a brief review of the skills I learned:

#1: Knife Throwing! Still not awesome at it, but still fun to practice... read about it more here.

#2: Copying a dress without a pattern... Have yet to do it again... but it was fun!

#3: Riding a Carabao! That was a wonderful memory I doubt I will ever forget... here is the story!

#4: Learned how to make my favorite Filipino food from scratch... LUMPIA! Even recreated this one for my family!

#5: Traveling internationally SOLO... all by myself... yes, I think that is a skill!

#6: Being a bridesmaid... yes, this is definitely a skill... what a wonderful memory!

#7: Making gluten, dairy, soy and egg free cornbread... my own recipe!

#8: Creating a new recipe... "Hedgehog Balls"... basically a pork meat ball & sauerkraut... delicious!

#9: Paddling a Suong in Cambodia!

#10: Doing Oil pastel drawings! You can see pictures of some of them here...

#11: Creating 4 (1 per week) allergy friendly recipes! Yummy! More about them here...

#12: A duct tape computer sleeve... Ayuh, I am a Maine-ah :) Duct tape is such a great invention... here is a picture and the story...

Well folks, that is it... there are the 12 new skills.... my new years resolution complete! Hard to believe the year has already flown by! It has been a wonderful year, full of many blessings, challenges, and lessons learned... but I think I will save those for another post, another day! Anyone willing to take up the 12 skills project for next year?

Skill #12

Another month... December! The last month of my "12 Skills" project! Wow... ok, so this month I found a cool idea on pinterest and recreated it:
DUCT TAPE COMPUTER SLEEVE!
Yes, It was easy....
Yes, I love duct tape (Purple duct tape is like a signature of mine)...
....and Yes... I may just be a little bit of a Maine-ah Hillbilly... even if living here in the Philippines!
 It was a fun project and fits my computer perfectly (and the reversible side is the cute owl duct tape pictured)... Duct tape is such a wonderful invention! Glad that I almost always have some on hand!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Baby Blueberry

I came onto night shift slightly tired, but ready for whatever came our way. I was excited as I was told there was a woman in labor who was already 8cm. During the time of endorsements I was called to attend to her. She wanted to push, but instead we calmly breathed together. Not long after, I called for assistance as the shiny bag of waters was clearly visible. Only a few short minutes later and her beautiful baby boy entered this world! He had a tight cord looped around his neck which required a "somersault" before he was free to be in his mother's arms. What a cord! His cord was one of the largest I have ever seen! Much thicker than my thumb (like at least 3 times bigger!) Not long after, the placenta was delivered with little difficulty. Then the complications began. "Lyn's" uterus continued to bleed, despite the medications we gave. Though it was only a little each time, it was abnormal and very concerning. Praise the Lord that 20+ minutes of bimanual compression, an IV, a few injections, LOTS of prayer and 3 hours later her bleeding finally stopped! God is so good to us!
Welcome to the World little "Jabin"- my little blueberry baby!
Baby "Jabin" was born at 10:24pm Saturday night weighing 3700g or 8lbs 3oz... another big boy! His mother's total labor time, from first contraction until birth of "Jabin" was only about 2 hours and 20 minutes... talk about fast! Looking forward to continuing to care for this sweet family over the next few weeks!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Power of Focus

As “Judy” entered the clinic, I could tell she had experience with birth before. She calmly walked to the CR and was patient as I checked her in. When a contraction arose, she breathed well and directed me on where to apply pressure to her back. She knew that this process would bring her baby soon. I monitored her contractions and after checking, found her to be 4-5 cm dilated. She was admitted and I suspected we may not be waiting long as this was her 5th baby. “Judy” labored expertly. She breathed beautifully, frequently changed positions and handled the pain well. She seemed determined that this baby would be here soon.



She told me about her previous births and how with the first 3 she only laid on the bed. Those labors were painful and took a long time. With her last baby she stood and birthed the baby while standing up. She firmly told me that this baby would be born with her standing or “sitting in the air” as she called squatting. I told her this would be possible and as long as there were no complications she could deliver in an upright position. She smiled, happy to hear her wishes would be honored.



She became more active. The wave of contractions became stronger and came faster. The end was in sight. Nearby another patient also labored. This younger woman was giving birth to her 2nd baby. “Judy” suddenly switched her focus to this girl. “Sounds like she is crying” “Judy” would state during her own contraction. I affirmed that she was, but that “Judy” needed to focus on her own baby. My words were ignored. With the next sweep of pain, “Judy” ignored the pain and disassociated herself from her own labor. During a contraction she would speak of this other girl and how she must be in so much pain right now. “Judy” mentioned to me that she didn't cry with her pain. Again and again at the peak, when I was sure baby could come quickly, “Judy” seemed to turn off her focus from her labor and onto this other woman's. I suspected that “Judy” was ready to have the baby but she continued to disassociate herself. Finally I looked into her eyes and said “Judy, I know that you have done this before. You know it will be painful, but you must get through the pain to hold your baby. Focus on you and your baby so he can come.”



I had no sooner finished when the next wave of contractions hit her and she began to again disassociate. I placed my hand on her and told her to focus. She turned her eyes away from the sounds of the other woman and down at me. As the contraction hit, her head raised up and I saw baby's head emerging. Next thing I knew baby's head was born into my hands. I could feel a cord very tightly wrapped around his neck and baby was not coming easily. We helped “Judy” into a reclined position where I was able to help baby rotate and enter into the world shortly after.



Little Frank AJ was born at 11:16am and was a big baby weighing 7 lbs 12 oz. (3500g). *Note: big is a relative term. He was big for a Filipino baby born to a small momma... Besides having a slightly bruised/dusky face, Frank AJ had no problems. After drying his little body, I placed him skin to skin and watched him follow the “breast crawl”. It was an amazing sight! He was able to climb up and self attach to feed withing the first 60 minutes of life.



Shift continued on and business followed. At the end of shift I returned happy and satisfied. I was blessed to witness another precious life entering the world and I learned another valuable lesson. I realized how greatly our focus effects our actions and our life. The mind is extremely powerful! I challenge you to evaluate where your focus is and redirect it as necessary!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Skill #11

Time has again quickly passed without me updating my blog! So sorry! However, here is the new skill for November...  I created a few more allergy friendly recipes... here they are:

#1... Stewed Garlic Citrus chicken, gluten free biscuits and steamed veggie salad


#2... Bacon wrapped pork chop, Pineapple sauce and garlic rice


#3... dairy free Bacon & Potato stew and gluten free biscuits


#4... Gluten free Pleasant Pork Pie


So that is it... skill #11 was creating 4 new recipes (about 1/week) that are allergy friendly... meaning they are all dairy, gluten, soy, egg, msg free recipes.... What are your thoughts? Leave a comment per which one is your favorite...
Now to decide on skill #12.... suggestions? This is the last of my #12 skills project... anyone?