Saturday, April 26, 2014

Elissa Merideth

It was nearing the end of a long shift. I had already transported a laboring mother and sent another who was in early labor home. I looked up as the door creaked and I heard the familiar call of “Labor”.
I scurried to assist this young girl. She gripped her abdomen as she cried “SAKIT”(translates PAIN). I assured her that pain was normal. As I gathered more information, I learned this was her first baby and the pain had started an hour ago. She was only 16.
I prepared to evaluate her labor. With each contraction I helped her focus and breathe. As I assessed her progress, I noted that she was fully dilated and ready to push. Her eyes widened in disbelief. I assured her that I was also impressed by her rapid progress, however, I urged her that the time had come and her baby was on the way now.
She told me that she had thought she would be sent home and had not brought anything for birth. I explained that either way, prepared or not, baby was coming soon. A short 18 minutes later baby Elissa Merideth entered the world with a cord looped tightly around her neck. We later joked that if the cord had not been in place, baby may have fallen out in the taxi.
Another example of do not judge a book by its cover. (For all who are curious we later found out that she started having painless contractions at 5pm, painful contractions at 8pm and baby was born at 9:23pm)
She was definitely the best young, first time mother I have had in a very long time. What a beautiful birth! 



Monday, April 14, 2014

A different perspective....

After the events of the past 24 hours, I am still smiling! God has worked in such miraculous ways in my life! I am very thankful for the courtship he has allowed for me to enter into with Keagan. I asked him if he would like to share his side of the story... so here it is :)

"God is good! Ever since I was a young man I've been praying that the Lord would prepare me for and prepare for me a young woman of the Lord who loves and seeks His will above all else in her life. I prayed that she would be strong yet tender hearted. Intelligent yet humble. A hard worker but one who knows how to laugh and have a good time. A woman of substance and high standards yet merciful and open to listening to the views of others. A woman of internal beauty and purity who I can trust in all matters of life to be honest with me. One who is not afraid to tell you where she stands on a matter yet wise enough to know when to make that stand clear and when to refrain from declaring.

For years I prayed and observed. As the years passed on I began to wonder if ever such a woman existed any more in this world then it happened, I met her on the campus of Pensacola Christian College!

Oh the joy and thrill to see such a woman as her! One who sought God and loved His ways! We became good friends and I thanked the Lord for His blessings, then as fast as I'd known her I knew her no longer for the Lord called her back home. I was left with sadness at the loss of my friend yet I understood that God's way was best; therefore, with God's help I girded myself like a man and prepared to wait and watch once more for the woman of my prayers.

Years passed on and still I waited in full faith that God would provide and provide He did. God saw fit to reconnect me with this old campus friend of mine and our friendship began anew!

Our friendship grew and grew and the day came after much prayer that I decided having lost her once, by God's grace I would not lose her again. I called her father and requested his permission and blessing upon the pursuit of his holy and true daughter. A few weeks later I had the privilege to meet both her father and mother face to face for one weekend. In the end her father gave me his full permission and blessing to court his daughter, Sarah Granquist. Upon calling Sarah and asking her mind toward courtship she responded with an affirmation that filled my heart with joy and placed a smile on my face!

I thank the Lord for His many blessings that He has brought into my life but most of all for Sarah! She is the woman of my prayers and I excitedly anticipate the Lord's plan for our lives!

God is good!"

Blog Post 100

I never really thought I would make it to this point! 100 blog posts! That is crazy! I want to take this post to share with you how amazingly God has worked in my life up to this point! I am so very blessed and I just want to share some of those blessings with you! Please read to the end!

As many of you know, I have been blessed to have the opportunity to serve the Lord here in the Philippines for the last year and 9 months. Over and over, I have seen God provide and work in my life in miraculous ways. Ways that I never even thought possible! I have witnessed so many births. I have seen God provide in miraculous ways financially.

Again and again the Lord took the time to teach me lessons and to grow me. It has been a wicked exciting journey! I thought I knew my path and what God's plan for my life held. I thought I knew... But sometimes we learn that God has something different in store. Something special... something you never saw coming.

Let me tell you the story of a girl. She was a young girl who loved the Lord. She committed to keeping her heart pure and focused on the Lord's will. She prayed every day for what the Lord would have in her future. As she grew the Lord gave her a burden to serve. She went to college and learned a lot. She made wonderful friends. Then against her plans, but according to God's, she left college "early"- but right on time in God's eyes.
This girl searched for the best way to become a midwife. She knew she had a burden to serve in missions. God called her to the Philippines. It was not in her plans, but in God's plans. She fought at first, then surrendered to go.
Fast forward a few months. Away from home... trusting the Lord... looking and praying toward the future. That girl was not sure what her future would hold, but she trusted that her heavenly Father did....God allowed for this girl to reconnect with an old college friend. They enjoyed talking and encouraging one another in the Lord. As God worked in the girl's heart, she knew the Lord had something special for her future. She wondered what the Lord was preparing her for.
Fast forward a few more months....That good friend decided to take a step after much prayer and consideration. He went to that girl's father and they talked. Father called that girl and told her a young man had asked for permission to get to know her better. She was shocked but excited to see how God would work.
Fast forward to today. That girl is sitting on her bed when her skype rings. Her father is calling... He wants to know if she will "go for it" (reference "The Quiet Man"). She can hardly speak, but replies "I'll go for it". Her special friend is there and her parents gives their blessing.

And that my friends is the condensed version of how God is currently working in my life. As of this morning I have been blessed to enter into a courtship with a wonderful man of God. I am on the other side of the world! I never dreamed this would happen in a million years! God had brought me to the place where I was content to be a single missionary. I never thought a relationship was in my near future- let alone a relationship when I was in the Philippines! Wow! All I can say is all the glory goes to the Lord. He is so amazing. When I view how he has perfectly orchestrated my life to bring me to this point, my heart is so full of thankfulness. I am so very happy! I ask that you would pray for us as we enter this courtship and look for the Lord's leading and direction in our lives! To God be the glory!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Hiraya Ysabelle

I ask that you would pray. Yesterday I mentioned a continuity patient of mine. I provided for all of her prenatal care. We knew there may be a problem with the baby, but it was never confirmed prenatally by ultrasound as she could not afford it.
April 9th, I transported her to the hospital. The baby's heart was slow and even more irregular than before. I was texted a few hours later that "Zaida" had a cesarean section and was recovering well. Her baby was taken to be observed. To her knowledge everything was alright.
Yesterday, April 11th, I was able to visit her in the hospital. She seemed to be doing well and baby looked ok. Her spirits were good and she was so happy that I had taken time to see her.
This morning I received the dreaded text. The baby has confirmed heart problems. "Zaida" told me that baby's heart is slow and she does not know what else. This poor girl and little baby need your prayers.
It is heart breaking to receive these texts "pls., I dnt know what Im going to do." "Im crying here today Sarah" "I need ur prayer"....
I assured this sweet girl that I would be praying. I ask now that if you are reading this that you would say a prayer for them as well. Thank you!
Hiraya Ysabelle

Mr. Cockroach

This post is for my youngest brother. This post is all about a little creature that is frequently seen, and often killed. It is a synonym of “Vile” “Disgusting” and “wretched”. It is.... the cockroach. I found this nasty little critter this morning when I went to the CR. There tends to be a kill on sight order out on these guys. They can get quite large. Last time I mentioned to my family about cockroaches, my little brother asked for me to share a picture... so here is a picture of the creature that met me this morning (once he was dead). Just for Mack ;)



Thursday, April 10, 2014

Continuity of Care

Continuity of care is a huge part of midwifery care. It means the midwife is with the mother, side by side through her journey of pregnancy and birth. Most people associate this with the positive aspects. The midwife is with a woman each step of the way. Their relationship walks through a beautiful birth and is full of smiles.
Most midwives realize that continuity of care goes much deeper. It walks through the bad times as well.
Continuity means holding the hand of the scared young girl as she hears her baby's heart for the first time and knows she was left alone to raise this child.
It means being with that girl as she faces the possibility that her baby will be born with congenital abnormalities.
It means praying for that girl every single day and staying in contact even when she does not reply to left messages.
It means going to be with her as she enters early labor, gently explaining, transporting her to the hospital as the baby's heart is low and staying by her side praying until the doctor arrives (and you are no longer allowed in the room).
I recently had this experience with a dear patient of mine. Thankfully, baby survived. Momma had a cesarean, but both mother and baby seem to be recovering well. I was able to go and visit them this morning with a friend. I am thankful they are both doing alright! My continuity patient was full of smiles and happy that I had come. I was happy too!
I was also reminded of continuity in my devotions.... God provides the best continuity of care for his children. He is always there, he never fails.
 As I read Psalm 147 this morning, verses 4 and 5 stood out to me. "He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names. Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite." Verse 11 also, "The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy."
Continuity is important! I am very thankful for the opportunity to care for women and to use my continuity of care to show them the love Christ has for them. Because one day, I will leave, but He always will remain a source of continual care!

Operation Meal Time

I wrote a few days ago about a severe fire that destroyed many homes in a community known as Isle Verde. A few days ago, I had the opportunity to join with several other missionaries to prepare, bag and hand out lunches to the people of this community. I know it is not a lot, but it was something... we were able to help support a local pastor and his wife with their ministry. Pictures speak much louder than words... here are some from this recent ministry opportunity....
Ready to prepare food... knife, cutting board and rice pot :)


Chopping away!

Peeling garlic- yum!
The following pictures are from when we packaged the food the next morning........
Scooping noodles into bags

Tying bags that contain a complete meal
 After packing 200+ bags, we headed to Isle Verde to help distribute them. The host of our outreach took us up where we could view the area that had been destroyed. It is truly heartbreaking....
A week ago this area was filled with thousands of homes
Here are a few pictures of the people we ministered to.


It was a blessing to be able to serve these people, even if it was only handing them a meal. We are very blessed. Be thankful for what you have. Not everyone is blessed to have 3 full meals (and snacks, and clean water). Many of these people were thankful to be alive and to have survived the fire even though they lost all their belongings. One woman told us how she lost her child...
Take time to reflect on your many blessings....Just a thought. Pray for these people and thank the Lord for what He has graciously given you!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Zac Nathan

His mother smiled as the contraction surged through her body. Through the pain she locked eyes with me and breathed deeply. She had done this before, though it was 6 years ago. She had done this before, she could do it again.
 I was arriving fresh for day shift. As I entered the clinic, the familiar sounds of labor met my ears. My gut told me a baby would be entering the world during our shift. The midwife gave a brief overview and I headed to meet "Cel". She is a beautiful woman. I quietly entered her cubicle and moved towards her. She smiled at me. I took a deep breath with her and introduced myself. She smiled and told me she was so excited.
We worked together over the next 30 minutes. We breathed. We smiled. We laughed. She spoke in excited tones and told her baby how anxious she was to meet him. She had seen on an ultrasound this was a boy- and she truly hoped it was (her first child was a girl).
Not long after at 6:36 am, Zac Nathan showed his face. He was a little blue from the cord that was wound tightly around his neck. However, seconds later his color improved as he let out a lusty cry.
Words cannot adequately share the feelings of that moment. I always try, but I never can. How can I describe how it feels to receive the blessing of life into your hands? How can I describe what it is like to hear a baby's first cry? How can I share what I feel when I watch a mother gaze at her child with all the love in the world and whisper to him "Salamat sa Ginoo" (thank you Lord)? I cannot do it justice, but I still try. For now, I will leave it to your imagination.


Fire

Fire- something that can be so beautiful or so terrible. Something that can be so helpful, or so devastating. My heart aches as I share this post.
The other night, a densely populated community called Isle Verde was hit by fire. This area is home to the Badjao, "Sea Gypsies" who make their homes in small huts on the water. I have mentioned them a few times in previous blog posts. Here is a link of a post I wrote about Isle Verde in my first year in the Philippines.
I have been told that over 1000 homes have been destroyed. I was also told that the local church was burnt as well. So many are homeless, living in the local park, or in substitute shelters. These people need prayer.
I was told of one mother who jumped from her burning home into the sea. She proceeded to swim to shore and deliver her child in the local park. Shortly after, she was brought to the clinic via ambulance.
Today I met a family who lost all they had in the fire, yet they were thankful to hold their new baby safe and sound. Made me reflect on what is really important in this life. It made my heart ache.
For additional perspective, please read two of my friends blogs. Isle Verde and Babies Come at the Worst Times share more photos and information. I highly recommend taking a look. Here is a news article on the fire... This is a community that our clinic ministers to with prenatal clinics multiple times each month.

I do not know what else to share, but my heart is heavy for these families. As you go about your day, remember what is truly important. We are so blessed that we often take it for granted. Be thankful for what you have. You may not have it tomorrow... so hug your family a little tighter today, and when you enjoy your nice meal or pull on your clean clothes, thank the Lord. Thank the Lord and pray. Pray for the people of Isle Verde.

Before....







 How can you help? Pray for these people.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

What is the word?

What is the word that describes how I feel?
Could it be jolly? I'm filled with delight!
Could it be elated, blissful or blithe?

What is the word that describes how I feel?
Lively? Merry?
Captivated? Surreal?

What is the word that describes how I feel?
I am so happy! This all seems unreal.
Can it be true? you are finally here!

What is this word that describes how I feel?
Is the word joyful- as my tears over flow.
Is it enamored- by your cute little glow.

What is this word that describes how I feel?
I think it is Love- so tender and sweet!
I think it is Aunty- you are my little niece!

Welcome to the world little "Riley Elizabeth"! I am so proud to be your Aunt! I have been praying for you for a long time! You are one special girl! It is hard to stay away, but I will be home soon! I can't wait to meet you!