Monday, September 17, 2012 update!!

Oh my goodness!! I've been home for a month and this is the first update I've done since I've been back!! I am sooooo sorry!! I will try my best to do better.
It's been nice to be home. I've been enjoying spending time with some of my family, my church family, and friends. I have my own place, which is WONDERFUL!! I've lived in community for so long and it's been fun, but I'd been craving having my own place for sometime. I haven't gotten lonely yet...I've been keeping myself pretty busy. I have a good friend that I've been spending some time with...she's been driving me to church and taking me places as I need since I don't have a car. I am helping with the church youth group, am attending a ladies Bible study that starts this week, and went to the first small group meeting of the year. It's nice to be able to attend things with my church family again.
Next Sunday I am going to learn how to make an Ethiopian dish from some Ethiopian ladies that have been attending church for a while. I'm pretty excited about that! :) I love learning about other cultures.
Please keep me in your prayers as I begin to line up churches to speak at. Pray that God will guide me to the groups He wants me to share with, and pray that hearts will be open to hearing about His passion for the lost, catching the vision to share His love amongst the darkest places of the world.
Pray that all the details involved in moving back to India, going to language school, and opening a clinic will fall into place and that God guides me in each step that I need to take. 
Pray also that a car will become available for me to use while I am home. It could be possible for me to purchase a cheep car, but then I'd have to figure out what to do with it when I head back to India, so it'd be better just to barrow one while I am home.

Thanks so much for all you do!!

Friday, July 6, 2012

I'm going to the mountains!!

I'm heading up the hill to Bugnay again!! Probably for my last time. :( It's going to be an extra special trip though because we (two of my classmates and the husband of one of them) are going to go to Sagada as well!! We'll be spending an afternoon spelunking in one of the caves, as well as checking out the hanging coffins, and any other adventures we may come across!! It should be a fun trip! Keep an eye out for all the pictures that will soon follow!! :) 
Bugnay...such a quaint little village that is surrounded by beauty!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

It's a wonderful day in this Neighborhood...

A beautiful day for a neighbor,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Every time I head out to the main road all the little kids rush to pick flowers
that they will then present to me says, "Flower for you Darling, from Bagio!"

 They all have such cute smiles!

And beautiful eyes!

Such innocence
A sweet mama and her sleeping baby
There's nothing like a melting ice cream cone on a hot day!
No, I will not share my cone with you!

And that's my neighborhood! Well, some of it anyway. It's a quaint little community filled with people who love to say hello! Oh! I forgot to introduce one last member of our community...

Meet Bessie. She has a cute little baby, but he was too busy 
playing to allow me to take a picture...maybe another day. :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Home Visits

Yesterday Anie, Suzie and I went out to do a couple of home visits to my patients. We had a three day visit, a four week visit, and an eight week visit.

Little Zeek is such a cutie!
And his mama really loves him!

My four week postpartum patient lived the closest, so we went there first. She lives just down the street from the clinic and I couldn't figure out for the life of me why she never came for any of her postpartum visits when she lived so close! Well, it turns out that she watches two additional kids (she has a three year old, a one year old, and her baby) all day while their parents are at work because there is no one else to watch them. I wish I'd known that, because I would have made more of an effort to find her house earlier. But both Clair and her little boy, Zeek are doing great! They look happy and healthy. The only concern I had was her stress levels with all those kids around, and the fact that she is doing mix feeding. So often here you hear the women say that they don't have enough milk because the baby cries all the time or after feedings, or because someone in her family tells her that she doesn't have enough. They'll give their baby a bottle which means he's not sucking as much which means that her body slows down production which results in not having enough milk! They are creating the problem they think they have. It's a bit frustrating sometimes. Anyway. I encouraged her to only do pure breastfeeding and drink some jackfruit leaf tea if she really feels she doesn't have enough milk. 

Yeuja is such a wonderful mama!

Isn't Rowen Jake a handsome little guy?


Rowen Jake with his Lolo Jacob!

Our next stop was to see my three day postpartum patient. Yeuja had a REALLY great birth, though she'll tell you she thought she was going to die in labor. During transition she was pretty frantic, but focused well with constant instruction. And when she started to push, she did beautifully, giving
small pushes which allowed her tissue to stretch. It was so beautiful, I just love births like that! Anyway, both her and her son, Rowen Jake are doing great. She is a bit tired, but says she feels good. She is doing pure breastfeeding and enjoying her sweet boy so much. :) The unique thing about this family is that Yeuja's grandfather married a younger woman not too long ago. They had a son, Jacob, who is now 9 months old. So, Jacob is Rowen Jake's great uncle! HA! Here in the Philippines they don't have a word for great uncle, so they just call him lolo, which means grandfather. Does it make anyone else think of the song, "He's his own grandpa?"

They are such a cute little family. :)

Little Alvin James...He's getting so big!
Finally we made our way down to Laya. I'm sure you remember my entry about my backwards baby. This is the one we were going to visit. Anie and I had planned MANY times for weeks to go visit them, but each time we had it planned, one of us would have a birth or something. Jane hadn't come for any of her postpartum checks and I felt bad that we hadn't made it down there yet. When we got there she told us about her mastitis (breast infection). She'd gone for a doctor check a week and a half ago because it got so bad. She had a wound about the size of a half dollar that was healing. The doctor had given her antibiotics which she'd just finished. We told her to go for a followup check the next day. The doctor told her not to breast feed on the infected breast, but she had been pumping from it. We told her its better to feed from both sides, and to ask the doctor when she can feed from that side again. I felt really bad that I hadn't made more of an effort to visit her earlier. If I had, than maybe the infection wouldn't have gotten so bad. But other than the infection, her and her sweet little Alvin James (named after my grandpa Al) are doing well. Alvin looks really good and his mama seems happy. I was glad I was finally able to get down there to visit them. :)
All in all, it was a good morning of visits. I always struggle with doing home visits, thinking, "I'd rather just stay home, it's too hot." But once I'm out and doing the visits I love it and wonder why I don't do it more often. :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Morning Prayer

Thank you for a quiet morning, for good coffee to sip as I enjoy the birds at the window, listening to their song of praise to you. Thank you for the cool breeze to savor, knowing it will be hot later, but enjoying it now. Thank you for this joy that is welling up within my soul.
As I prepare for my day, I ask that you help me to keep this joy with me. Help me not to get caught up in the things I need to do and forget to bring you praise in each moment. Help me to ready my soul for the day as I ready my face and hair.
I pray that the women I serve during prenatals today can see the joy that you have given me. Help me to use each moment to shine your light into their lives. As we listen to their baby's heartbeat and feel the position of their baby, I pray that you keep me sensitive to their spiritual heartbeat and movements towards you. Use me to reach these women today, allow me to be your hands, your voice.
As I do life with my housemates, I ask that you help me to be a servant, always willing to help where ever needed, without a grumble or mumble on my tongue or in my heart. Help me to see each of them through your eyes, overlooking their faults and seeing through to their inner beauty. I pray that I can be an encouragement to them and that you draw them closer to you today.
Help this house to be filled with your grace and peace. Help me to remember that it begins with me...if I desire others to have grace with me, that I must first show them grace, without expecting it in return.
Thank you for a beautiful day. I love you Jesus.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Marjorie and Family

One part of my job that I absolutely love is when I take a continuity patient. Some of my regular Tuesday prenatals I feel somewhat close to as they come month after month, but it's not the same as when you know YOU are their midwife. Marjorie is one of those patients. Now, I have to admit that I originally took her as a cont because I liked her kids. Not to say that I didn't like her as well; on the contrary, she was really sweet and I liked her too, but it was her kids that I was really drawn to.
She brought her daughter and son with to her first prenatal. When we went to check her baby, I had them come with (many times the kids just wait in the admitting area as we check the baby, though I really like to involve all of the family). As I checked the baby's position s/he started to move, poking a little elbow out as if to say, "Hey! I'm trying to sleep in here...stop poking at me!" I quick had the kids put their little hands on their mamas belly and watched their faces as they felt their little brother or sister move inside. And then when I found the heart beat using the fetoscope I first let Marjorie listen and then gave each of the kids a turn. They were so excited to here his/her heartbeat. :) It was during this time that I decided to take her as a continuity patient.
Marjorie is due at the beginning of July and each time she comes I get more and more excited for her birth. Her daughter (the older of her two kids) would like to be there for the birth and I hope that all goes well so that she is able to see her new little baby come into this world.
This last week both her kids came for her prenatal checkup as well as her husband. I was happy to see them all and decided to take some family pictures. They were really cute and the pictures turned out pretty good. I've included my favorites here, I hope you enjoy them! :)


Monday, June 11, 2012

Equiping a Birth Bag

Birth Bag                                                           

Response Card

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Backwards baby

I have been hoping that I would be able to catch a breech baby while I am here. Georgia is ok with doing breech births here at the clinic as long as it isn't the woman's first baby; and in fact, since I have been here we've done four breech births. I observed for one breech birth back in November and it was beautiful!! And again in March I assisted for a breech birth that didn't go so well. So, I'd seen a great on and a not so great one. Talk about extremes!! 
Last week we had a woman come in for her first prenatal. By her dates she was 34 weeks and 5 days with the baby in a suspected breech position. They sent her for an ultrasound which she brought in two days later confirming that the baby was indeed breech, and with a gestational age of 38 weeks and 4 days. Georgia said because this was her fourth baby that she would be allowed to deliver here at the clinic. I was secretly hoping that I would get to be the one, but because I was about 3rd down on the rotation I had my doubts. Each time the clinic phone would ring I'd pray that it wouldn't be the breech patient, and each time it wasn't. Finally, I was second up, but there was already a labor who was 8cm and I began to change my prayers..."please let my labor be the breech. I really want the experience while I am here, with people more experienced than me to help should the need arise." 
I went to bed that night and slept very well. A little before 7am Chel came and said my labor was here..."and it's the breech." REALLY?!?! I quickly changed into my scrubs and ran downstairs. I noted that she was having good contractions as I checked all her vitals. When I did an IE she was 6cm dilated, intact bag of waters and with the bum indeed presenting. 
She labored very well, laying down for most of her labor. At 10:30 she was getting rather active and was bearing down a little bit with contractions. I did another IE to check her progress, and she was 8cm. Because the bum was well applied, we had get up and exercise a bit, sitting on the birth ball. However, she was having a very difficult time breathing through her contractions, and was bearing down quite a bit. 
Now, let take a moment and explain a bit about breech births. When the baby is coming backwards it is important that the mother not push until she is completely dilated and the baby is born until the umbilicus. This is because the body of the baby is more moldable than the head and could be born before the cervix is completely dilated thus causing the head to become trapped behind the cervix. This is a VERY dangerous situation and should NEVER happen!! 
Now, on with the story...I had her lay down on the bed again to take the pressure of the baby off her cervix, thus allowing her to breath through her contractions. At 11:30 my supervisor had me do another IE. She was still about the same as before with her bag of waters (BOW) REALLY bulging. We discussed breaking her BOW with her to ensure that the cervix didn't begin to close again after SROM (spontaneous rupture of membranes), and she decided yes, this would be ok. So, I broke the BOW and the bum came further down the birth canal. We had her continue to breath for as long as possible. With each contraction I could see the baby's bum just inside and he began to poop. This is quite normal for a breech baby due to the fact that they are really getting squeezed. The other thing we noticed was that his little boy parts were being quite smashed. We all kind of chuckled, but felt sorry for the little guy.
She continued breathing for about 45 minutes at which point the bum was about 4 cm visible so we moved her to the edge of the bed, so that the baby's body would hang as it came out, helping the head to flex for a *hopefully* easy birth. She continued breathing well, with bearing down only at the height of a contraction. As he began to emerge from his mother, I wrapped a towel around and began to support him a little, but still allowing him to hang a bit so as to keep his head flexed while Georgia did supra pubic pressure with the same intention. I slipped my hand under his face (which was facing his mama's back) and helped to guide his head out, after which we placed him on his mama's tummy, rubbed him down and he began to cry almost immediately. We were all ready to resuscitate if needed, and everyone was happy that it wasn't needed. :) 
It was such a BEAUTIFUL breech birth and I felt so honored to have caught a healthy little boy. I know that not all breech births go as smoothly (like I said, I've seen one that was pretty traumatic), and am very thankful that this one went so well. And to top it off, the mama asked me to name her son. I gave her a few suggestions that started with A (she wanted an A name because the baby was born in April), one of which was Alvin, the name of my grandpa. She ended up deciding upon the name Alvin James. He's a super cute little guy with a perfectly round head!! :) He weighed 3.09 kilos (6lbs 8 oz) and had Apgar scores of 9 and 10!!

He looks like he's trying to eat the little duck on his shirt. :)
He looks a bit worried in this picture...but he's still SUPER cute!! :)
Tianne caught a little boy that same day. Oh! We do love our job!! :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What do you do when you catch a lizzard?

I was sitting in my room when I heard the dogs barking. This isn't really strange though, since they bark at EVERYTHING!! But they were barking pretty incessantly, so I thought I should go see if there was a patient here. When I looked out from the balcony I saw that they were barking at some men in the rice field. It was clear that they were hunting something, though I wasn't sure what. As I continued to watch, the man holding a 2x4 quickly whacked at something among the rice. He bent down and lifted up a big old lizard!!  I grabbed my camera from my room, hollered at Tianne to come downstairs and ran out the door. 

They had tied his feet together and laughed when I asked if I could pick it up.

I asked him what he was going to do with it...was he going to cook it? He said they'd make adobo (a Filipino dish) out of it. I asked if I could try a bit when it was finished and he laughed as he said yes. Maybe he didn't think an American would ever want to eat lizard. :)

I few hours later they said it was finished so we went over and picked up a bowl of lizard adobo.
The Filipino girls were horrified that they'd left the skin on the lizard! It was kinda funny. :)

Tianne and I were pretty excited about trying it though!! :)

It tasted kinda like a gamey chicken...but with the texture of greasy pork.

We're not quite sure what this was...any guesses?
Tianne thought she'd give the skin a was pretty chewy!

All in all, trying lizard adobo was a pretty fun experience!! :)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

1000th baby

I'd like to introduce you to Prince Charleson. This handsome little greeted his 9 brothers and sisters on April 11, 2012. While he is pretty special himself, the fact the he was the 1000th catch at Abundant Grace of God adds to it! :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Happy Holi!!

Two years ago around this time I was in India throwing powder color all over my friends. This is how Holi, the festival of colors, is celebrated in India.
There are various legends entwined within this festival. However, the most common is this...

There was once a demon king named Hiranyakashyap who declared that everyone in his kingdom should worship only him. However, his own son, Prahlad was an ardent devotee of Naarayana (Lord Vishnu) and refused to worship his father. Hiranyakashyap became enraged and swore to kill the boy. He made several attempts but each one failed. Finally, he went to his sister to enlist her help. Holika had received a boon and was believed to be indestructible by fire. However, instead of the boy being burned up it was Holika herself who was devoured by the fire. Lord Vishnu protected Prahlad and later destroyed Hiranyakashyap.

Holi is thus a celebration of the victory of good over evil and the triumph of devotion.

Now, you may be wondering where the color has come from...Lord Kirshna was rather flirtatious as a young man. In the spring time He enjoyed throwing color on his beloved Radha and other gopis (a cow-herd girl). This flirtatious play became popular with the people and became associated with the Holi festival.

So, in celebration of's some pictures from the other year!! ENJOY!!

The day before they celebrate with color the women come to the bonfire site and offer puja...worship
The women wrap string around the pier to hold all the evil in when it is burned.
One day this mother will be teaching her child to pray to Jesus

This was Suzy and I when we were leaving our house with clean faces...soon to be covered in color!
This is my friend Joti. She is on my language route and took me to get my nose pierced.
This is Joti's son...handsome young man, isn't he?
Getting colored is rather fun!!

I captured this one as we were going up the hill and they were coming down. He was about to smother my cheeks in color
Even the dogs get in on the fun!!
Sometimes I wonder if the kids have more fun during these festivals...

But then I see men like Kishan, our shoe maker...and think, nope it's an equal enjoyment
Notice the woman with all the color as well?

Just look at that joy on her face!

Oh yeah. And they throw water too, so all the color blends together into a nice black paste that when dry resembles stiff leather