Monday, June 28, 2010

Not a Fan of Lechon

I've been working on the night shift this past week, but it's been fairly quite recently. We've had vitals for several postpartum moms, but not any births. It's only been a week, and I already miss seeing a birth! Hopefully we'll start welcoming in some more nighttime babies this week :)

I didn't get to go the dumpsite this week because I got some sort of stomach bug last Wednesday. All's well now, but I guess it happens when you're in a new place sometimes. Molly got to go though and had a great time. She said the kids remembered her and were asking where Melissa was too! How touching, I can't wait to go back and see the precious kiddo's this week.

On another note, we had some bonding time with the girls from the clinic this week. One of them, Marielyn, just got engaged, so Molly and I treated them to a yummy Filipino dinner complete with delicious lumpias and an interesting dessert called halo halo (not so good). We also went to karaoke, so it was a fun evening and just nice to make some new friends with the girls.

Also, I booked my plane ticket home from Phoenix to El Paso, so I'm excited about getting to fly home instead of drive :) And hopefully my mom will have my welcome home party put together too :) hehe. But I'm definitely not ready to go home yet! I feel like there's still so much more to do and more that I want to be a part of before I leave, but the time is just flying by! We only have 4 weeks left here, but I just pray that God continues to work through me and teach me in those next 4 weeks. Well, for the rest of my life too! ;-) Anyways, just thought I'd give you all a mini update, and I pray that you all are doing well. I miss you guys!

Love,
Melissa

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Babies Galore

The clinic went from a baby drought to a full on flood. It's been super exciting! Yesterday alone we had 3 labors and a total of 8 moms at the clinic overnight. It's been such a blast welcoming the precious newborns into the world, and not only welcoming but being the first hands to bring them in! Each tiny, little finger and every curious, blinking eye just reminds me of God's awesomeness. It's really fantastic, and I'm excited to pursue the career of a clinic nurse midwife. This is the type of job that never dulls or loses it's splendor. Of course, there are the hard parts. We recently had another little baby that was transported due to the lack of variability in heart tones. Turns out, the baby was born with a condition known as gastroschisis. It's a birth defect where the baby is born with its intestines on the outside. The baby had a 2-part surgery to try to put her intestines back inside, but unfortunately she passed away after the first one. Please keep the young family in your prayers. The mom was 18 and the dad 19. It's hard to see this side of birth too, and even harder to continually realize how God has a perfect plan for it all.


It's hard to believe we've only been here for three weeks. Time is just flying by, and Molly and I are definitely not ready to leave anytime soon! I just switched to night shift this week, so that has been a new adventure. Typically, a lot of births come in the night, but lately, we've been having them at any given time of the day. I have now officially "caught" a baby :) ...actually two! Probably one of the most amazing feelings in the world, but I think you already caught my drift from earlier hehe. It's fun to have an active part in the delivery process, but I'm still learning a whole lot so it's nice to sit back and learn from the more experienced nurses/midwives too. I fear that I'm going to be really bored next semester in my mommy-baby rotation for clinicals because there's no way it'll compare to this.

Well that's about it for now, I'll continue to keep you all updated. Thanks again for taking the time to follow me through this trip and to keep me in your prayers! I appreciate it so much and I always love to hear from everyone back home.

Love,
Melissa

Friday, June 18, 2010

3

The past couple of days have held quite a bit of adventure. On Wednesday we went on 4 home visits to see patients that had delivered at the clinic. We went with the clinic's social worker May May, who's great :) A little bit about the social work program, May May meets with the people who are too poor to even afford the smalls costs at the clinic; she interviews them to determine how much they really can afford and then they are placed in the social work program which includes counseling with pastors at the clinic as well. Then she follows up with them by doing home visits after they've delivered, which is what we got to do on Wednesday. It was crazy how hospitable the people were when we'd come into their "house," which really just looked like a really cool clubhouse. But they'd insist we sit down on their mat and seemed thrilled to have visitors. Molly and I took turns holding their babies who weren't very little anymore (one of the 2 month olds felt more like a 1-year old haha). Anyways, all of the moms would just rave about how great their experience was at the clinic, how fortunate they were, and gave lots of 10 out of 10's. It was great to see the smile on their face and know that we are getting to be part of this miracle for many people who couldn't otherwise afford it.

Then yesterday, Thursday, there were 3 births at the clinic! And one last night. But we pretty much missed all of them! haha. I was at the clinic for the first one, but the baby came flying out. I walked by one minute, and they were just hooking her up to the CTG machine. I go put my ipod on for one song, and one of the nurses comes in and says, "baby out." haha. It was the first baby boy that I've gotten to see. But it was still a great experience because I got to start an IV :) (my first real one! and I got it on the first try). I also got to deliver the placenta on my own which was very interesting! It looks really weird, but it's absolutely amazing how this thing grows inside of the mommy and keeps the baby alive! God is a genius! Well, of course we all knew that :) but the miracle of birth is just so fantastic! This is why I've always loved this field because the human body is so fascinating, and all the intricacies of it just point back to the wonderful Creator of it all.

We missed the later births, but instead we had the great opportunity to go with Father Heinz to the dump site. What an eye opener! It is exactly what it sounds like. All of the trash in Cebu City comes to this dump site, and it is the home to thousands upon thousands of people. It's literally just mounds of trash all over. It was hard to internalize it because when we had trash, Father Heinz was like just throw it on the ground, but really, that's where it all ends up anyways even if you had a trash can. Both Molly and I handed out cookies to the 200+ kids that came to line up. Then there was a line for people wanting medical treatment. I helped Father Heinz with that part by taking temperatures, blood pressures and listening to people's lungs. Father Heinz is part of a German doctor's program, so he has a HUGE medicine supply and gives it out to the people here who could never afford treatment. Some of the people come and there's nothing wrong with them, so he gives out a lot of Vitamin C too ;) Many of the kids have these huge sores that develop from the lack of hygiene. It's crazy because it's something you definitely don't see in America because it's so treatable with just a little soap and water every now and then. But at the dump site it's not. Father Heinz told us a story about how he held a mass at the dump site recently, and he asked the children to pray. One of the little boys started his prayer with, "Dear God, thank you for the trash..." It's their livelihood and their only means of survival to the point where little children are thankful for their trash. Wow, if that doesn't say something to you then I don't know what does. I think of all the times I've been worried about money, upset that I didn't have enough money for something, or just outright ungrateful. Visiting the dump was definitely a humbling experience for me and just gave me more perspective on life in general. These situations are hard because you show up, give out cookies and medicine, talk, and play with the kids, but you still feel like it's so insignificant compared to the situation. But I'm just thankful for the little part that God has brought me to do. Sure, I may not be giving all these people a new life, but I'm sharing God's love with them just a little at a time and His love is definitely something extraordinary.

New photos up as well. For those of you who don't have a Facebook, here's a link to the photo album http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2065740&id=1347150104&l=388e9f01da

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Vaccines and Outreach

So it's been fairly quite around the clinic as of late, which just means that we should be seeing quite a few babies entering the world any day now! There are quite a few mom's on the verge of popping, so hopefully I'll get to see another birth soon :)

On Friday, Molly and I attended the church's youth group. The youth group is supposedly for ages 15-25, but we were a little weary when the message was about getting good grades to honor your parents...haha. But we decided to stick with it a little more and did an outreach with them on Monday, and we met a lot of people and discovered that they are our age which was exciting :) We visited the children's wing of one of the public hospitals and sang, talked, gave gifts and food, and prayed with the families that were there. It was a sad situation in many of the cases because the people don't always get better when they are at the public hospital. We also visited kids in the malnutrition ward which was heartbreaking :( I saw a little baby that was supposed to be 1 year old; but she was just skin and bones and the size of maybe a 3 month old, and she had what looked like a cataract in one eye. It was a very sad situation after typically seeing happy and healthy babies. But it was exciting to see a little hope when we brought them food and gifts and sang "Jesus Loves Me." Hopefully we were able to share a little bit of God's love with them and brighten their day.

At the clinic, I've been working with the Red Team, which has been a blast :) The girls are really fun, and it's been awesome getting to know them and becoming friends. They've also been teaching me some Cebuano, so I'm working on that :) I also learned how to do gram stains, which is .... interesting. haha. I've also been doing a lot of shots but doing baby vaccines isn't very fun :( I don't like making the babies cry, but at least it's keeping them healthy in the long run. But once again, we're hoping to see some more action coming up soon :)

As far a prayer requests, just pray for energy :) We're trying to stay involved with lots of different things - the clinic, youth group, visiting patients, and working with Father Heinz. We're going to the dump site this Thursday with Pastor Heinz, so that should be quite an experience.

Love you guys!!

Melissa

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Video from Birth

If you go to this link you can see a video that features the clinic and Father Heinz in Cebu. It also has a couple of clips from Molly and I's first baby :)

http://dekeyserandfriends.org/world/mediaproject2010


Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Red Light

A lot has been going on here in Cebu. Firstly, thank you for your prayers; baby Kyle went to meet the Lord on Saturday night despite the intensive care he was receiving. They found that he had congenital abnormalities that were just too much for his little heart to overcome. Once again, please continue to keep the young mom in your prayers as she grieves. Also, due to the emergency c-section and NICU monitoring, the hospital bill came out to 130,000 pesos, which is a little more than $2700. Needless to say, this amount is not exactly covered in the budget, so if God puts it on your heart to give this month to Glory Reborn, it would be much appreciated!

As far as clinic work, I started with the Red Team this week. Red team consists of gram staining (Pap smears, vaccines, and lots of education). However, I've mainly been doing pre-natals and initial interviews because we've had free labs the past two days. Tomorrow I work the night shift with Red Team, and then Saturday morning is the family planning workshop. So i've been doing a lot of prenatal check ups, which consists of fundal height, fetal heart tones, BP, and baby position. I'm getting better at feel what position the baby is and also finding the cervix! (which we learned can be a little difficult). We also had another delivery on Monday morning. Another girl! :) Her delivery was sooo quick! She was 9cm and then all of a sudden here comes baby before they could even rupture the water bag. She's a precious little baby who has a very calm temperament. I got to hold her for quite awhile today while her mom got a ligation. She seemed to enjoy the Taylor Swift songs as I rocked her :)

Tonight we went to the red light district here in Cebu City, and boy, what an experience! We went with a man named Father Hines who has been serving this city for 29 years! Praise God for his perseverance in reaching out to the people of Cebu. He's part of many different aspects of outreach including helping people the live at the dumpsite, aid for the homeless elderly, and the red light ministry. The red light district is a breeding ground for sex trafficking. There are very, very young women who are being sold as prostitutes, and they hardly have a clue of the consequences. Not only that, but the red light district is also "home" to many orphans. Their moms just abandon them and they grow up there. We went and passed out stickers for the children and biscuits & condoms for the prostitutes. The kids loved talking to us and following us the whole way through, mostly begging for more stickers and asking our names. They all love Father Hines; he goes there EVERY day to give out things, including medicine. I found out that it took a long time and a lot of work for him to even be able to visit. Some of the women we talked with were pregnant or had babies, so Hilary would encourage them to come to the clinic for their care. I can't even imagine someone trying to deliver a baby there in those conditions. There are so many things to pray for in this area, but really, they need God the most; He's their only hope of a Redeemer. There's too much for one man or a hundred men to take on, only God can bring restoration to this part of the city. Please continue to keep Cebu in your prayers and pray that many of the women take the opportunity to come to the clinic to receive proper care for them and their babies.

Love,
Melissa

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Prayer Request

One of the mom's had to be transported to the hospital yesterday because the baby was having decelerations. She had to have a c-section, but the baby has a pneumothorax, basically a collapsed lung, and he's not doing too well. We saw him today at the NICU, but the situation doesn't look good. Please keep the mom and the precious baby in your prayers. His name is Kyle.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Another eventful day in Cebu

Yesterday started out with Molly and I visiting a nearby neighborhood to handout flyers promoting the clinic. On the way, we stopped out my new favorite bakery. They have delicious bread, and I LOVE bread! :) Even better than that, the bread costs like 2.00 or 5.00 pesos, which is only about 4 to 10 cents. It's wonderful. Walking through the neighborhood we saw A LOT of poverty, but the people we're very kind and most of them just stared at Molly and I. The kids were very friendly with us too :)

Later that day, we got to see our first birth! It was amazing! First off, I gotta say, the Filipino women handle the pain extremely well, I don't know if I'll see that so much in America. Hilary said part of the reason is they don't know any other way; meaning, they haven't heard of an epidural. Anyways, the baby came out with the umbilical chord wrapped around her neck twice, so they quickly untangled her and placed her on her mommy's belly where another nurse and I got to pat her dry. Then I got to clamp the chord and cut it :) After that, they handed me the baby, and another nurse walked me through the assessment and initial check up. Listening to the precious baby's heartbeat for the first time outside her mommy's tummy was unreal. I'm just in awe of God's handiwork and all of the intricacies that goes into the human body and human life in general. The little baby girl was very blue at first so I hooked her up to oxygen and she pinkened up quickly. The Filipino babies are beautiful! They come out with soft hair and great color! I had to give the baby her first shot, which she didn't like too much but after that I got to swaddle and hold her until they were done fixing up her mommy. Molly, was on the other side of the delivery with the mom, where she got to deliver the placenta and suture the mom up! How cool! So next time we're going to switch it up :) We got lots of pictures with the baby and the mom. She wants to add us on Facebook! haha. I'll post some on Facebook because I've had difficult getting the pictures on here. There was another mom in labor so we stayed at the clinic and waited for the next one. But the labor was going very slow (it's her first baby). So after putting in 13 hours, we called it a day and headed home.

So for the most part it was an exciting day with the new life entering the world. But on a sadder note, one of the mom's came in, and they couldn't find a heartbeat :( After an ultrasound, they confirmed that the baby had died. Please keep this young mommy in your prayers that God would comfort her and draw her near to Him.

Love,
Melissa

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

First Day at Clinic

Today, Molly and I got to go down to the clinic for the morning. They had worship for the moms, and we were able to follow along since they were familiar songs in English. Then Molly and I partnered up with a nurse/midwife and followed them during the prenatal check ups. We got to do all the assessment things like listening to the baby's heart beat, feeling the baby's position, measure the fundal height, checking for edema, and we even got to do an IE (if you don't know what that is, you probably don't want to! haha). I got to practice a little of the Cebuano I've been learning, that's the native language here. Most of them know English, but they are more comfortable speaking Cebuano. So far I've mastered "I am Melissa," "Thank you," "Can I listen to your baby's heartbeat?" and a couple others. Some of the words are the same in Spanish but some are very different... also "puerta" does not mean door. One of the ladies that came in was 39 weeks so I got to see how dilated she was and I could feel the baby's head! What a great experience :) We also hooked her up to the CTG machine, which measures the baby's heartbeat, movement and contraction strength. It's used to determine whether the mom is in active labor or not. She wasn't quite there, but I got to learn how the machine worked. At the end of her check-up, the nurse I was following asked her a few questions and it turned out that she was going through a lot so we had the opportunity to pray with her and tell her more about God's love for her. It was really great and you could just see the big smile on her face at the end.

After the morning at the clinic, we went to lunch with David and Hilary at a huge mall. I finally was able to get some Filipino money. And boy does my bank account look better in pesos! At first I was trying to withdraw money in dollars, and when it wouldn't let me Hilary explained that it had to be in pesos, my bad :) We've been having such a great time so far. I even got myself some yummy, sugary cereal at the store. Although the food has been delicious so far! Well that's it for today. We're having company over for dinner tonight so that should be fun, bye! :)

Love,
Melissa

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

We are here, we are here, we are here!

We arrived in Cebu this morning at around 11:30, June 1st. We didn't have any troubles with customs and David and Hilary were right there to pick us up. We came back to their house and then headed down to the clinic to see the place. We also got to meet some of the other nurses and midwives that work there, and we were able to join in on their Bible study that Molly and I will start doing each day. So far it's been very... HOT. The power was out when we first got here so it's been very warm and sticky, but now it's back on :) Molly and I are going to be picking out our schedules for the next couple of weeks and then we'll be down at the clinic tomorrow morning to start seeing some prenatal check ups :) Oh ya! We already got to see one precious little baby boy that was delivered last night. Can't wait to see more! Here's where Molly and I are staying. I'll post more pictures from our trip too!

video

Love,
Melissa