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Sunday, September 24, 2017


I'm sitting at the LA airport waiting the eight hours until I can check my bags. I think I can safely say that one of the hardest parts of being a missionary is saying goodbye. Perhaps second only to the intense loneliness that comes afterwards... and lasts way too long. It just keeps happening and gets worse every time. When you are oceans away from family and friends you feel in 'limbo', like you are hanging between two different countries.

In the past five hours I have walked around, stretched, messaged friends, cried really hard in front of strangers walking past (twice), read my bible, and colored in my journal. God often talks to us only after we have waited on him and I've been waiting for a very long time. Just now, I thought he was telling me something about sunflowers but I couldn't quite make it out so I looked up sunflowers.

When sunflowers are young, they 'follow' the sun. Before it comes up in the morning, they are facing east, waiting for it to rise. As the sun moves across the sky, the flower's stem grows unevenly-faster on the east side-which tilts the flower to the west. At night, the stem grows unevenly as well, faster on the other side, so that by sunrise the flower is facing east again. With this flower's fascination with the sun, it's no wonder it starts to look like one.

So what's the spiritual lesson? If you want to be beautiful, if you want to look like Jesus, don't take your eyes off him. Live facing whatever light you have! In the seasons of life that feel dark, struggle through them rather than giving up. That way when the sun reappears you will already be facing it.

Because I am human, I will cry. I will continue to feel like my heart has been ripped apart and scattered all over the globe. But I will keep my face turned towards the light that I have, the pieces I am allowed to keep, the joys and people God has given me for the season I'm in. One day I will be in a place where there is no more darkness and all my loved ones will be in one place with me. I want to be ready when the time comes and bear the mark of Jesus in the meantime.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Midwifery Proverbs - A Tribute to Ate Susan

"Always believe a mother who says, 'The baby's coming out!'  It is."

"Never feel intimidated or afraid of birth or emergencies. There is a reason people let you deliver babies and it is because you have the training."

"Go and read! You must know what is happening when it happens and what to do. So read and learn."

"Never think you know everything that is going on inside that woman's body because you don't! Only God knows what is really happening. You have to pray."

"A calm, cooperative mother is key in life and death emergencies. You must keep her from panicking and gain her trust."

"We are a team. Even me, I've been a midwife for many years but sometimes there are things my students notice that I don't. We work together to provide the best care for our client."

"If the head can fit then the shoulders can too."

"Input-Output, ok?! You have to watch how much water she drank or had from the IV and how much came out. If you don't, you will end up with a distended bladder and excess bleeding! Input-Output!"

"No matter how new or experienced two midwives are, they can always learn something from each other."

Do you have any midwifery proverbs to share?

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Hey guys! I have a project for school in which I need 10 people to fill out the survey above. I would appreciate it if you would be one of them! Your answers will be anonymous and all views are welcome. Thanks :)

Saturday, April 29, 2017

How to Spot a Midwife by Her...

1. Hand washing: religious

For the full twenty seconds. She may even sing 'Twinkle twinkle little star' to make sure it is twenty seconds. Watered down soap drives her crazy. Lack of cleanliness is the main reason Doctors had 5x the number of maternal deaths than midwives in the 1840s. She knew it before Ignaz Semmelweis.

2. Dinner conversation: all things birth

If there is anyone slightly willing to talk listen to talk about pregnant mommies she will talk about it. She lives and breathes midwifery. In fact, she may even eat it.

placenta cake

3. Texts received: on every subject

Every subject including discharge from every part of the body with detailed descriptions. This is not a text from an actual patient but it is very similar to many actual texts I have received. Minus the shorthand in a language I barely know.

4. Nail polish: none

Chipped nail polish is the perfect place to grow unfriendly bacteria which cause infection in patients.

5. Nails clipped: short

Ditto on the infection. Long nails are also bad for certain other midwife things. If one has to do CPR on a baby fingernails can cut the baby's skin. If a placenta needs to be manually removed long nails can tear up the placenta or even uterine wall muscles. Even taking a pulse or palpating a baby with long nails is simply mean to the mother's poor skin.

6. Sleeping habits: none

'nough said.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Snippets From My Day

5:00am moonlight
My day started last night because I have absolutely no internal clock. This midwife thing has shredded it completely to pieces. I worked on school all night (besides a couple youtube breaks) and snippet one is when I noticed the full moon outside the kitchen window just before going to bed.
One of the perks of being nocturnal
Snippet two shook my world. Literally. I was almost asleep when my room mate on the bunkbed above me started moving an awful lot. Then I remembered that my room mate had gone on a trip into the mountains and wasn't even in the bunk bed. It was an earthquake. I haven't felt one in a while. I looked it up later and it was 5.8 magnitude. Enough to swing the bathroom door a little and make me wonder if I should get dressed in case it got stronger. But it didn't.

So long as earthquakes stay small I think they are kind of cool. It's not like I would ever feel one in West Virginia. 

Snippet three was quite horrifying. I got up with my alarm and got dressed at 9am for my patient's scheduled prenatal. Then I laid down to sleep a little longer until the clinic texted me to say she was there. But I didn't wake up when they texted! I felt so bad. She must have sat there about a half hour before they texted again and I woke up. That's the second time that happened to me this week so when I got back home afterwards I searched all the settings on my phone to make the ring longer and louder and more than once. Hopefully it doesn't happen again.

Snippet four is something that has never happened to me before. I woke up again about 4pm and started making a list of things we needed from the market so I could go before it got dark. One of the girls from the other dorms who happens to be British was in the kitchen. She and my housemate were planning on watching a movie. We were just talking some and she walked over and gave me a hug out of the blue. Then she pulled my ear and said, "You're a good egg." I've never been called a good egg before. I guess maybe because I've never had British friends before.

Snippet five is actually something that happens quite often but has never lost it's entertainment. The jumping, screaming, squealing dance girls do when they see a cockroach. Yes, we have a lot of cockroaches. And we have a lot of girls. I was putting things away from the market run when the squeals first erupted from our visitor in the bathroom. Despite being a 'good egg,' I couldn't help laughing and laughing at the thought of the poor girl stuck on the toilet with the cockroach flying around. She didn't take her endearment back so I assume she forgave me for laughing.

I have started a photo album of cockroaches. My friends think I'm crazy but
I think they need to be documented as part of the Philippines experience.

The last snippet is right now. I'm eating peanuts and blogging on night shift. No labors yet and the postpartum patients are sleeping. Going to get back to school work as soon as I'm done writing this post. Like my outfit?

These scrubs are not the most comfortable or best fitting but they do have the MMC logo on them which is kind of cool. The lip shimmer is from my sis from so long ago she probably doesn't even remember and can I just say, I love pink camo!   :)

Monday, January 9, 2017

Begging Along With My Friend

One day a week or two before Christmas I was walking over to my favorite coffee shop to try to get some studying done. Victoria Mall was quite busy with lots of people trying to sell things along the road to the Christmas shoppers or walking around on the sidewalks. Little kids love to carol and beg around Christmas time and there is no shame in it for them even if their family is not poor. They just want the extra coins to spend on kid things. I have been swarmed several times by a bunch of little boys singing and holding out their hands and nodding their heads to encourage me to get out my purse.

It's also a good time of year for the Badjao many of whom don't have a job besides begging. The Badjao tribe are the 'sea gypsies' who now have stilt houses over the ocean. They have a different language than other Philippinos, and their voices are a rich, deep, sometimes gruff sound. It's a little surprising sometimes to hear a young girl say something and sound like a grown man but it is beautiful in it's own way. They also have lovely characteristic bright colored clothing. I once bought a pair of pants from a Badjao seamstress, though I've never worn them out. A little too bright for me.

Anyway, back to my story, this day before Christmas I was walking up the overpass over the road and saw a couple Badjao mothers with their children begging. They were sitting on cardboard holding out their tin and paper cups saying "Merry Christmas!" and nodding for people to put in some money. I wondered where 'my' Badjao was.

I thought of her this way because I had been the one to help when her baby was born a couple months before. Her name was Tina and, if I remember right, she and her mother(who was also at the birth) were Christians. I love Badjao births because they are usually so fast. There are exceptions but for the most part, Badjao don't even look like they are in labor until suddenly you see a baby coming out! They are so strong. I also loved this birth because, surprisingly, Tina and her mother spoke Visayan and were quite friendly talking to me. When it came time to put a name on the birth certificate, Tina said, "Amy" and I was so proud and honored. My first namesake!
Baby Amy and I
Of course, since the Badjao don't have calendars, she had never come back for her checkups after the birth. I hadn't seen her again although I did give her pictures of us and the baby through a friend of a friend. I remembered that she lived quite a ways away and worked cooking for a feeding program for some other missionaries. I figured I wouldn't see her again. I was a little sad as I crossed the walkway past the other Badjao.

Then I heard, "Hi Amy!" and there she was. She was sitting just around the corner on the steps going down with a huge smile on her face and a happy baby in her arms. Boy, did I get funny looks when I sat down next to her! Apparently white people don't usually beg, let alone sit with a Badjao!

We had a lovely chat, anyway as much as I could understand. I went down to the 7-eleven and got a bag of chips and we ate together and I held her baby. She didn't try to beg from me, just grinned and reminded me the baby was named Amy. Her friend came over and politely asked if I was working at Mercy. I said yes and she pointed out which of her kids was born there. The friend was quite pregnant and informed me she was planning on getting an ultrasound soon at Mercy. Then she excused herself and said she had to get back to begging and hoped I had a Merry Christmas.

I have seen people begging, Badjao and not, who will stop at nothing. They hit their babies to make them cry and look dirty and pretend to be super hungry in order to get more money. Tina and her friend, though, had some kind of class about them. They had huge smiles. I know they needed money just as much as the next family because when Tina gave birth she didn't have another dress to change into. Maybe they have class because they are Christian. Maybe they just respected the people at Mercy because we have always respected them. I hope I didn't mess up her business by being a white person sitting beside her. Needless to say, no one gave her any money while I was sitting there although she did try to beg some. At any rate, I am thankful for that day when I saw her and baby Amy again. After all, not everyone can say they are friends with a beautiful beggar and her chubby namesake baby.