We Help Babies Breath

2 06 2015

At Abundant Grace of God we take our job very seriously.

Every day we are faced with the job of keeping moms and babies safe throughout one of the most vulnerable times of both of their lives.

This May we had a visiting midwife (Sora Colvin) come to Tabuk and re-certify all the midwives and nurses in neonatal resuscitation. Most babies don’t need to be resuscitated at birth, but for the few that do, staying calm and knowing what to do saves lives.

Marivic and Jona practice what they are learning.

Marivic and Jona practice what they are learning.

Alex and Edolbina practice a scenario.

Alex and Edolbina practice a scenario.

Claire and May-Anne

Claire and May-Anne

In fact, just a few weeks after our training, we had a baby deliver at our clinic who needed extensive resuscitation after delivery. The midwives stayed calm and gave the baby the support that he needed. The midwives got him breathing on his own and after a short stay at Almora General Hospital under the care of our referring paediatrician this little baby is doing great. If this mother had decided to deliver at home on her own, or without adequately trained midwives, his story would have been very different.

We were also updated on emergency breech delivery and shoulder dystocia management.

B-lyn, Melody and Marivic practice resolving shoulder dystocia.

B-lyn, Melody and Marivic practice resolving shoulder dystocia.

Thank you for supporting the work that we do here in making sure that every mother and every baby has the best care possible.





I delivered at Abundant Grace of God because…

4 04 2015

I wanted to share some stories from our patients about why they are choosing to deliver at our clinic.

Anna*

“I was so glad that I delivered here at Abundant Grace of God [Bugnay site] because I felt safe and taken care of well by the staff. Especially that I had a hemorrhage when I gave birth before at [another location], I didn’t feel safe there because when I hemorrhaged it took them so long before they stopped the bleeding.”

Some of the mothers from the village of Buscalan share about their experiences at AGGMC.

Some of the mothers from the village of Buscalan share about their experiences at AGGMC.

One of the mothers from Buscalan (neighbouring villages) that delivered at our Bugnay site.

One of the mothers from Buscalan (neighbouring village) that delivered at our Bugnay site.

Mary*

“I chose [to deliver] here in Abundant Grace of God because the clinic is well ventilated, has very clean rooms and bathrooms and the employees are very kind to their patients, they treat them all equally. Also it is Philhealth accredited.”

*Mary shares at our Labor and Delivery seminar about her experience during the delivery of her first baby at AGGMC.

(*not real names)

We are so glad that the women of Kalinga are choosing to deliver at our clinic and that we have the opportunity to share God’s love with them in a practical way.

Labor and delivery is the time in a woman’s life where she can be the most vulnerable. Too often in the developing world the workers at local health facilities and hospitals use this time as an opportunity to shame the women and make them feel guilty.

The following is a quote from a fellow missionary working at a Birthing Home in Manila. She had the chance to talk with a senior medical student in regards to attitudes surrounding labouring women in the Philippines.

“What I learned was that birth is often seen as an opportunity to shame and frighten the woman giving birth: not because the exhausted, overworked health provider is mean or malicious, but because it is the time when a woman is at her most dependent and vulnerable, that one can instill such hatred for the process that she will not want to bear any more children. It is a time to make the mother feel badly for poor compliance of prenatal check-ups or for being seen as an eyesore to a society desperately trying to pull out of the “developing world” category.”

In contrast, we at AGGMC want women to feel empowered, loved, cared for and protected  during their deliveries.

Our vision is to “Share the Love of God with the families of Kalinga” and we sincerely pray that every woman that enters our facility will feel that they are loved, not only by us but also by their Heavenly Father.





What about some numbers …

9 01 2015

I thought it may interest everyone to hear some numbers from Abundant Grace of God.

One of the best things about being supported by a German organization (Geshenke der Hoffnung eV:  www.geschenke-der-hoffnung.org) is that they have forced me to keep track of the things we are doing so that we are able to calculate our effectiveness and impact. Let me tell you that statistics are not something that I enjoy, but since doing this I have been excited to see the numbers of people we have been reaching with God’s love.

2014 Statistics!

588  ~ women were enrolled in prenatal care.

3287  ~ prenatal visits were done.

Midwife B-Lyn during prenatal check-up.

Midwife B-Lyn during prenatal check-up

1360  ~ postpartum visits were done.

286  ~ women delivered at AGGMC.

Bugnay clinic patients at Christmas party.

Bugnay clinic patients at Christmas party.

236  ~ women attended a prenatal seminar with devotions.

5030  ~ is number of times that we prayed for patients at AGGMC.

Well-Baby graduates.

Well-Baby graduates.

50   ~  mothers were trained in an 8-session program of basic childcare.(Well-Baby Program)

40   ~ outreaches were done in villages surrounding our clinics in Tabuk and Bugnay.

Outreach into Lacnog.

Outreach into Lacnog.

31  ~ Filipino student midwives received short-term training at our clinic.

8  ~  of the AGGMC staff had babies this year 🙂

Claire (L) our nurse and Kate (R) our Social Worker.

Claire (L) our nurse and Kate (R) our Social Worker.

6    ~ missionary midwives received training.

10408144_1008529862497646_7957316696294005905_n

3  ~  new Registered Filipino Midwives were trained and hired at AGGMC.

Karen and Gail doing hands-on practice.

9%  ~  of women were transferred to hospital during labor.

32%   ~ of women who delivered with us were first-time moms.

40%  ~ of women who delivered with us had previously delivered at home unattended.

IMG_1025

0   ~ Maternal deaths

0   ~ Newborn deaths

100%   ~ of women surveyed said that they experienced God’s love at AGGMC.

 

Thank you for your continued support to make 2015 an even better year than last!

 

 

 

 





Celebrate Christmas With Abundant Grace of God

14 11 2014

Hi everyone!

I came up with a great idea this Christmas.

Maybe it’s because I have a hard time thinking of good ideas for Christmas presents, but whatever the reason let me share my idea.

When I think of Christmas I often think of Baby Jesus and how his mother delivered him unassisted in a barn because there was no room for them anywhere and no one willing to help them.

Baby-in-a-Manger

How about this Christmas, sponsoring the delivery of a mother and baby much like them?  (Minus the baby being the Son of God of course!)

There are so many mothers here in Kalinga that still deliver their babies at home without someone to help them and in conditions very much like a barn. We at Abundant offer these mothers a safe and comfortable place to deliver, with well-trained midwives who love and take care of them in their hour(s) of need. We don’t require that these mothers pay anything and if they can pay something it is a very small amount.

The cost for one mother to receive complete prenatal care, labor and delivery care, and postpartum visits until six week postpartum is almost exactly $200.00.

IMG_0794

How about sponsoring a delivery this Christmas in the name of that person on your list who has everything?

For a donation between $50 and $200 the person whose name you choose as a “sponsor” will receive a card in the mail with a set of footprints and a brief story about the baby who was sponsored in their name.

You can even do it in your own name and receive the card!

If this sounds like a good idea to you, please click on the “Sponsor A Delivery” tab above and get all the details.

Have a blessed Christmas Season everyone.

 





“Spinning Babies”

5 11 2014

Last week we at AGGMC had a once in a lifetime training opportunity in resolving shoulder dystocia.

Gail Tulley, the founder of Spinning Babies, (www.spinningbabies.com) is a gifted teacher who has come up with a teaching tool that enables midwives to deal effectively with babies that can get “stuck” on the way out ~ and she taught us!

Karen and Gail doing hands-on practice.

We met Gail because we had one of her designs painted on our prenatal wall and we emailed  her a picture of it. She was delighted with what we are doing here in the Philippines and sent us her “Spinning Babies” training DVD for free!

The Fetal Compass Rose

The Fetal Compass Rose 

 

All the staff from our Tabuk and Bugnay clinics got together and watched the DVD. There was some crazy footage of stuck babies being freed …

This is what a midwife looks like when she sees a baby get stuck!

This is what midwives look like when they see a baby get stuck!

 

The next day we Skyped with Gail herself and she answered all of our questions and gave us some more tips and advice. Gail is a warm, generous and gifted teacher and we are so thankful for her taking time out of her busy schedule to meet with us … Oh, and I go the time change wrong and woke her up at 7am instead of 8am … she is very forgiving too!

Thank you Gail!

 

 





The World Needs More Midwives … Now!

14 08 2014

 

“Midwives are the unsung heroes of maternal and newborn health. They can prevent about two thirds of deaths among women and newborns. And midwives deliver much more than babies: They are the connective tissue for communities, helping women and girls care for their health, from family planning all the way through the postpartum period.” ~UNFPA State of the World’s Midwifery 2014

I don’t think that I could say it any better than that!

“Midwives need hands-on training to enable them to acquire and maintain competencies to provide high quality care to women and newborns.”~World Health Organization

Staff Midwives being trained in Neonatal Resuscitation.

AGGMC Staff Midwives being trained in Neonatal Resuscitation.

“Countries need to improve distribution and retention of midwives, especially in poor and remote areas.”~World Health Organization

The Bugnay Staff Midwives doing regular prenatal check-ups for the women living in the remote mountains of Tinglayan.

The Bugnay Staff Midwives doing regular prenatal check-ups for the women living in the remote mountains of Tinglayan.

“Many trained midwives work abroad for better salaries and more favourable working conditions. This creates a dearth of skilled staff in countries that need them most.”~World Health Organization

Training student midwives on prenatal care.

Training local student midwives on basic prenatal care. Many of the students we help to train, we eventually hire as staff midwives at AGGMC.

“[Midwives] check the health of the newborn and also counsel the mother on newborn care, birth spacing and family planning.”~World Health Organization

Our monthly Well-Baby seminars in which we train mothers on the keys to keeping their babies and themselves healthy.

Our monthly Well-Baby seminars in which we train mothers how to keep their babies and themselves healthy.

 

It is my hope that at AGGMC we are making an eternal investment into the lives of our midwives and in turn, the mothers and babies of Kalinga.

 

(UNFPA quote taken from unfpa.org)

(WHO quotes taken from http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/midwifery/en/)





“Birth House for Sale”

1 08 2014
Abundant Grace of God, Bugnay

Abundant Grace of God, Bugnay

I just got back from a quick trip to the mountains to check up on our sister clinic “Lajad Apodios Lying-In” – that is the Butbut translation for Abundant Grace of God …sort of 🙂

I had the chance to introduce Suzie Campana, our new missionary midwife and Bugnay clinic Facilitator, to the staff and mothers of Bugnay.

Suzie and the midwives hiking into the Village of Bugnay

Suzie and the midwives hiking into the Village of Bugnay

We hiked into the village and shared at the Well-Baby seminar which we host monthly for the mothers of Bugnay. This month’s topic was all about Tuberculosis; the signs and symptoms as well as transmission and treatment. Tuberculosis is a disease that still has a huge effect on the families of Bugnay and surrounding villages.

Me and my shadow sharing at the Well-Baby seminar.

Me and my shadow sharing at the Well-Baby seminar.

The Bugnay clinic has been open for over two years now and we have been working out of an old home which we renovated into a clinic. The house is in a perfect spot as it is central to all five Butbut villages and is right next to the main road.

We only had a two-year lease on the house, so since we opened we had been looking all over and around Bugnay for somewhere we could build another clinic or renovate another house. Nothing was available or else it was way too much money.

Then, a few months ago, the landlord of the current clinic building told us that he wanted to sell it.

The price is reasonable (much less than it would cost to start from scratch) and the location is perfect.

The cost of the clinic building and lot is $12,000USD.  This August we need to give the first instalment of $6000. The next instalment is due in one year.

We already have $2500 towards the first payment. We just need another $3500 by the middle of August.

Would any of you like to be a part of keeping this very important clinic up and running? If so, I want to invite you to donate towards the “Bugnay Clinic Fund”.

IMG_1688

Donating is very easy and 100% of what you give will go directly to the project.

Just click on this link: http://www.msccanada.org/Donate/PayPal-donations.html

and when you get to the MSC site, click on the “Give” menu on the homepage.

Then choose my name from the scroll down menu on the “Mission Workers” menu.

Ok, it may be a little confusing if you are my dad … but I think most of you will be able to follow it 😉

If giving financially is not something you can do right now, please pray with us and stay tuned for the miracles that God does in the next few weeks!

 





What’s your excuse?

5 06 2014

Yes, it is true that I have been a bad blogger lately! My excuses are all of the following events that happened in the last few months…

Okay, first off we delivered identical twin girls at our clinic in the middle of March! This was the mother’s tenth pregnancy. In a regular prenatal check-up her midwife noticed that she was measuring large for dates. She was sent for an ultrasound … she came back with a BIG smile on her face and told us that she was pregnant with twins!  About a month later she came back to the clinic in labor. No chance to decide whether or not to take her to the hospital – these girls were on their way! It was a beautiful birth attended by about a dozen excited midwives.

The twins mother is sitting next to Jackie who is holding the babies! A very excited staff and babies' family members all around.

The twins mother is sitting next to Jackie who is holding the babies! A very excited staff and babies’ family members all around.

 

Irish and Aiza

Aiza and Irish – 2.5kg and 2.6kg

 

 

Next, I got to “catch” my first ever white baby! One of my  missionary-midwives-in training took the whole practical learning experience to another level! Edolbina, and her husband Andrew welcomed their first child Ariel Cornelius on April 29 at 3:12 am.  It was an honour to be a part of Ari’s birth. My boys are a little smitten with this guy as are we all!

Ariel Cornelius

Ariel Cornelius with Lucas and Emmaus admiring him.

I have also been making numerous trips up to our sister clinic in Bugnay over these last few months. My wonderful staff are currently awaiting a new clinical supervisor and so I have been trying to help them out and encourage them as much as possible.

The Bugnay Clinic Staff and their daughters!

The Bugnay Clinic Staff and their daughters!

In May my friend and fellow midwife, Jen Sawchenko and her daughter Ella, along with Filipino midwife Marielyn Basak, visited from Cebu City and accompanied me to Bugnay. They taught at a seminar for the mothers and staff regarding best breastfeeding practices.

Marlene and Jen outside the clinic.

Mar and Jen outside the clinic.

Jen shares at the Bugnay clinic - Ella helps her!

Jen shares at the Bugnay clinic – Ella helps her!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Along with all these happenings we still continue to do almost 100 prenatal check-ups and postpartum visits a week and reach out into 3 villages in the community and deliver over 20 babies per month.

Me and Lukay before she heads home to her village.

Me and Lukay before she heads home to her village.

Thank you everyone for your support that makes us able to do all of this!

There are many more stories to tell, but it will have to wait for next time. I have a good one coming … Stay tuned!





Life and Death in the Mountains of Kalinga

23 02 2014

Did that title get your attention?

I hope so!

The truth is that our sister clinic in the village of Bugnay is the difference between life and death for many in the remote mountains of Tinglayan, Kalinga.

Have you heard the story about the baby that suddenly stopped breathing?

J640x480-27867

 

The parents noticed she was having difficulty breathing and by the time they brought her to the clinic she had stopped completely. The parents were about to turn around and take her home to bury her when midwife B-lyn grabbed the baby and started to resuscitate her. That baby is running around the village of Bugnay today.

 

 

 

How about the story of the woman who began hemorrhaging seconds after her baby was born?

Sinchong

 

 

If she had been at home without midwives attending her, like she had been for all of her other babies, she would have died. For this delivery she decided to come to the clinic and have trained midwives attend to her. They were able to stop the bleeding immediately. You can meet her in the village of Bugnay as she takes care of her five young children.

 

Did you hear about the girl who found herself pregnant and married before her sixteenth birthday?

IMG_1346

 

She was scared and confused when in her eighth month of pregnancy she began having terrible headaches and dizziness. Her mother and aunties told her it was because she was lazy that her legs and face had swollen up; if she would only exercise more, she would feel better. This girl came for a check up at the clinic instead and was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia. She was referred to the closest hospital two hours away and delivered her baby via C-section. Both of their lives were saved.

 

109_0954

 

 

Our midwives in the clinic in Bugnay are literally the difference between life and death for those living in the mountains of Upper Tinglayan.

Yet it is one of the most difficult parts of our ministry to keep going. We are challenged to keep the clinic appropriately staffed because it is such a remote area and it is a sacrifice for midwives to work so far from their families.

We are in the midst of such a struggle right now as we are down to one staff midwife and one volunteer. Neither of them trained to do deliveries without supervision.

 

These are the three things we see that need to happen:

1)  Missionary midwife Suzie Campana is willing and able to come and help at the Bugnay clinic but is still needing financial support to get here. We need her to receive all the necessary support to come immediately and help with the work in Bugnay.     (http://philippines.eaglemissions.org/suzie-campana/)

2) We need more experienced Filipina midwives who are willing to work and live in such a the remote area until more local midwives ready to take over.

3) We need funding to build appropriate staff housing for missionaries and Filipino midwives to live nearby the clinic.

Please pray with us for these things. If you feel you want to help in a more practical way please consider helping fund Suzie Campana to be a missionary here (see her information above), or help with local midwives and staff housing by sending a donation to us specifically designated for Bugnay.

(Specify Bugnay- no tax-deductible receipt available through this method)

 

http://www.msccanada.org/Donate/PayPal-donations.html

(Specify Georgia Macad, Bugnay – tax-deductible receipts available here)

We will keep you updated on how things progress!

(All stories are true however those pictured above are not actually the individuals written about)





A Midwife is Born

16 08 2013
Graduation Dinner Party

Graduation Dinner Party

At the beginning of August 2013 my dear friend Tianne Cole finished her training and became a midwife! She was with us at AGGMC for two years and delivered (under the supervision and instruction of our amazing Filipino midwives and myself) over 60 babies. She decided to throw a party for all the mothers whose lives she became a part of by being a part of their deliveries.

Tianne and "her babies".

Tianne and “her babies”.

Tianne is now getting ready to write her North American Registry of Midwives exam back  in the USA. Once she passes that she will head back to Africa , where she had been before the Philippines, and continue her work as a missionary – this time a Missionary Midwife!

I feel blessed to have been a part in training Tianne to become a midwife so that she could in turn create more midwives in Africa.  It one of the  favorite parts of my job, to see midwives trained and ready to multiply in other parts of the country or the world.  As said by The World Health Organization “Midwifery services are key to a healthy and safe pregnancy and childbirth. Many maternal and newborn deaths can be prevented (some sources say 90% in the developing world) if competent midwives assist women before, during and after childbirth and are able to refer them to emergency obstetric care when severe complications arise.”

So now Tianne moves onto the next chapter of her life and I stay to continue to train the women that God has brought to me. From Filipino to Canadian to Irish, we are multiplying!

If you would like to follow Tianne as she heads back to Africa as a Missionary Midwife, you can check out her blog at http://tiannecole.blogspot.com/.