“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”.


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?



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?




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?



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.





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)



(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/.

What We Have Been Up To Lately

11 06 2013

It has been a while since my last post so I thought I would give a quick catch up on what has been happening at the clinic.

Baby John Lester

We are continuing our support and follow-up for baby John Lester as his last operation was not a success and he has to undergo another operation. Please pray for things to go well this time and that he would have lots of improvements this year. Although it is quite shocking to see his enlarged eye, he is quite a smiley and interactive baby now as opposed to before the first surgery when he was continually crying.

Baby John Lester before his second surgery.

Baby John Lester before his second surgery.

I love Austrian Midwives!

We have had the opportunity to work with three wonderful ladies from an Austrian midwifery school this past month. They have been so much fun to teach and also to learn from! Marlene, Manuela and Johanna contacted me earlier this year about the possibility of coming to intern with us. Although we had never had Austrian midwives before it sounded like a great adventure to me. It is so interesting to hear how different midwifery is in Austria; they are very hi-tech there! They seemed to really enjoy our low-tech methods here at the clinic though – and we enjoyed them!

Manuela on prenatal day

Manuela on prenatal day

Baby Ashley

We delivered baby Ashley at our clinic a year ago. Soon after birth she was experiencing breathing difficulties so we referred her to the hospital for further care. Ashley’s family lives far away and after they were discharged from the hospital we didn’t see them again – until this May. On May 4, Ashley and her mom Julies came for a Well-Baby Seminar which we hold monthly at the clinic as a way of following up on babies and moms after their six weeks of postpartum check-ups. We were really worried about Ashley as she was so thin and seemed to be having a lot of trouble breathing. Her mother said that she had been sick on and off since birth and that they often didn’t have the money to buy the prescribed medications for her so they stopped going for check-ups. She also said that Ashley had to sleep sitting up or she couldn’t breath!  We offered to help them and the next day we accompanied Ashley and her mom for a check-up at the local pediatrician. She was diagnosed with massive pneumonia and had to be hospitalized. Julies and her family are with a government program which enrols them with the national health insurance. She knew that they were enrolled in the program but didn’t know how to use the benefits. Our social worker Kate was able to help them figure out all the paperwork and red tape and Ashley was admitted the following day for treatment. She recovered from her pneumonia after two weeks of treatment and we are continuing to follow up with Ashley to make sure she continues to gain weight and stay healthy.

Baby Ashley with her mom Julies

Baby Ashley with her mom Julies

Well-Baby Seminar Attendees

Well-Baby Seminar Attendees


A trip to Bugnay

On a personal note, we finally took Zion up to Bugnay to meet all his relatives! We had a great time and they boys loved all the attention that they got. Zion had his “soob” which is a tribal birthday party for all Butbut boys. The whole village came out to celebrate (well it sounded like the whole village at 3am when I was trying to sleep 😉 ). We have such a special family up in Bugnay and I am so thankful for the incredible culture that my kids get to be a part of.