Baby #2000 !!

30 07 2016

This month we celebrated the 2000th baby born at our clinic!

For me, this was another signpost of how God keeps providing for us at Abundant Grace of God.

The mother who delivered with us had delivered her other two babies with us as well, so this was an especially joyous occasion.

Mother and baby were given a gift of a new baby bath full of newborn clothes and supplies.

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Welcome to the world baby Eduardo! We are so happy that you made your entrance at our clinic!

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A Star Midwife in the Making

5 05 2016
Gay and hubby

Midwife Gay and her husband at a recent graduation ceremony. Gay just finished her Bachelors of Science in Midwifery.

It was late one night last week when the clinic got a text asking us to pick up a laboring woman in her village. There was already a woman in labor at our clinic so I asked Gay and Lovely to ride with Achao to bring back the labor. Gay has been with us for over two years and is a wonderful midwife, ready to take on the role of supervisor. I figured it would be a good way to ease her into supervising by having her be in charge of a labor pick up. Well, about half an hour later I got a text from Gay telling me that they had arrived and the patient was pushing and the baby’s head was already visible! Now it was all up to Gay and Lovely to deliver the baby safely.

After a few more minutes of pushing a baby boy was born, but he was not breathing. Gay and Lovely followed the protocols that they have been taught to stimulate and dry the baby. The baby lay there limply – still no cry. Gay and Lovely jumped into action quickly grabbing the neonatal bag and mask from the emergency birth bag and beginning resuscitation. The mother and her family began to cry because they thought they had lost the baby. Gay and Lovely kept working on the baby, all the while praying for God’s help. Within a few minutes the baby started to cry on his own – and kept on crying. Within an hour the baby was at his mother’s breast fully recovered. Mother and baby were brought back to the clinic so that we could monitor them for at least 24 hours to make sure they were fine.

When I saw Gay the next day I told her how proud I was of the her. If she and Lovely hadn’t been there with their knowledge and skills, that baby would not be alive today. We all agreed that the life of a midwife can be the most frightening and the most rewarding job – all at the same time!





A Midwife’s Story

8 01 2016

The following story is a first-hand account from our Bugnay clinic midwife, Karen Ligab.

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Bugnay Midwife Karen

“It was almost 4:00 in the afternoon and I was talking with Achao (my boss) outside the clinic because he was getting ready to go back to the Tabuk clinic, when I noticed many people carrying someone in a hammock towards the clinic. I quickly opened the clinic for them to enter. It is a normal routine for us midwives in Bugnay to be brought people who have had an accident in the fields for First Aid or for wound care, but I was alarmed to see that this was a big emergency as they were carrying our pregnant patient who had been in and out of the hospital for pre-eclampsia. I knew her condition was bad when I saw her because her eyes were not in focus. Before they could even transfer her to the bed she began having a seizure.

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The Bugnay Clinic Delivery Room

I immediately put her on her side and asked the relatives to get my fellow midwives. The patient suddenly became limp and stopped breathing. Her husband and relative started crying and shouting her name. I started doing CPR on her and after 30 chest compressions she began breathing again. Rema and the village midwife quickly came in and started putting in an IV line and giving her oxygen and blood pressure medication because her bp was so high. We then brought her to the car to take her to the hospital. It was such a good thing that Achao was right there ready to take her. In the car on the way to the hospital, the patient started to have another seizure. We gave her an injection of magnesium sulfate, which is a medication to help prevent seizures. The whole way to the hospital we would alternate between monitoring her vital signs and praying for God’s mercy on her and her unborn child. After almost an hour on the road, that seemed like forever, we reached the hospital. At the ER the patient started having another seizure, but we felt secure that she was now safe in the hands of the hospital staff. After giving initial care to the patient, the doctor told us to bring her to the operating room because they were going to perform emergency C-section. We are very thankful to God that the patient’s life was saved and so was her baby.”

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Our sister clinic in the mountains of Bugnay is such an important part of our ministry. Due to lack of supervisory staff we have had to close operation for 2016. Please pray as we plan and prepare to re-open the clinic in 2017.

 





Partners

14 11 2015

We just finished an exciting week with a medical mission team sent by Samaritan’s Purse Canada.

The Samaritan's Purse Canada Team with our midwives on outreach.

The Samaritan’s Purse Canada Team with our midwives on outreach.

The team, consisting of doctors, nurses, dentists, an opthamologist and various supporting members, reached out to six Butbut resettlement villages around Tabuk. Hundreds of villagers had teeth filled or pulled, were fitted with glasses and received medical check-ups from the docs.

One of the best things about the way that SP Canada run their missions, is that they partner with organizations already on the ground to make sure the outreach is not only effective but to also ensure that those who need follow-up, will get it.

 

Some villagers come for doctor check-ups.

Some villagers come for doctor check-ups.

This leads me into sharing about baby Charmee.

We met Charmee and her mother at one of the village outreaches. Charmee’s mother brought her for a check-up to see if the doctor could give vitamins because she was so underweight.

Underweight is an understatement. Charmee weighed 2.7kg at birth two and a half months previously and was now 2.8kg. Charmee was severely malnourished.

The doctor called me over to talk with the mom. We discovered that she was told by someone that she shouldn’t breastfeed because she had a cyst on her breast and now her milk had dried up and she was forced to bottle feed.

Charmee’s mother showed us the bottle that she mixed in the morning and fed her throughout the day until nighttime. At 10:00am the milk in the bottle was already sour and full of ants.

I talked with the mother and asked her to come to our clinic the next day so we could teach her thoroughly how to care for her baby. She told me that she would come. Her neighbors told me that she would not come because she was stubborn.

She didn’t come in the next day … or the day after. My staff and I started to lose hope that we would ever see Charmee again.

But then yesterday I got a call from the clinic to tell me that Charmee and her mom were there!

 

Charmee and her mother at the clinic.

Charmee and her mother at the clinic.

 

I rushed back to the clinic and my staff and I began the process of teaching the mother proper infant care and feeding. (Because she couldn’t read, instead of mixing 8 scoops of formula for 8 oz of water she had only been putting 2 scoops for 8 oz of water!)

We spent the morning teaching her how to properly mix the infant formula, to make only what the baby can eat at one sitting, and to feed with a clean spoon instead of the difficult to clean bottle and nipple. Charmee drank her first 3 ounces and gave us a big smile before she nodded off to sleep for 3 hours.

 

Charmee will be coming in regularly for weight and health checks.

 

Baby Charmee

Baby Charmee

Please pray for Charmee to gain weight quickly and regain her health and strength.

 

Thank you Samaritan’s Purse for helping us to make a difference in our community!





What a Night!

6 07 2015

Last month I had an amazing opportunity to be a part of an unplanned home birth … well it wasn’t planned by me, but it might have been planned by the mom! 

First of all, let me tell you a little bit about the mother. I have known her since she was eight years old. She was one of the kids who used to follow Crystal and I around Pakak when we would visit there back in 2004. I also took her for check-ups when she was 10 and it was discovered that she had TB of the spine. She was successfully treated and recovered well.

Late last year I heard that this dear girl, lets call her Sunshine, had gotten married and was pregnant. Talk about making me feel old! She had been away for a few years working in someone’s house and so I hadn’t seen her recently. When I saw her at our outreach to her village I was surprised to see a beautiful grown up young lady in place of a little girl.

Sunshine came for a few prenatal visits and we were able to provide her with all her prenatal tests. Her pregnancy was very straight-forward and she and baby were doing just fine.

I reminded Sunshine every time I saw her to text us whenever her labor starts and we could come pick her up and take her to the clinic. I said that I would love to be her midwife and she said “Ok”. Ha! I just love the no nonsense Butbut culture. She knew that it was a bigger blessing for me to be her midwife than for her to have me as her midwife!

So one evening last month we got a text that Sunshine was in labor and that we should come and get her quickly. Alex, Claire and I jumped in the car and took off. We knew from prior experience that when the ladies from the village text us, we might only have minutes to get there before the baby is born.

We arrived to find her very close to delivery. She was in her one room, bamboo house with the wind blowing through, keeping it nice and cool. The house soon was surrounded with kids, teenagers and mothers of the community that all had arrived to cheer her on. Sunshine’s mother was also there giving her support in between nursing her own young child.

We set up the emergency birth bag that we always bring with us just in case we can’t get back to the clinic in time – like this time!

Soon Sunshine was pushing and a little while after, a perfect little boy was born. It seemed like the whole village was outside excited to meet the baby. Most of Sunshine’s younger brothers and sisters were in the house and all so excited to meet their nephew.

After the birth Sunshine’s husband asked around if anyone had something to eat for dinner (it was past dinnertime) and no one did. They found some dried beans in the house and put on a pot of rice. Within an hour after the birth we encouraged Sunshine to go and urinate in order to prevent her from bleeding too much. Well, with no bathroom in sight she went outside and found a private bush. While she was doing this her mother got a bucket of water and rinsed out the house. It was an easy task as the floors were made of bamboo and there were big spaces that went through to the ground below.

We checked mom and baby again and then headed back to the clinic.

We midwives all had the biggest smiles on our faces as we drove home.

I had the biggest smile of all as I was so happy that I could help my dear young friend Sunshine as she became a mother.

Everyone getting a look at the new baby.

Everyone getting a look at the new baby.





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.





An Emergency Transport in the Mountains

5 03 2015
The amazing and beautiful staff at the Bugnay clinic.

The amazing and beautiful staff at the Bugnay clinic.

I just got back yesterday afternoon from a quick trip to the Bugnay clinic. I was taking one of our partners from Samaritan’s Purse to see the clinic there and also to drop off one of the Tabuk supervising midwives to spend a few weeks with the staff in Bugnay.

While there, the staff updated me on one of our very high risk patients. Mary* had been repeatedly admitted to the hospital for signs of pre-eclampisia throughout her pregnancy and repeatedly sent home “better”. She was now only seven months pregnant and was sent home again from the hospital two days before. My midwife Rema had done a home visit for her that day and her blood pressure was sky high again and she was so swollen that she had a hard time moving around. Rema and the other staff told Mary that she needed to go back to the hospital again. Mary decided she would just follow the doctor’s advice and return on Friday for her regular follow-up check-up. My midwives asked me if I could try to convince her to go back to the hospital. They knew that at any moment she could have a seizure or a stroke and then both she and the baby would be lost.

I agreed to visit her and try to convince her. So just before myself and Raija-Liisa (from SP Canada) left for Tabuk, we went to visit her in her home. I was praying silently as we approached her house that God would give me compassion and the right words to say. When I saw her lying in her bed, so swollen from her feet to her chest, and checked her blood pressure to see it was off the charts,  I was filled with compassion. We spent about an hour with Mary discussing her options and in the end we decided instead of taking her back to the closest hospital (who kept sending her home) we would take her back with us to Tabuk.

The midwives at the clinic started an IV line on Mary (which wasn’t an easy feat with all her edema) and we lay her down in the back of the car and drove to Tabuk. When we reached the hospital, the doctors and nurses immediately started caring for her. Her blood pressure was even higher than when we left Bugnay and she was starting to have severe headaches. The staff were unable to find the baby’s heartbeat. They were planning to get her prepped for an ultrasound when Raija and I left her in the hands of the very capable staff.

A few hours later I received a text from the doctor that she had performed a cesarean section and delivered a stillborn baby. Mary’s life had been saved but unfortunately not her baby’s as well.

It is heartbreaking to think of Mary’s loss, but I know that if she hadn’t had the C-section on that day that her life could have been lost as well. (The only cure for preeclampsia is delivery of baby and placenta. There is no other treatment. If left untreated, eclampsia will cause multi-organ failure, seizures and/or stroke and ultimately death for the pregnant woman).

Please pray for Mary and her family as they grieve their loss.

Please pray for the Bugnay staff as they continue to grow in strength, skill and wisdom in dealing with these very difficult cases in such a remote area.

(*not her real name)





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.

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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.

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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.

 





Maboy: One of the reasons I am here!

5 10 2014
Beautiful Maboy when I first met her in 2004.

Beautiful Maboy when I first met her in 2004.

Maboy is one of my favourite mothers in Kalinga.

Every time I see her she has a huge smile on her face and she always asks how I am doing.

Since I very first came to Kalinga in 2004 she has welcomed me with open arms to her village of Pakak.

Maboy is the mother of 10 children – all of them as beautiful as she is. She came to deliver at our clinic when we first opened in 2007 but all the rest of her children she delivered at home unattended. This year Maboy found herself pregnant again. We had been doing regular prenatal visits in her village but she was always working in the fields when we were there so we barely saw her during her whole pregnancy. In the first week of July I happened to see Maboy at her home and asked her if she would come and deliver at the clinic. I told her we would come and pick her up no matter what time of night or day. I told her I was worried about her, because of her multiple pregnancies she was at risk for having a difficult labor and delivery. I think sometimes it is hard for mothers of so many children to believe they need help during their deliveries– especially when they have done it themselves for years! Maboy just smiled at me and said “we’ll see.” And so, I as very surprised to see Maboy come into the clinic one day for a prenatal check-up. She was having some common discomforts of pregnancy and we were able to send her home with a good quality medicine for a low cost.

We got word from Pakak a few days later that she was feeling better. Then, on the evening of July 7 , we got a text from someone in Pakak that Maboy was in labor. The midwives on duty drove out to the village to pick her up, with their emergency birth bag in tow – you can never tell if the women are going to deliver the minute you get there or even possibly on the way back to the clinic. Maboy was still in early labor so the midwives took her back to the clinic. By early morning I went into the clinic to see how she was doing. She was exhausted from having strong contractions all night but still no baby. We gave her IV fluids and lots of encouragement. A few hours later, with a lot of support and help from her midwives, Maboy delivered a beautiful baby girl.

A few hours later as Maboy lay resting in the postpartum room, she shared that this was such a hard labor for her and she wasn’t sure that she could have done it herself. She told me that she decided this little girl would be her last. I feel so blessed to have been able to help her with the delivery of her last baby and to have made sure that she stayed safe and healthy for all her other children too.

Maboy holding baby Zanelle as she gets her BCG vaccination.

Maboy holding baby Zanele Grace as she gets her BCG vaccination at the clinic.





A Night to Remember

9 07 2014

 

Novelyn came to us in her second trimester of pregnancy for prenatal care. She was living about an hour outside of Tabuk at the time but she came faithfully for all her prenatal check-ups. There was something about this strong, determined woman that drew me to her and I took her as my “continuity of care” patient. A “continuity” patient is one that a midwife will choose to follow through her prenatal care, labor and delivery as well as postpartum even if they come in when the midwife is not on shift. I don’t often take patients like this because I am so busy, but I took Novelyn. During her pregnancy we were able to get to know each other and I had the opportunity to pray for her often. She was nervous about her delivery, which was normal, especially because her two previous deliveries had been difficult.
Novelyn came into the clinic in labor early one afternoon in April. My missionary Alex was helping me monitor her and everything was going well. After a few hours Novelyn’s labor started to get more intense and her bag of waters broke. The first thing a midwife does when the bag of waters breaks is to check the baby’s heartbeat to make sure that he/she is handling it well. We checked the heartbeat immediately and noticed that it was extremely low! I checked and felt that the baby’s cord had slipped over its head and was being compressed during the contraction. This is an obstetrical emergency call “cord prolapse” and the only course of action is to hold the baby’s head up off of the cord until an emergency C-section can be performed.
This is exactly what we did! I held up that baby’s head while Alex and some other staff carried Novelyn to the emergency vehicle and our emergency driver took us to the hospital 10 minutes away. Alex and I were praying out loud for the baby the whole way to the hospital. So that you know how amazing the next part of the story is, you have to know something about the hospitals in Tabuk. Even though we went to the private hospital where the care is considerably better than the public hospital – the hospitals are not staffed 24/7 with doctors and anesthesiologists. The operating rooms are not always ready to go in case of emergencies. Sometimes you will have to wait hours for a doctor to arrive or for the appropriate staff to be found. On some occasions we have had to pick up the staff ourselves at their homes.
We arrived at the hospital 10 minutes later and alerted the ER staff of the situation. They informed us that the doctor was just finishing up a C-section in the operating room and we would be taken in right after! We waited less than 30 minutes for the C-section and we were able to stay with Novelyn and I held the baby’s head off of the cord. We prayed for both of them the entire time. When we were wheeled in the OR it was only a matter of minutes before Novelyn was prepped and the doctor started the C-section. I got a close-up view of the operation as I was still holding the baby’s head! I kept my hand on the baby’s head right until I felt the doctor’s hands pull the baby out. She lifted out the baby and he gave a big cry and the whole OR staff cheered! We were all so happy! Usually if there has been a cord prolapse the baby doesn’t make it, so the staff were all so excited to see a healthy baby born!
I went to visit Novelyn and her baby at home two days later. We talked about what had happened and I explained exactly what was done and how much of a miracle it was that her baby was fine. She knew it already. She told me that the last thing she remembered in the OR as the anesthesia took effect was Alex right beside her, praying for her.
I am so thankful that we work for such a mighty and gracious God … and that he lets me be a part of amazing stories like this!

Double take? That is Alex, not me, with baby Kade the day after he was born.

Double take? That is Alex, not me, with baby Kade the day after he was born.