Outreach in Ngibat – by Crystal Meeks

21 05 2011

Almost to the village of Ngibat!

   The hike to the village of Ngibat while not physically exhausting was the scariest most adrenalin pumping hike of my life!
   It took us more than one hour of sliding down steep inclines to arrive there from the village of ButBut Proper.  Most places was just enough room for one foot in front of the other with the chance of falling in a rice field on one side or a hundred foot drop off on the other.  Just as we entered the village the skies opened and the rain came pouring down.  I was grateful for God’s grace knowing had that rain came ten minutes earlier making that hike even more slippery I would have surely fallen off the mountain and died.
   The next morning we started our outreach and learned that there were only two pregnant women in the whole village.  Now I know what you are thinking all that preparation, insane hiking, another meal of sardines and sleeping on a hard floor for two lousy prenatals?!?  But we were actually beeming with joy and probably even more enthusiastic with this outreach than all the others.
    The guys that had come with us had been playing the guitar and singing worship songs all morning as we prepared the snack of pancit.  When the first woman came in I rushed to interview her.  I found out this was *Marilou’s second pregnancy. Last year in her first pregnancy she had gone for all of her regular prenatal checkups.  Everything had been normal throughout her pregnancy but when it came time to deliver the midwife was not in the village.
    Marilou labored for a day before deciding to go to the hospital.  While in labor she hiked for over an hour down the mountain then took a jeep to the nearest hospital two hours away.  By the time she arrived at the hospital her blood pressure had spiked to 160/100.  She remained in labor another four days until a cesarean section was performed.  Unfortunately after only 30 minutes of birth her baby quit fighting and went to be with Jesus.  Due to her hypertension she hemorrhaged and was left to heal not only a great physical trauma but an emotional one as well.
    Obviously Marilou was extra concerned and nervous about this pregnancy.  During the last part of the checkup I attempted to find the baby’s heartbeat even though it was still quite early.  I prayed to find it knowing this would bring this anxious mother a lot of peace.  I placed my hand on her tummy and moved the Doppler around listening to the static… the guys had started singing again and I found myself concentrating more on their words.  What were they singing that had intrigued me so?  Aaaah,  ‘How Great Thou Art’ in Butbut!  And then there it was… LubDubb LubDubb… We both giggled, smiled and teared up!  Had she been the only pregnant lady in Ngibat that insane hike that left most of us with cuts and bruises would have still been worth it!!!
Yes Lord how great, awesome and amazingly loving you are!
* – not real name

Thank you! Love, Baby Jobi

11 05 2011

Jobi with "tita" Chel in Manila.

Jobilyn, her parents Benjie and Luk-ay and her “tita” Chel just arrived home from Manila this morning after a week of Doctor’s check-ups and tests in Manila. Because of numerous donations given over a period of just 2 days, Baby Jobilyn was able to get her MRI and will now be able to start a rehabilitation/physiotherapy program.

I know that Jobi’s parents were completely overwhelmed when all of the donations started pouring in for their little girl. I cannot even put into words what kind of difference it has made in Jobilyn’s life to be able to receive the care that she got in Manila.  It is the difference between life and death.

Thank you!

I will keep you updated through this blog as to how she is doing in her physio and follow-up check-ups.

A Plea for Baby Jobilyn

5 05 2011

On the bus on the way to Manila.

Jobilyn Balagso, from the village of Hilltop Pakak, was born at Abundant Grace of God on November 29, 2009. She was born with both of her legs severely hyperflexed against her chest. When we took her to the local government hospital  they took x-rays that showed she had almost non-existent kneecaps. Then they put casts on her legs so that they could be straightened. Other than that, they not give any advice or even a diagnosis of her condition.

I had not seen Jobilyn very often since her birth so this last December when I saw her and her mom at church I was taken aback by the worsening of her condition. She was over a year old but was still not even able to hold her head up let alone sit up.  I suggested going to a local rehabilitation centre called Lin-Awa which is run by the Catholic church to see if anything could be done to help.

The physiotherapists at Lin-Awa had never seen anything like Jobilyn’s condition before and referred us to a specialist in Tuguegarao City (2 hours away). The Specialist in Tuguegarao didn’t know what to do with Jobilyn either and referred us to a Genetic Pediatrician in Manila.

Jobilyn’s family are sustenance-based rice farmers with no extra money for even a bus trip to Manila let alone specialist check-ups.

This past week we were finally able to spare the funds to send Jobilyn to Manila for specialist check-ups at Philippine General Hospital. Our friend Richel Halili accompanied Jobilyn and her mom Luk-ay and dad Benjie to Manila by bus. Our friend Naomi Hamilton has generously let them stay at her ministry house (Safe Refuge) while they undergo their check-ups.

After check-ups with over half a dozen doctors (Neurologists, Orthopedics, Genetic Pediatricians, Surgeons) numerous blood tests, x-rays and even a CT scan her condition is still not clear. The doctors are requesting that Jobilyn undergo an MRI in order for a conclusive diagnosis to be made and a physical therapy routine established.

The problem is that we are now out of money. We have come so far and had so many doctors attending to Jobilyn that it seems such a shame not to be able to finish her treatment.

Baby Jobilyn and her mom at PGH.

If any of you reading this note feel moved to help Jobilyn finish her check-ups in Manila please go the donate section of this blog. You can give through paypal with a note designating the money for Jobilyn. We will get all of the money to them immediately.

Miracle Baby

8 04 2011

“Miracle Baby” Abira Turns One

Last month the Pullis family had a First birthday celebration and thanksgiving for their youngest child Abira.

Do you remember her? Last March 2010, Abira was delivered 3 months premature because her mother had severe pre-eclampsia. We didn’t think that Abira would survive being born so early in a hospital that has no incubators or care for premature infants – but she did!
Then in February, Abira was in the hospital again for a intestinal blockage that looked like it might need surgery. We all prayed for her life and again God proved himself faithful. He healed Abira without surgery and she went home within the week.
And so once again, we celebrate Abira’s life.

Going Home

12 04 2010


Lina and baby Abira left our clinic today and went home to their village of Lacnog. They stayed here for almost three weeks recovering from their ordeal and Abira gained almost a half kilo.
Thank you for all your prayers and support. We will continue praying that Abira will keep breastfeeding well and gaining weight daily and Lina’s blood pressure will continue to come down until it has returned to normal. Enjoy the picture we took of the two of them just before they went home – note Lina’s big smile!


Miracle Baby Abira

19 03 2010

Earlier this week B-lyn (one of our midwives) texted to say that her mother was on her way to the hospital. Her mother Lina had developed severe pre-eclampsia at only 6 1/2 months pregnant. Pre-eclampsia is a dangerous disease of pregnancy for which there is no cure. The only way to prevent convulsions and multi-organ failure is to deliver the baby. It was an incredibly hard decision for B-lyn’s family to make, whether to terminate the pregnancy or see if Lina could hang on for a few more weeks in order for the baby to develop. Lina’s condition rapidly deteriorated after 2 days in the hospital and the only decision that made sense was to have an emergency C-section. I sent out an email to all of our prayer supporters asking them to pray for a miracle, that somehow this little baby would survive. There are no incubators at the local hospital, and emergency care for preemies is almost nonexistent.
March 16 at 8 pm baby Abira Nessa came into the world crying like a champ! I was able to attend the C-section and helped take care baby Abira after she was born. She weighed in at 3 ½ pounds and showed no signs of respiratory distress. Absolutely amazing!!

Please continue to pray as Lina and baby Abira are still at the hospital recovering. Lina is downstairs and the baby is upstairs – they haven’t even been allowed to meet each other yet! Please pray that the doctors will have wisdom and make good decisions for both of them.

Please pray that the family will find the money to pay all of their hospital bills as they will no doubt amount to more than the family could hope to make in a year.If you would like to help with Lina and baby Abira’s hospital bills, you can donate through paypal (click on the donate icon) and include a note designating it for the Pullis family. I will make sure that every penny gets to the family.

11 Babies in 14 Days

14 03 2009

It is a record for us! Every mother has her own unique story and I want to share one of them with you. Martha’s story is typical of the Kalinga tribal women and it embodies well the reason I am so passionate about our work here. Martha is a 35-year old mother of nine. She and her family live in one of the surrounding resettlement villages that we reach out to on a regular basis. At the beginning of her pregnancy we took her history and found out that she had delivered all her children at home alone. Her second to last child died shortly after birth and at her last delivery she almost died from a serious complication. We went regularly to her village and did prenatals for her and the other women who were expecting. In this village we are always warmly received for prenatal care and health teachings, but rarely asked to attend births. We were all so excited last week when Martha and her husband chose to deliver at our clinic! Her 10th baby is a beautiful boy named Jacob, who was delivered with gentleness and compassion by one of our visiting midwifery students from Davao. Here is a picture of Martha, baby Jacob and some of her other children at her home during our postpartum visit.