Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Canada

Merry Christmas from the Macad Family
Merry Christmas from the Macad Family

The Macad family has taken three weeks away from Abundant Grace of God in Tabuk, Philippines and headed North to spend Christmas with Georgia’s family.

We have had a wonderful time here and have seen lots of family and a few friends. It is amazing how fast three weeks can fly by!

The boys enjoyed making their first snowman (Zion and Lucas’s first time in the snow!), drinking hot chocolate, and even pictures with Santa!

Georgia and Achao enjoyed spending time connecting again with family and friends – lots if them new friends for Achao.

I have to say that I am so blessed to have a staff that I have full confidence in to run the ministry in the Philippines while we are away for three weeks.

We will be sad to say good-bye to all of our loved ones in Canada next week but looking forward to getting back to our home and our clinic – to see all the growing bellies and the new babies born while we were away.

I will be doing a special post to celebrate my ‘ten year anniversary in the Philippines’ this month. Keep your eye out for it – I promise some pictures of really horrible hairstyles! ūüôā

Far from our Home … but close to our Hearts.

Typhoon Yolanda Aftermath
Typhoon Yolanda Aftermath

Typhoon Yolanda hit last week with a fury. The reports have just started coming out and the devastation is heartbreaking.

Here in Kalinga we had a rainy afternoon on the day the typhoon hit – nothing more.

I am so thankful that we are all okay here. That our house is still standing. Our loved ones safe and sound.

It is almost too much to bear when I think “what if we were the ones with our lives torn apart?” So, I try not to think about it.

But it is still there every morning on the television and radio and on Facebook when I open my computer. Families torn apart, missing loved ones, lives destroyed.

I don’t know what my role should be in this particular disaster. But I know that I should not ignore it.

So today I am dedicating this simple post on my simple blog to all of those families that are still reeling, still searching and still grieving. My heart is with you.

Well-Baby Update

We have a had a great year training mothers in our “Well-Baby” program. ¬†Cathee Mapes has been heading up our program since 2012 and is doing an amazing job! ¬†Cathee knows just about everything there is to know about Primary Health Care, Nutrition, Backyard Gardening, Medical Emergencies, TB … ok a lot of things! ¬†We have been blessed to have her work alongside us in bringing this very important training to the mothers in and around Tabuk.

Cathee Mapes
Cathee Mapes teaching at a seminar at the clinic.

 

Since starting this program at the beginning of 2012 we have graduated over 100 women in the “Well-Baby” Program. That means that we have trained over 100 mothers how to …

Make their own backyard gardens that can give them FAITH (Food Always In The Home)

Mothers learning how to make their own organic pesticides.
Mothers learning how to make their own organic pesticides.

Recognize and Treat Medical Emergencies

Provide adequate nutrition for their children

Monthly weighing of babies at the Well-Baby Seminar
Monthly weighing of babies at the Well-Baby Seminar

Recognize signs and symptoms of Tuberculosis and get treatment

Recognize signs and symptoms of Dengue and Malaria and get treatment

Discipline and care for their children in a Godly way

 

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A mother with her baby boy.

 

In 2014 we hope to reach out even further with our Well-Baby program and train mothers in the mountains of Upper Tinglayan. This will mean hiking into remote villages as well as encountering a lot of traditional beliefs that may go against what we are teaching.  It is going to be an exciting year ahead!

The village of Bugnay in Upper Tinglayan.
The village of Bugnay in Upper Tinglayan.

 

Rest in Peace Sweet Baby Ashley

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We are very sad to say good-bye to Baby Ashley Manzano who has become a big part of our lives over these past four months.  Ashley went home to be with Jesus on Wednesday August 28 after a lifelong battle with repeated lung infections that were never diagnosed.

Ashley was born at our clinic on March 18, 2012 and was transported to the hospital immediately for breathing difficulties. Ashley’s mother Julies never came back for her follow-up check-ups at the clinic and we didn’t see her again until over a year later.

This April Julies and Ashley came to attend a Well-Baby seminar at our clinic. ¬†Ashley was more than a year old then and still only weighed 10 pounds. She also seemed to be suffering from severe pneumonia. ¬†Julies told us that she had been back and forth to various doctors to try to get help her for her daughter but was continually told that it was her own fault that Ashley was sick because ¬†she was malnourished. ¬†Julies told us that she tried to go to the community health center to ask if they could help and the midwife just looked at Ashley and looked back at Julies with condemnation and said “It’s severe malnutrition!” As a last resort Julies brought Ashely to us to see if we could do anything to help.

For the last four months Ashley was a big part of my life. ¬†I tried to get a concrete diagnosis for her condition but she kept having these terrible bouts of pneumonia that we had to deal with. Julies tried to get Ashley’s weight up by giving her high protein milk. Ashley’s dad found them a safer place to live that gave them some protection from the weather.¬†Ashley was hospitalized four times in the last four months, each time getting weaker. When we took Ashley for her third admission to the hospital I spoke quite forcibly and told the doctor that it was NOT MALNUTRITION! ¬†I then heard one doctor whisper to another that it was probably Cystic Fibrosis. We never did have a chance to take her to Manila for further testing – I don’t know if she would have made it back even if we had.

Last Wednesday morning Ashley was at home with her mom. Julies was getting ready to take her to the hospital again and as she was getting dressed she heard Ashley call out “Mama”. ¬†When she turned around Ashley had stopped breathing. She rushed her to the hospital where she could not be resuscitated. My social worker Kate and I arrived a few minutes later to hold Julies and cry with her. I still cry every time I think of Julies holding her precious Ashley in her arms, calling out to her to ‘wake up’.

Sometimes I get so sad and discouraged with the lack of medical care available here in the Philippines. I don’t know if it is because of the lack of diagnostic tools available, but the blame for childhood illnesses is usually shifted to the parents; they are not doing enough or they are doing something wrong. ¬†With this blame comes enough guilt and grieving to break your heart.

Please pray for Julies, her husband and her three other children. Please pray that they will find peace in knowing that Ashley’s suffering is over and she is waiting to see them again. Please pray that they will find freedom from guilt and condemnation in the arms of Jesus.

A Midwife is Born

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 Рthis 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

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 ūüėČ ). 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.

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Our very own Graduate!

Here is a wonderful story about how God puts people together in miraculous ways!

Melody and her dad at her Graduation.
Melody and her dad at her Graduation.

Two years ago my staff midwife B-lyn asked if there were any sponsors willing to help her cousin finish midwifery school. Her cousin Melody, ¬†is the oldest child of six and her family just didn’t have the funds to put her through school. She had had a sponsor that was helping her ¬†but when she¬†switched her course from Education to Midwifery her sponsor decided that he didn’t want to continue funding her education.

I told B-lyn that I didn’t know of anyone at that time but that we should pray and ask God to work something out.

We prayed.

God answered.

A few weeks after we prayed, Deanne Hancock, a fellow 1992 MEI grad (that was my highschool) who I probably haven’t spoken to in person since 1992, emailed me and asked if there was anyone I knew of that she could support through Midwifery school. She was wanting to give to something that would have a lasting effect. ¬†Yes, I definitely knew of someone!

So for the last two years Deanne has sponsored Melody through Midwifery school  while we have given Melody hands-on training at the clinic.

”¬†I’m thrilled that such a relatively small contribution can have the potential to have a positive effect on Melody and multiply to everyone she helps as well.” ¬†– Deanne

Melody graduated this March 2013 and is now volunteering with us at AGGMC until she writes her board exam and gets her license.

God is so cool!

Our Midwife Had a Baby!

 

Me, B-lyn and Ethan at their home in Lacnog.
Me, B-lyn and Ethan at their home in Lacnog.

Evelyn Pullis Dungoc, my longtime friend and fellow midwife at Abundant gave birth to her own sweet baby on January 24.

Ethan Michael Dungoc was born at Abundant clinic and I was so blessed to be his midwife! What an amazing experience to help my fellow midwife give birth. Evelyn (B-lyn) has been working with me since I very first started in 2006 and we have been friends since my first trip to Kalinga in 2004. Wow, that is almost 10 years!

Congratulations to B-lyn and her wonderful husband Ramon on your gorgeous son!

 

Zion

Achao, Georgia, Emmaus and Lucas are thrilled to announce the arrival of a new little Macad boy. Zion Simpson Macad was born at home on November 29th at 6:34am after just one hour of labor. Delivered by our amazing midwives Crystal, Marivic and Jacki. Also attending the birth, all the way from Oklahoma was Georgia’s mom! ¬†Zion weighed in at exactly 8 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes ¬†(surprise) and he is an angel!


Zion