Thursday, June 23, 2011

urgent prayer request!

A couple of weeks ago, we submitted a funding request to a large church in Manila where several of us attend. This was specifically for the building project (I hate that word, makes me thing of yet another mega church building an even bigger monstrosity!)

Anyways, it was very well received and two of us (Ruth Ortiz and me) have been asked to speak in all four services THIS SUNDAY, inviting the congregation to join our project through funds, volunteers, and of course prayer. We'll be showing a video and then speaking for about 3 minutes. This is incidentally missions Sunday as well.

I'm really excited about this opportunity because it's Filipinos helping Filipinos. I love that. The money for this ministry doesn't all have to come from the US, Canada, England, etc... There IS money here, and I really hope that we can get the local church excited about this ministry.

Please, please, please pray that it is well received. There is no realistic way to portray how desperately we need the new building...just try to imagine 120 prenatal check-ups in 6 hours with a couple deliveries tossed in there...all in ONE SMALL LIVING ROOM! You know that unpleasant feeling of sweat running down your chest or standing up from a chair and feeling like you sat in a puddle of water because your pants are wet from sweat? Yeah...we need that new building.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Who makes the decision?

One of the things that I've discovered, especially since working at the birthing home, is that in this culture (and apparently most South Asian cultures) the mother-in-law rules the roost, big time. If a mother-in-law tells her son's daughter that she needs to wear socks for the first 3 months after giving birth so she doesn't catch a chill and get sick, she doesn't question, she obeys. Or that she's too stressed out and her breastmilk is spoiled so she needs to formula feed, she obeys. Or that evil spirits might enter the baby through it's umbilical cord stump if it's not tightly wrapped with a belly-band, she obeys.
I don't want to give the impression that mother-in-laws are evil, because they're not. But they are mostly uneducated and uninformed. Tradition is truth and fixed.
In a recent article by the Royal College of Midwives, a Nepali midwife conducted a survey and discovered the same thing. The mother-in-law makes all the decisions, including the need for prenatal care, the household jobs that must be done while being pregnant, who delivers the baby, and much more.
Often the very young moms at our clinic come with their mother-in-law. This actually makes me very excited! It means I can respectfully teach the new mom with the "old" mom. I try to always ask if the mother-in-law breastfed her kids and for how long, who delivered her babies, and if SHE has any questions for me. These are my favorite teaching times because I feel like there's a better chance that what I teach might make a difference.
It's amazing to me how much CULTURE influences healthcare. I could have all the right training and techniques, but unless I am able to successfully put it into the correct culture context, it's useless. I'm so thankful I have 18 years logged in this culture, but at the same time I'm very much aware that I have much more to learn!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

One week down!

I just finished my first week at Shalom for all prenatal clinics (Tues, Wed, Fri). It's a whirlwind! We see about 110+ preggos in about 5 hours... The incredibly efficient, organized, and competent American nurse who normally keeps things on track is gone for the summer so that role has defaulted to me. It's been a bit of baptism by fire...I've learned what works, what doesn't work, and to BE ASSERTIVE.

We get Filipino nursing students who are at the clinic for their maternal health rotation...they are usually quite young and definitely still teenagers. The first day I felt badly telling them to stop doing something or to let me do it instead. No more. After mass chaos in pulling the patient records for their appointment, I simply took over the task. There's too much to screen the patients for to risk letting them do it.

We also had an Emmy award worthy mom come in (the Filipina midwife's words...not mine). I had finished checking the women in (which takes place outside) and had moved inside the one room clinic to help speed things along when all of the sudden this huge commotion starts outside.

Screams, yells, and gasps fill the air.

Suddenly one of the 2 Filipina midwives on duty cries out, "There's a mom in the driveway who's baby's head is out!" The other midwife took off out the door and after fumbling around to make the delivery table ready (we use it for prenatal check-ups when no one is delivering), this poor lady is carried in by two men, one presumably her husband. Her hand is between her legs, holding what I thought was the head. They maneuver her onto the lithotomy table, pull the curtains shut, and get ready to deliver the rest of the baby.

Suddenly the midwife bursts out laughing, "She's only 1cm! This lady needs an Emmy Award!"

We all laughed and sent the mom outside to walk around for a bit while we finished prenatals. Turns out this lady is having her 5th, but her last baby was 11 years ago. Maybe she's forgotten how things work? In any case, it was a good adrenaline rush for all of us.

My ear is a bit better, though it's still partially clogged. I'll take any improvement, though! Thanks for praying for that. :)