Praising God for perfect timing!

This week has been a crazy one…I arrived back in the states on Monday night after a wonderful time with dear friends in Costa Rica, and since that time I’ve been away from home the majority of the week! I had a long list of things to accomplish during the six days I was in Kansas, and I found out the night I returned that a baby was waiting on me as well. After putting around 1000 miles on my car, between trips all over Kansas and Oklahoma to perform prenatals, visit with people, and trying to deliver a baby, I am almost ready to leave for Guatemala in the morning. The biggest answer to prayer was the safe arrival of a precious baby boy on Friday evening-the way God worked that timing out during the few days I was home is incredible! Prayers would be appreciated as I head south again tomorrow morning with two of my younger siblings. I hope to post a few updates along the way during these next four weeks, and we are looking forward to seeing what God has in store for us!

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Going to see friends in Costa Rica!

Vocán Arenal in Costa Rica

Vocán Arenal in Costa Rica

I’m getting more and more excited by the minute….Monday, September 7th (tomorrow!), I will be flying to Costa Rica for two weeks. Several of my very close friends live there, whom I haven’t seen for almost three years.  The reason I am posting about this trip, though, is to let you know why it may take me longer than usual to respond if you are trying to contact me. I will be checking email regularly, just not as often as usual.  If you have any questions, or would like an information packet mailed to you, please don’t hesitate to contact me via email. I will be gone until September 21st, after which I will be home for a week before taking one more fall trip….more about that on a later post. I’m not sure how frequently I will be updating this site during the next couple of weeks, so I will say “¡hasta luego!” until next time…

Costa Rican Orchid

Costa Rican Orchid

A jungle baby story

An aerial view of the little village of Santa Rosita, in the Petén region of Guatemala

An aerial view of the little village of Santa Rosita, in the Petén region of Guatemala

This week I have enjoyed the special treat of having a good friend, Ashley Beck, here visiting. We met in Guatemala in 2006, while students at the same Spanish school in Antigua. She has been working as a nurse in two different clinics since that time, and we have kept up here and there. This past April I had the opportunity to visit her in Guatemala, and now she is here in Kansas with me! That’s something we never thought would happen….her family is from PA, and there isn’t much to draw her to KS, but her brother found a good reason to come to this state-he’s getting married this Saturday to a girl who lives in the western part of the state. I’m grateful, as it’s been lots of fun to introduce Ashley to my family and life here.

When we met that winter of ’06, my brother and I had plans to study Spanish for almost two months, and then spend several weeks visiting various missionaries that we knew involved in work throughout Central America. While attending a two-week class on Medical Missions in NC, we met a sweet couple, Jeff and Crystal Yoder, who were planning to return to their work in Guatemala. They invited us to come and visit them while we were in the country, which was an invitation we eagerly accepted. Imagine our surprise, then, when we met Ashley the first week we were in language school, and found out she was returning to her post in the Petén area of the country, and was going to be working with Jeff and Crystal! That increased my anticipation of the visit, and after 5 weeks of language school, we headed up to Santa Rosita to see these dear people….

Santa Rosita is a very tiny village, located on a large river. It is just south of the Mexico border, and is close to a larger town called El Naranjo. I believe there are about 30 houses, and the mission clinic is a real asset, as the closest hospital is about 4 hours away.

Well, all this introduction to set the stage for the following story. With Ashley here, we were reminiscing about this particular birth, and I thought some of you readers may enjoy hearing the story. I’m going to copy the story as told by Jeff Yoder,  in one of his updates.  This takes place in February, 2006. Enjoy!

“Another major event of this month was the arrival of a new little baby.  One Sunday afternoon, a lady came and asked Ashley (our nurse) if she’d go upriver and check out a lady who thought she was going into labor.  We prayed about it, debating whether we should get involved.  Ashley has really wanted to start doing midwifery, has observed a number of births, and helped sometimes, but wasn’t sure if this was the time to start as a midwife.  We decided to go, and piled into our boat and headed up.  It wasn’t very far up at all, just below the rapids.  Kelsey has helped with a number of births, so she went along as Ashley’s support.  It turned out that she wasn’t really in labor yet, so Ashley left it that they would call another midwife in when she went into labor, and also would call Ashley, so she could observe.

“That evening, right after supper, a fellow showed up outside our door.  Here it was Arturo, the husband of the expectant mother!  He said his wife was in labor, and they decided to stay in Santa Rosita and use the elderly midwife here.  So Ashley and Kelsey went to the midwife’s house to watch.

“Around 10:30, the girls came back to our place for a few minutes before returning.  The labor was proceeding only slowly, so the birth didn’t seem imminent.  The mother was in a tin-roofed board hut with a dirt floor.  The walls were papered with old newspaper and the cockroaches ran up and down, on top of and behind the newspapers.  In the corner the hen and chicks peeped to each other.
“As the night passed on, the girls ended up piling onto a bed with the others waiting for the birth and sleeping for a while.  Around 2:30, they woke up again, and things were moving along faster.  Just about the time they started to see the top of the baby‘s head, a commotion broke out in an adjoining room.  The hen started cackling and flapping around, chicks peeping.  “Oh, that rat!” said the midwife.  She scurried off into the other room, grabbed the machete, and started running around whacking at the rat.  Pans clattered, hitting the floor, and the rest of the people called out encouragement, “He’s over there!”  Ashley and Kelsey decided that they might have to deliver the baby themselves.  But the midwife returned, a bit sheepish, and delivered the baby around 3:20.  He’s a healthy little boy, and probably weighed around 7 lbs at birth, though they didn’t weigh him until a day later.  (On the story of the rat, the chicks will be the midwifes source of meat, so the rat was going to affect her livelihood.)  Needless to say, the girls were elated after their night.
“The family was so appreciative that they made Ashley take Q50 (about $7 US) and gave her a half-grown rooster.  (Ashley shared the rooster with us the other evening in a caldo (soup) of some sort — quite tasty.)”

It was one of the most memorable births I have attended….actually, one of the least complicated, just the most interesting environment!

myself and Ashley with the baby, the day after his birth

myself and Ashley with the baby, the day after his birth

A story of God’s hand at work….

With the change of month into September, I was thinking about past years and where I was at this time.  One memory that stood out to me happened a year ago this month….

As a student at Family Birth Services in Dallas, TX, I had the special priviledge of working with many families who gave me the opportunity to practice and improve my midwifery skills. One such family had a sweet daughter just a couple of months after I arrived at FBS, and a year later they were anticipating the arrival of another baby. With the second pregnancy, they chose me to be their midwife, which was made extra special because of assisting with the previous birth.

Early on in the pregnancy, during one of the prenatal visits, we found that the baby’s heart rate was much lower than what it was supposed to be. Being concerned, we immediately went for a sonogram, and the prognosis did not look good. Knowing there was not much we could do, the decision was made to wait and see what happened, and in the mean time this family took their situation to their church and family for prayer.

To make a long story short, after several weeks of monitoring the baby’s condition, things slowly improved, and by the time it came close for this little one’s delivery, the sonographer could not find anything wrong! What an answer to prayer! In the back of our minds, however, there was still a question of whether or not the baby would be normal, due to the amount of time that had lapsed with the decreased HR.

After a very quick birth, which we midwives flew to get to, a precious little girl was born.  Her color was great from the beginning, and she appeared perfect during the newborn exam. Today she is still healthy and beautiful, and a testimony of how God answers prayer and heals….

When I went for the two day home visit, big sister was excited about showing off the baby!

When I went for the two day home visit, big sister was excited about showing off the baby!