Join in my experience as a midwife intern in the Philippines

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Home Sweet Home

It ended the same way it began, all together sharing a meal.

I am home and recovered from jet lag. I miss little things from the Philippines- the warmth, my roommates, holding little babies, the laughter of the Filipina midwifes, and my family there but I am enjoying being home.

Today Kayleigh leaves for a Spring break trip to San Diego and Natalie leaves for the Dominican Republic to do week long mission trip there. The Stromgren's are on the go!

Me? I am home with my dog--looking for work :) Daniel comes next week for a visit. Graduation in May, getting married in July...what a year!

Thank you for covering my trip in prayer. When ever I felt discouraged the Lord quietly reminded me (through an encouraging email, conversation, package, or skype call) that I am not alone and to press forward. So thank you!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

It's time

Tomorrow I leave...back to the states. The past 72 hours has been wonderfully busy and I am so thankful for every memory.

It started out with night shift on Friday night where a sweet 13 year old girl gave birth. The poor girl was only accompanied by her boyfriends 12 year old sister. Mere children alone doing something that is at least 10 years beyond them.

After shift I packed up and moved out the the green house (my house by Mercy) and came over to my Aunt's house. We left for the beach and had a wonderful quite beach day. We think everyone was concerned about the tsnuami watch so basically had the beach to ourselves...

The next day (Sunday) we went to church in the AM then went to an outdoor adventure place which is operated by the same people who run Mercy. We did the "repentor" zipline which was brand new and had only been open for a week which added some thrill!

This is how we flew-- SUPERMAN STYLE

Tomorrow I fly to Manila at 6 am, then to Seol Korea, then to Seattle. I arrive back in Seattle "before" I even leave the Philippines. Crazy time change. As Daniel would say " Goooo back in tiiiimee"

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Outreach to Agdao

Today I went on outreach to Agdao where we did prenatal exams and health teaching in a church there. I went with Nancy, Leanne (my aunt), and Ate Jhobee. It was so fun! Now I am on swing shift (pulling a double shift today).

I am wrapping things up here and actually feeling bitter sweet about it. The transition here was hard. I was required to jump into life here as the other students had been here for 6 months already. I have gotten used to cold showers, hot days, lots of noise, lots of bodily fluids, and really made some great friends. I am so thankful for spending time with my family here and getting to be apart of their daily life and ministry. My uncle has been in Indonesia for the past 2 weeks and has 2 more left. My aunt, cousin and I have enjoyed a lot of girl time baking, sewing, playing piano together, and just enjoying each other's company. I am thankful for my time here and I look forward to what God will teach me even after I leave.

I CAN'T WAIT to see Daniel. It has been 3 long months, we're both getting really sick of skype. I look forward to being home and spending time with my family and have a little normalcy in life again.

I am thankful for the experience to see beyond the 4 walls of my little world in the US. My heart has softened here. I see a lot of pain, but I also see a lot of joy. It is so clear that that joy comes from the Lord. I get goose bumps seeing God work here. In certain cases during birth we will be praying out loud, anyone in the room will be praying for wisdom, strength, help, anything.

Outside the church in Agdao (l-r: Aunt Leanne, Nancy, Me, Jhobee)

Me and my Aunt (Dad's sister)

Checking heart tones

This is my 6th baby catch. Here we are smootchin' the little babe. This was at his 3 day baby check.

Monday, March 7, 2011

This is a long and random post

This sign just makes me laugh, it is culturally appropriated yet not appreciated to pee where ever you want (men).

The Chinese New Year dragon chased me down at the mall

Holla at ya' Kentucky

Ah, this is my FAVORITE family, they are so sweet! This is Queen Evolet from an earlier post. This picture is from one of their baby checks, all is healthy with their little Queen and momma. I also got to give them a wonderfully embroidered outfit that Cindy sent me! They loved it :)

This was quite the morning. Genevive, a former midwife at Mercy delivered her baby so of course all her midwife friends were there. Her husband was our driver when we went to the bukid, so I was glad I got to be there too.

One of the health teachings we do is family planning...a very important topic!
This cock roach decided to turn belly up right on Hannah's pillow,
how sweet

Monday, February 28, 2011


The bajau people are an ethnic group here in the southern Philippines. For most of their history, the bajau have been known as sea gypsies living on houses on stilts by the sea. This is a picture of a Bajau lady signing her birth certificate. Since they don't know how to write, nor do they have a signature and sometimes a name, they sign with their thumb print. The signature above is my supervisors and then her thumb print is below. It is difficult to fill out the birth certificate because they do not know their age, address, occupation, or anything. They are very nice, however they speak a language that not even the Filipinos can understand. They do not have money at all. Rarely have they ever paid their bill which is between 7-12$. We don't mind, we are just really happy to help them with their delivery. They are considered the poor of the poor. One time we had a lady leave us 50 pesos (about $1.25). Then she told us to give her 50 pesos to get home. Hehe

Saturday, February 26, 2011

from life's first breath...

I have the amazing privilege of not only witnessing but assisting in the bringing of a human into this world. I literally watch 1 (rather large) person become 2. How beautiful, perfect, and divine it is.
I have now caught 5 babies.
To recap the past 3:

Marites-- A sweet, sweet momma. She gave birth to her second boy (and my first). Charle was born at 7:02 on February 21st 2011.
She was amazing, breathing and controlling her pushes. Her bana, on the other hand, had his body in the cubicle holding her hand and his head out in between the curtains. Hilarious.
Anyways, we had a team of missionaries visiting from where
else.... Washington State. It was neat for them to see this birth
and we all got a group shot afterwards.

#4 On Friday, February 25th I experienced the scariest birth so far. Cayrol came in around 10:15am super active. We brought her right back to the beds and I took her vitals as fast as I could. She wanted to push, so she pushed. Head came out fine. As I reached in to grab his shoulders he was stuck. As soon as I realized I couldn't get him, my supervisor spun her to the end of the bed and tried to pull. Poor fellow was stuck head out for 3 minutes. We call this shoulder dystocia when the shoulders get stuck on the pelvic bone. It was slightly strange because this was her 7th baby. However, I think that God sent her into Mercy that day on purpose because all her other births were at home with a hilot (helper). That would not have gone well with this guy. Ate Ermie finally got him and he had obvious signs and symptoms of distress. Without question we decided to transport him to the hospital. THEN her placenta was still strongly attached after 30 minutes so we transported her too. Maria and I carried the mom, baby, husband, and one of their kids to the ambulance and to the hospital. Rather traumatic and I defiantly do not have pictures of this one.

# 5 Today (February 26th) was a busy day at MMC. Around 9:30am we
had 4 labors walk in all in within 15 minutes of each other, all extremely active. My little lady was Hazel, a G4P3 now (4th pregnancy, 3rd child--her last pregnancy was a miscarriage) She was SUPER sweet and her bana was hilarious and cute, always making her laugh and smile. She came in 7cm dilated and by 10:40a SROM (water broke) by 10:41 I was supporting the head and 10:42 baby out! A precious little girl who was named....guess....
QUEEN Evolet

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

Outreach to the Bukid!

This is long overdue, but I finally have time to sit down are recap on my amazing adventure to the bukid. We were traveling through the mountains (bukid) for 5 days. I can defiantly say this is one of the highlights of my time here so far!

We left on a Monday and let's just say we had a rough start considering 3 of the other girls had to work the night shift the night before and I was just getting over the flu. Eventually we caught the bus, jeepney, and then met Mary Jean who had moter's and drivers for us to go to her village Tagpopoot.

Here is an action shot of our ride up the mountains. The moter rides were a highlight of the trip, it was like hours of off roadin'!

Here we go!

Our drivers were friends of Mercy and they drove us to the 3 villages through out the week. They are super talented drivers to able to balance those bikes up the mountain roads in rain, shine, mud, and night time!

The "trunk"

Late night working on our health teachings

These 3 had been up for over 24 hours! Hannah conked..

Waiting for the motor's to take us up to the mountains!

Our transportation

I don't know why this is on here twice but I can't get it off for some reason

How cute is the inside of Mary Jeans house! She is a midwife who works for the government and travels to villages Monday-Friday to reach the women who without her would not have any care.
The view from Mary Jeans porch in her village of Tagpopoot
We love mosquito nets!
Community well--super cute!
Me being buntis

After an hour motorcycle ride up, up, up the mountains we reached the health center in Gupipan.
We set up right away and started our heath teaching on Filarisis and nutrition

Here I am being a healthy buntis who eats lots of protein and veggies. The community really loves to watch us act and it is an efficient way to teach even if there is a language barrier. After health teaching we did prenatal exams for the pregnant women for about 4 hours then packed up and drove a couple hours on our motors to the next village

Our second village stop, Ocapan
Our bags and sleeping room in Ocapan

Ate Mary Jean and our drivers Kuya Juney and Kuya Ronnie cooked every meal for us!

Tropical rain is intense and defiantly does not help our drying laundry

This is Princess, we stayed at her house at the second village we went to, Ocapan

Health teaching in Ocapan

This little girl is an orphan and being raised by the village women-- how stinkin' cute is she?

Here we are doing a skit about health nutrition for the "buntis" (pregnant). I have a healthy size baby.

And here is my healthy sized baby...they thought this was sooo funny

They loved our skits :)

We went swimming at this pool on our last day here, it had been raining all day and I felt cold for my first time here...I can't tell if I liked that or not...

Align Center
Karaoke is ever popular here and there is no avoiding it...I think I am singing "We are the World" here which makes me think of Alison Tinsley b/c she loved this song and would play it on repeat in our apartment in Morehead!

Hannah, Willow and me eating the fruit off cocoa seeds

The next day we packed up and stopped by the mayors office to thank him for letting us into his villages. He served us coffee which was a treat and thanked us for our time and work. We then made the 3 hour trip back to Mercy. Overall it was such an eye opening experience and I really felt like I got to experience the beauty of the Filipino culture.