Join in my experience as a midwife intern in the Philippines

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.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Off to the Bukid

Phew-- I got hit hard (along with 4 other house mates) by a weird flu that left me flat on my back with a fever for 2 days. Thankfully I got to recover at my aunt and uncles house and they nursed me back to health. Glad that passed! I am recovered now and heading out to the mountains today for 4 nights to do an out reach there. I will be with out internet, but I will remember everything and make a big ol' post later.

I am missing my valentine today!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

It's Baby Time!

So, things have been going great here lately. We celebrated Mercy's 15th birthday on February 8th with FREE BIRTHS for anyone who came in. Too bad we only had 2 woman deliver, they were still very grateful though.

The following day I worked the day shift (6am-2pm) and it was the busiest day I have seen since being here. I caught another baby at 10:59am :)We had 3 births on day shift and endorsed most of their post partum care along with 3 more labors and 2 births onto swing shift (2pm-10pm). It was so neat to get to be apart of birth, I really feel privileged to share this with these women.

Cute right?

This is Nicola, my second baby catch. The picture below is Nicola on her one day baby check

Isn't this baby just the cutest thing you've ever seen?!?

Aw, there is nothing more precious. I love that I get to hold little things like this every day, it is warmth to my soul

Today I went on outreach to Agdao with some Mercy girls and we did prenatals to women there. We were upstairs of a church and it was hot, hot, hot.

Here is Slyvette being silly on our exam bed

Beth, Ate Jhobbee, and Slyvette all talking with our little 13 year old girl

Here I am doing health teaching and explaining the signs of true and false labor. This girl was a sweet little 17 year old and she came with her other pregnant friend who was only 13... which is the youngest I have seen so far