After two days of orientation with the other missionary volunteers, I began shadowing in the office, the birth room and the prenatal clinic the middle of August. There are three wonderful ladies, Ate Melody, Ate Bebing and Ate AnAn who are in charge of running the office portion of Mercy, and they do an incredible job. After working in medical offices back in Canada, it was really fun for me to see how things are done here in the Philippines.
|Psalm 139:13 is written in Vasayan on the wall in our health teaching room|
The next day I was able to shadow in the prenatal clinic. Regular prenatal check ups are done Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:00am until 12:00pm, but the buntis (pregnant women) start arriving around 7:30am to have their blood pressure and weight checked and at 8:00am there is a devotion done and a health teaching by one of the midwives or volunteers on a variety of topics such as nutrition, fetal development or labor and delivery. Mondays are reserved for initial prenatal check ups and Thursdays are when various prenatal outreaches are done throughout the city. There are five prenatal beds separated by curtains and there are generally two Filipina midwives and three or four volunteers on a shift. The first time I attended the devotion time, I was completely overwhelmed with emotions and began to cry. It was such an incredible thing to look around and see the faces of these beautiful women, and to realize that after a year and a half of praying and planning, I was actually here. I remember watching a DVD from Mercy and seeing the health teaching room and the prenatal clinic and being so excited to come here and now it was real, I was actually a part of this.
|One of the prenatal beds|
Later that week I had the opportunity to shadow in the birth room which was also an amazing experience. There were no babies born on that shift, but I was able to get a feeling for the lay out of the birth room and learn how things are done. The women that deliver at Mercy are really taken care of and shown God's love by the midwives that work there and it is an honor to be able to volunteer alongside such gifted and talented midwives who love the women that come into the clinic and the batas (babies) who are born there.
|One of the birth beds with the birth carts ready to go|
|Another view of a birth bed|
|Where the baby checks and newborn screenings are done|
The following week I began my regular shifts in the birth room and prenatal clinic and I began my Visayan classes. Tagalog is the official language of the Philippines, but there are many other languages spoken throughout the country and Visayan is the most commonly spoken language on the island of Mindanao.
Right now a typical week includes one 8 hour birth room shift, one 4 1/2 - 5 hour prenatal clinic shift, and two 1 1/2 hour Vasayan classes. In October I will begin going on outreaches to do prenatal checkups away from the clinic every couple of weeks. There are many women who are simply unable to come to the clinic to get prenatal care for various reasons, so instead we go to them. It's a lot of work, but I am really enjoying myself and I am so thankful that Steve supports me 100% as I don't know how I would be able to do this if he didn't. It has definitely been a big change for me to go from being the primary parent to volunteering at the clinic on a regular basis and learning a new language. Please continue to pray for our family as we all adjust to new schedules and Steve and I adjust to new roles for ourselves.
Here are some pictures of the three babies that were born on my last birth room shift, two lalakes (boys) and one babaye (girl).
|This was the first little baby born on my shift at 7:52am|
|His mama had to be transported to the hospital so he hung out with us for a while|
|The little boy on the left was the second one born at 8:23am|
|Finally a little girl born at 9:02am|