Friday, October 23, 2009

Request for Donations

My time at the Ruel Foundation is drawing to a close (faster than I'd like to admit ;) I've had a really great time here learning about how to catch babies, but I've also learned a lot about how a maternity clinic and orphanage is run. This experience has made me very grateful to those who've dedicated their lives to making sure these facilities continue to run smoothly in order to meet a very real need here in the Philippines. God is doing good things here!

I've been thinking and praying a lot lately about how I could continue to help this organization even after I leave and decided that I'd like to send a box of supplies back here shortly after I get home. So, I thought it would be great to start a collection of donations. If you feel so inclined, The Ruel Foundation could use your donations! I'm including a list of donations of the clinic's and orphanage's needs. I'd also like to ask that if you were considering getting me a Christmas present, that you'd consider donating something on the list instead. Of course, money is also always welcomed ; )

List of Birthing Clinic Needs:

-latex and non/latex exam gloves (small or medium)
-sterile gloves (sizes 6-7.5)
-lubricating jelly (i.e. KY Jelly)
-fitted single bed sheets and standard pillow cases (white is the preferred color as they bleach everything, but any color works) Gently used is ok.
-standard digital thermometer (in Fahrenheit)
-vitamins (pre-natal and iron)
-baby blankets
-baby hats
-baby clothes
-cord clamps
-sutures (absorbable)
-adult diapers
-chux pads
-large towels (preferably white)
-small towels (preferably white)
-face clothes (preferably white)

List of Orphanage Needs:

-baby/kid clothes (the orphanage takes children from birth up until 6 years)
-disposable diapers
-wet wipes
-plastic baby bottles

Here's baby Santino! At only 3 months, he's the youngest orphan in the orphanage! We all love cuddling and playing with him.

Here's a family we visited on a postpartum visit!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I would be amiss if I didn't include at least one blog proclaiming how awesome midwifery and natural birth is! So, here it goes, my attempt (with some fun quotes from Ina May Gaskin) to scream from the roof top the benefits of midwifery, natural and woman-centered birth.

A question I often get when others find out I'm considering becoming a midwife is "what are the benefits of using a midwife?" and "why would one want a natural child birth especially when you could feel no pain with an epidural?"

A midwife literally means "with-woman" and approaches the labor process and child birth itself very differently from an obstetrician. Midwives view childbirth as a natural process that has been around since the beginning of time (yes, that means before epidurals, iv's, and hospitals!). They view a woman's body as perfectly capable and especially made, in fact, to successfully carry and birth a baby. This means that medical intervention is considered inappropriate unless a true emergency warrants it.

"Your body is not a lemon. You are not a machine. The Creator is not a careless mechanic. Human female bodies have the same potential to give birth well as aardvarks, lions, rhinoceros, elephants, moose, and water buffalo. Even if it has not been your habit throughout your life so far, I recommend that you learn to think positively about your body." pg. 141-142*

Thus, when women assume a pain-free, hospital birth is the best way, as most women I know do, it leads me to ask 2 questions: Is pain bad and does each woman not view her own body as capable of storing and birthing a baby without another's intervention? Of course no one enjoys pain, but we all too often underestimate a woman's ability to deal with pain during one of the most natural processes.

Then there's the issue of high induction of labor rates in the hospitals in the U.S.

"With so many inductions taking place, a common misconception has arisen that obstetricians are now able to start labor at will, with no disadvantages from the procedures used." pg. 207

Potential harms to mother from induction

"Women tend to have harsher, stronger, significantly more painful contractions with chemically induced labors, so one who can cope with a spontaneous labor often finds that she needs pain medication to bear the more-insistent contractions of an induced one." pg. 208

-woman's mobility is impaired because induction requires drugs given through an IV, which means IV tubing and stand to lug around

-increased postpartum blood loss

Potential harms to baby from induction

-the longer, stronger contractions mentioned above contract the umbilical cord thus decreasing oxygen-rich blood to the fetus

-"A cesarean is more likely to take place in an induced labor than in one that begins naturally." pg. 209

-doctor-caused prematurity is more often likely to take place as doctors induce labor prematurely based on a woman's due date (which is often not exact or all together wrong)

-an induced labor more often leads to a vacuum-extractor or forceps delivery of a baby than a non-induced labor

I know this is a lot, so I'm gonna stop for now!

Here's a funny quote to leave you with:

"There is no other organ quite like the uterus. If men had such an organ, they would brag about it. So should we." Ina May Gaskin in Ina May's Guide to Childbirth.

*all quotes by Ina May Gaskin taken from Ina May's Guide to Childbrith

Here are some pics of me with the first baby I caught all by myself without hands on assistance from a midwife! It was the middle of the night, so I definitely look like I've been up for a long time, but the baby is so cute!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Kickin it in the 'pines!

Here are some pictures of life as I've experienced it in the Philippines thus far. Enjoy!

Rice! It's what's for lunch and dinner. It's what's in every field and continually harvested. It is the life blood of the Philippines.

Here is a rice field. After harvest, the farmers burn the remaining stalks/plants.

View of in front of the staff house I am staying in.


Typical street view on way into the city.

A house on one of the postpartum visits. It was raining a lot. Notice all of the water!!

Bridge we had to cross to get to one of the houses on a postpartum visit.

Walking to a postpartum

Me and Jokes, our fearless driver to the postpartums : )

Many families own pigs here. Yay for breastfeeding ;)

This animal is called a Caribou, or also known as a water buffalo. They help the farmers plant and harvest the rice. They're everywhere!

One of the families we visited had a baby kitten! It was pretty scraggly and thin, but oh so cute and playful.

Karina, Jenn and I took Aira to the only air-conditioned coffee shop in town, Starmaxx! It was to celebrate Aira's 7th birthday!
Here is something I should have posted a while back....a map of where I am : ) (Courtesy of Todd. Thanks Todd!)

View Larger Map

Saturday, October 03, 2009

I'm on a Boat

Hi All, Lest you think ALL I do is catch babies, here are some pics from a recent excursion to White Beach in Puerto Galera. It is a 2 hour journey north along the coast. We visited a waterfall, called Tamaraw Falls on our way. We went with the New Zealand short term missions team who is here for 10 days. Fun times!!

White Beach and our boat.

The Captain. I really wanted to sit there!!

Super attractive, I know ; )

One of the guys from the New Zealand team brought an underwater camera.

After our swim some of us ate fresh coconut! Delish : )

Monday, September 28, 2009

Everyday's a beautiful day for a birth

This is how I am awaken sometimes in the middle of the night: by a text from the birth phone at the birthing clinic stating:

"Gud am, we have labor now, g2p1, 6cm, 80effaced,+1, membrane intact, vital's normal" Text sent at 3:29am. Could there be a better reason to get up at 3am than to help participate in the miracle of a birth?! I'm pretty thrilled to be so fortunate to receive such texts and participate in these life giving events.

I've finally, officially caught my first baby! He was born September 23rd at 11:13pm and he is beautiful! Of course, Sherina, our head midwife helped me catch him, but it still felt wonderful to actually have this hands-on experience.

Meet King Adrian! Yes, that's his real name!! Isn't he beautiful?

Here I am doing the baby check on him. After every birth, the baby is immediately placed on the mother's belly until the cord is clamped (the cord is clamped after it stops pulsating, usually about 5-10 minutes after birth). Once the cord is clamped, the baby is placed at the mother's breast to breastfeed. It is only after the baby has breastfed and bonded with the mom for about 1 hour that we do our routine baby check.

After the baby check, which includes obtaining the baby's length, weight, head circumference, etc, we dress the baby in clothes provided by the family. Every baby here wears mittens and booties and gets wrapped like a little burrito! Here is me and the little cutie pre-wrap!

Here I am with 2 of the midwives that assisted in this delivery. Rose is on the left and Grace on the right. The clinic has 5 Filipino midwifes and 2 western midwives.

And here's the little bundle, all wrapped up, snuggling next to mom, and ready to sleep after such a hard day's work : )

Here I am at the first post-partum visit doing our mom and baby check-ups! Both him and his mom are going really well!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

And the pictures continue...I eat fist usually once a day!

And here are some pictures of the children in the orphanage.

This little girl came to the orphanage severely malnourished about 1 month ago. She was very depressed and with a very flat affect. It's only within the last week that she started to smile and cry. The Ruel Foundation really does a nice job of
making the kids healthy.

I haven't had a chance to take too many photos of me helping at the birthing clinic. For obvious reasons, the birthing process is of a sensitive nature and I've also been pretty busy helping out. But, here are some pictures from some postpartum visits that I've been on. The midwives visit each baby on day 1 and day 3 after a birth at the baby's house. I really love going on these as I get to see where and how people live here.

I get to meet the families of the birthing mother and they often offer us snacks, called meryenda. This baby in the picture on the left is the first birth I helped/assisted in here. I held the mothers legs during labor!