I don't know why I expect anything less than a roller coaster ride, but sometimes I am still surprised by the highs and lows that are experienced in a matter of hours in this country. In a condensed look back on the last couple of days, here are some of the ups and downs ...
(Up) On Wednesday night we had Kim and Patrick and Solomon over for dinner. We instantly all liked each other and had a very fun evening of fellowship. We're anxious to get together again soon. Hurray for new friends!
(Down) EDH claims we owe them $1,300 U.S. but we just paid them $1,200 U.S. They came and cut the line into our box. We're not very pleased with their service practices. There is nothing that concerns them less than our displeasure.
(Up) On Thursday we went up to Healing Hands for Haiti. A friend from Minnesota is very involved in leadership of the organization and suggested that I could possibly get help if I went to talk to an Orthotist friend of his that is in town working at HHH for two weeks. This organization does great work in Haiti, they are "dedicated to fostering the expansion and quality of rehabilitation services for the benefit of physically disabled adults and children in Haiti. We believe that the best way to serve the people of Haiti is to enable them to serve themselves." I have been struggling a ton with injury and severe pain since the Twin Cities Marathon. My custom orthotics are five years old and have clearly broken down to a point that they are not helping me anymore. I was able to meet up with Nathalie and she took them apart and gave me a temporary solution by rebuilding them a bit. Noah went with us and was totally amazed by the prosthetic arms and legs that he saw. He asked if they could make him a "fake head" - we have been teasing him about it every since. It was a blessing to see the work they are doing and so great to have help getting through the rest of this marathon training with new arches for my flat feet. Many thanks to Al and Nathalie for the help.
(Down) When I got to Women's Program a little late yesterday (because of my appt. at HHH) the scene was a bit overwhelming. There was a brand new 15 year old that is already about 7 to 8 months pregnant. Listening in on her interview was discouraging. She is such a baby emotionally it was hard to think that she and her 17 year old boyfriend will soon be responsible for another life. We fast-tracked her into the program to try to get her some support from the older more experienced moms in our group. She needs your prayers.
(Up) The ladies have been coming earlier and earlier on Thursdays. There is an excitement in the air when they come in. At 11:50 about half of the class had arrived. The rest were all in place long before the teaching began. In Haiti that sort of prompt arrival and adherence to a time schedule is unheard of - and encouraging!
(Up) Marie Lucie had arrived in labor at about 10:30 and was all settled into the labor room. There were volunteers to help us with her while we tried to juggle all the situations at once. They did a great job of rubbing her back and comforting her all through the afternoon.
(Down) A 26 year old lady came asking to give her baby up for adoption. Beth asked Paige and I to talk to her and get the story and the information that John would need. She was so sad and matter of fact it was heartbreaking. She had one glass eye due to an injury as a child. She was pregnant for the 6th time. Of the five children she has already had, one died. She is certain that she cannot and will not keep the baby due soon. We talked to her about the harsh reality that children placed for adoption might never be heard from again and tried to really help her understand what that decision would mean. She did not waver and has an appointment to speak with John next week. The gravity of that decision was overwhelming to talk through with her.
(Up) Joanna, an experienced midwife that is here for 8 months helping us get all settled into the new Birthing Center ministry taught class. She taught the ladies that they can PLAN and take control of when they have their babies. She taught them about allowing their bodies to recover from one baby before having another. They sat in rapt attention learning all the ways their bodies change in 9 months and all the recovery time it takes to go back to pre-pregnancy condition. They seemed totally empowered learning that with birth control and planning they could take a couple years (or more) in between babies and in turn can improve their overall health and ability to provide for their children.
(Down) One of the ladies in the program had a 45 minute labor on Monday. Obviously that was far too quick for her to get anywhere. She had her baby girl at home. When she came with the baby yesterday we learned that she had not been nursing the baby regularly. Beth just about burst into tears of frustration, not understanding how she missed all the teaching and encouragement she had received over the months in our program. (For all of us this was a big low, it is hard to realize that something you thought was getting through - was not.) We spent the next two hours trying to convince her that two or three minutes of nursing on each side is not sufficient and that the baby needs so much more time than she is giving her.
(Up) At 10:51 pm after a brave and beautiful day of laboring, Marie Lucie gave birth to a healthy, big, beautiful baby boy. Within two minutes of his birth Marie Lucie said, "Give him to me, I need to nurse him right away." That one sentence saved the day. A first time, 22 year old Mom that heard the teaching and believes that colostrum is good for her baby and ASKED to get busy feeding her baby. The delivery was perfect, she was encircled by love and concern. It was exactly the reason the program exists ... a young first time mom was offered tools and support along the way, then bringing a healthy baby into the world surrounded by people who care for her and want to see her succeed. Hopefully these experiences communicated to Marie Lucie, 'You are important. You are precious.' Not because we say you are, but because Jesus says you are.
One last (UP) My baby sister is one year older today. Happy Birthday Tina Elise. I love you so very, very, very much. I miss you even more than that.