Tuesday, 1 April 2014

A princess and her farm boy

Once upon a time there was a princess Stephanie, who also happened to be a missionary doctor serving in the bush of PNG.  She was introduced to a handsome "farm boy" named Andy.  The farm boy thought the princess was pretty cute, too, so he followed her to the end of the earth.  And there they fell in love.

The princess and her farm boy went on an adventure to a far off place called Dusin.  They climbed castle Rock, a mountain formation on the edge of the most beautiful valley in the whole wide world.  Seriously.  Can you guess what comes next in the story?  He asked.  She said, "Absolutely!"

In keeping with PNG tradition, the princess's lain (D-ward staff) held a bride price ceremony.  They killed a pig and cooked it in a mumu.  'Cause you can't have a bride price without pig meat and a big chonk-o-grease for the groom to be ;).  The princess was decorated with feathers and face paint.  She was presented in all her finery to the farm boy and his lain (the hydro guys).  Thus the engagement was official in both cultures!

The farm boy had heard about this thing called bride price.  He arranged for a rather generous one to be delivered to the princess's parents back in Ohio... 54 pigs, 12 chickens, 3 cows, 2 zebras, and 1 giraffe! There are animal balloons floating around their house to this day.

Dokta Steph and Andy Diehlmann will be beginning the biggest adventure of their lives on April 19th--marriage!

"See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland."
~ Isaiah 43:19

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Home assignment 2014--pretty much final schedule

Well, a lot has happened since my last post in September.  I am now on home assignment in the U.S., visiting friends and supporters and churches around the country.  Here is a list of the places that I will be stopping along the way...

January 7-29:  Intercultural Communication course at MVNU
January 5 AM:  Adrian COTN (MI)
January 12 AM:  Lakeholm COTN
January 12 PM:  Shepherd's House COTN
January 19 AM:  New Carlisle COTN
January 19 PM:  Crestline COTN
January 26 AM:  Lower Lights Community COTN
February 2 AM:  Castleton COTN (Indy)
February 2 PM:  Grace Point COTN (Indy)
February 5:  Fortville COTN (Indy)
February 8-9 AM:  New Castle 1st COTN (Indy)
February 9 PM:  Westside COTN (Indy)
February 12:  Livingston Christian Schools (MI)
February 12:  Fowlerville COTN (MI)
February 15-16 AM:  Fawn Grove COTN (MD)
February 23 AM:  Westridge COTN (TX)
February 25:  Small group JPS (TX)
February 26:  Cove COTN (TX)
March 1-16:  Arizona district tour
March 23 AM:  Brunswick COTN
March 23 PM:  Tiffin COTN
March 26:  Arlington COTN
March 30 AM:  Calvary COTN (WV)
March 30 PM:  Straight Creek COTN (KY)
April 6 AM:  Pickerington COTN

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Low birth weight week

Low birth weight means that a baby weighs between 1.5 and 2.5 kilograms at birth (3.3-5.5 pounds).  Very low birth weight is 1-1.5 kg (2.2-3.3 pounds).  And extremely low birth weight babies are less than 500 grams (1.1 pounds).

In developed countries where there is a NICU with ventilators and surfactant, super-specialists, and all sorts of medical technology, a baby who is born at 24 weeks gestation or about 500 grams is considered viable.

Our nursery doesn't have much in the way of fancy equipment.  It is a small, toasty room with one working warmer, a few baby beds, an oxygen concentrator, some IV tubing, NG tubes, one nurse or CHW or student, and lots of mamas taking care of their little ones.  Our 1.5+ kg babies (about 32 weeks gestation) have a pretty good chance of making it.  Get below 1.2 kg and the chances decrease rather quickly.  My smallest that has survived was 1 kg.  Baby of Diana!

Because of all the high risk OB over the last few weeks, we have babies that fit into every one of those weight categories described above--low, very low, and even extremely low.

Baby of Agnes (on the left with mom) was one of twins.  Mom delivered at home, as many PNG mothers do.  The babies were brought to the hospital after a couple of days because they weren't feeding well.  Both were small (1.3 kg) and sick with infection, so they were admitted to the nursery for antibiotics.  The first twin died shortly after admission.  The second one recovered from sepsis and has done really well... growing like a weed!

Serah (on the right with her baby) was admitted to the hospital at 32-33 weeks with PPROM.  Basically, her water broke too early.  After a couple of days on antibiotics and steroids, Serah went into labor.  The baby was delivered by c-section for breech presentation.  He weighed a whoppin' 1.7 kg!!!

Baby of Elis is another one who was born at home.  She was about 1.3 kg when she was brought to the hospital.  She has had a bit of a tougher course, still requiring oxygen and NG feeds.

Margaret was about 6 months pregnant when she started bleeding.  She came into the labor ward and was admitted for observation.  Several days later, she began to bleed so heavily that she passed out in a pool of her own blood.  I diagnosed her with a placental abruption.  The placenta was prematurely separating from the wall of the uterus.  We gave Margaret IV fluids and a blood transfusion to stabilize her condition.  She went into labor and delivered a 600 gram baby.  I had absolutely no hope that this little one would live more than a few minutes.  I was surprised to find that she was still alive several hours later.  Baby of Margaret was moved into the nursery where we cared for her until she was transferred to heaven--four days later.  I count every one of those days as a miracle!

When low birth weight babies grow to about 2.4 kg, they are discharged from the hospital.  I generally have them follow up with me a time or two to make sure that they are gaining weight.  After that they they go to the Maternal Child Health clinic for routine checks and immunizations.  I don't usually see them again unless they are sick.  This past week I saw one of "my babies" in the outpatient department.  Baby of Julie was about 1.8 kg when she was born.  Now she is almost 3 years old!!!  Her name is Cinderella :).  What a sweet encouragement after a week of craziness.

"So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow."
~ 1 Corinthians 3:7