Saturday, September 18, 2010


It’s been a busy week. I’ve had my first assignment and test, my first Thai massage, a great shopping trip, bought a gym membership and saw two births! I can’t complain to much about that. 
I can complain that I didn’t do too well on my first exam. I have a chance to retake it on Monday. When I first found out I was pretty discouraged, but then I talked to my supervisor about it and she told me she didn’t do too well on most of her exams either, so I don’t feel as bad anymore. I’m still pretty disappointed in myself. I really thought I knew my stuff. I was so confidant that I would pass with flying colors. I think it’s time to learn a little humility. It’s funny, cause just last night I was praying for humility. I’ve found that I tend to have this attitude of “I’ve got it down pat. I know exactly what I’m doing.” I think that maybe, doing poorly on this exam that I though I knew so well is a little bit of God teaching me that I don’t know anything. I need to be humble because I don’t know it all. I don’t even know any of it! I know that I need to be teachable. But knowing that I need to be and actually being are two very different things. So please pray for me for humbleness. Pray that I won’t get cocky again. And pray that I do well on my retake on Monday.
In happier news, I got a gym membership this week. The gym is quite nice. It’s not too big, but has a lot of good, new equipment. I’ve gone twice so far and loved it. I feel so good after I work out! And there are trainers all over at the gym. They’re very helpful and I’m actually pretty grateful that they’re there! As a member at the gym I get a discount on the massages, can take the different classes they have, use their showers that actually have hot water... so on and so forth. I plan on taking the belly dancing classes that they have whenever I can. I found out recently that belly dancing originated as a way to teach women how to move their bodies during labor. When I have my own clinic one day, I will have belly dancing classes for the pregnant women. It’s going to be amazing.
I had a Thai massage on Friday. I didn’t really like it very much. It’s actually a little painful and not really my idea of a relaxing massage at all! There’s a lot of stretching involved and I did like that part, but then the masseuse presses really hard when massaging. I know deep tissue massages are supposed to be good for you, but ouch! I think I’ll stick with regular massages from here on out.
I’ve found a coffee shop I like. It will be mine, although I’m sure I’ll be sharing it with other students. I’ve found a church I like, but I’m going to keep looking I think, to try and find one that I really love. I’ve found chocolate and macaroni and cheese and Arizona tea. I think I’m really settling in, although I’m still working to find my rhythm. I need to procrastinate less. I need to be more proactive in actually doing things. I find that I do have time, I just tend to waste it. I need to be more proactive in my relationships here. I’ve been doing a bit better with that, but it’s easy to withdraw. It’s easy to plug in my headphones and hide in my room with my gnome. But a gnome, as good of a listener as he is, is not much in the way of emotional or spiritual support.
I’m starting to miss home a bit. I miss my church and friends and family and cat. I miss my kids that I worked with. I miss fall. I miss sunny days that aren’t 98 degrees and more humid then I would care to know. I miss being out late with friends, going to Taco Bell and then sitting on the back of my car and talking under the stars for hours. I’m over estrogenated. I have no male friends here. No one to talk about cars and action movies and hunting with. I miss sitting in on jam sessions with Dave and Clyde. 
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not crying myself to sleep every night or anything. I’m doing pretty well. I like it here. I’m just having a moment. I’ll be fine in the morning. Or in a day or two. Or when I have McDonald’s for dinner tomorrow. That’ll help. It’s just been a long week. And I’m on night shift at the clinic so I know it will be a long night. It’s slow right now. I hope things pick up. I could use a good birth or five to keep my mind of things until I can get some sleep. Thanks for all your prayers.
The next day:
I’ll finish what I was writing last night now... A woman came in shortly after I finished writing. She was 6cm dilated. She was adorable. She was shorter than me by about a foot and she was all belly. Her contractions were really strong, but they were short. They were strong enough to make her cry. I talked to the second year I was shadowing and we came to the conclusion that the baby’s head was really far down and pressing on her pubic bone and that was what was making it so painful.
The woman’s husband came in after a little while to help support her. He was very sweet to her. He fed her, held her, rubbed her back, wiped the tears from her eyes. I love getting to see the dynamics between a pregnant woman and her husband. It’s really beautiful.
She was walking with every contraction, which is very good. All’s she wanted to do was stand up and walk around. All night it was like this. Every few minutes she’d stand up and walk until her contraction was gone. Finally after six hours of labor she was ready to push. 
Most women give birth lying on their backs here. It’s just cultural. So it’s always a treat when you can convince a woman, or when she chooses to give birth in another position.  This woman gave birth in a supported squat. He husband held her from behind and with every contraction she would bear down. At 6:03 am she gave birth to a healthy baby girl. I didn’t get any pictures because I was too busy charting. Sometimes, if we don’t have a lot of people on shift, I end up doing a lot of charting, even though right now I’m only supposed to be observing. But we all help out wherever and whenever we can. And it’s good practice for when I really do have to start charting. Which should be soon. I have four more births to observe, then I get to chart for real.
Baby Thor
I did get pictures of something else though. The shift before mine had to transport a woman who had given birth because she was gushing blood. Her baby stayed at Mercy. So other than watching a birth, guess what I was doing all night? Babysitting an adorable newborn! He was a big, chunky baby. 8 pounds at least. He had no name yet so my supervisor dubbed him Thorton, or Thor for short. I got to take his vitals ever four hours and feed him every three. We made up some formula (which is quite a hassle) and then used a syringe to feed him. When I did get the chance to take a small nap I slept for about twenty minutes with him curled up on my belly. I wish someone had gotten pictures of us sleeping. It was cute!

So all in all it was a very good night. I had a little bit of angst at the beginning, but then the labor came in and I got to babysit, and I felt much better. It’s hard to be angsty when feeding a cute baby!

Syringe Feeding

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

An Adventure In Cooking. Also, Cheese.

I’m on cooking team this week. It’s been quite the adventure so far. Many of you know that I don’t do much cooking. I live on Spaghettios and grilled cheese sandwiches (Which is actually what I’m eating right now. Thanks for the Havarti Grandpa!)
So cooking for close to fifteen people is quite a challenge. 
I’d decided to make chicken noodle soup over mashed potatoes like my grandma did when I was a kid. Thanks to an intense craving on my part, and some intense patients on my mom’s I can make decent mashed potatoes. Chicken noodle soup is another story. I’ve never made my own chicken noodle soup. Leastwise that didn’t involve a can and a microwave and a lot of help from the Campbell’s family. But I decided to go for it. 
We (being Heidi and I) went to the market on Monday. We got all the veggies that we would need. Carrots, green onions and potatoes. I wanted celery as well, but we couldn’t find any. Does celery grow in the Philippines? I don’t know. Amber, the other girl on cooking team, went and picked up chicken and egg noodles from the grocery store. We had all the spices I thought I’d need at the house.
Tuesday at 5:30 pm Heidi and I started cooking. Peeling the potatoes took a lot longer than I’d expected. Our potato peeler was dull. It took an hour, but we got all six pounds of potatoes peeled and in the pot. We set those to boiling and then I started on the chicken. 
I had a simple recipe from the internet. It was very basic. I followed it pretty well. Chop the chicken, boil it with some salt and bouillon cubes, add the veggies and noodles. That went just fine. But it was a little bland so I decided to get fancy with the spices. A handful of salt, pepper, and lemon pepper later, it was ready to go.
Now we just had to wait for the potatoes. By this point they were almost soft enough to mash. We gave them another five minutes then drained them. I dumped them into the largest bowl we had. Heidi looked at me like I was nuts when I threw a whole block of butter into the mix. I reassured her that I know my mashed potatoes. 
We couldn’t find the electric mixer that is fabled to be in the kitchen somewhere so I grabbed the hand masher and went to town. I added some milk and salt. I burnt my knuckles on the steaming potatoes. And I hand mashed six pounds of potatoes into fluffy, creamy goodness. I was quite proud of myself. Two hours after we had started, dinner was finally ready.
Everyone said they loved the potatoes and soup. Some even went back for seconds! I was relived, and very happy. I had my doubts about how the meal was going to turn out. But I surprised myself and I make, if I do say so myself, a pretty awesome chicken noodle soup.
In other news, I got a package today! My Grandpa sent me cheese! It’s a whole block of pre sliced Havarti cheese! And it wasn’t even green! I’m very happy about that. It’s quite tasty. Thank you so much Grandpa!