Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ruth's letter with pictures

Dear Friends,

I guess that this letter isn’t late because it is coming just as frequently as any other letters that we sent. I am very sorry for the lack of correspondence. As you know we are very busy here. It is sort of hard to write letters to you all because of the nature of what we do here. We study textbooks and learn about midwifery – that is not interesting and you don’t want to hear about that; and we work in the clinic and catch/deliver babies – how can I tell about birth? Can’t describe it!

I will just try to describe to you a little chunk of my life that was particularly CRAZY (leaving out any details that would not be appropriate).

It started with night shift. When I arrived at 10 pm I got a patient. She was in strong labor and I stayed up all night with her. I had seen her previously in prenatals and we really had a connection. She did not deliver till 6:54 am. Shift ends at 6 am, but I stayed with my patient because if I didn't she probably would have gotten transported to the hospital because she was exhausted and the midwives coming on shift did not know her story, etc. (and also I liked her). As soon as the new supervisor arrived on shift (she is also one of my favorites) she want to transport. Heather (the supervisor from night shift. An American) stayed over just to be there for my patient. It was special. She helped coach my patient to push. You should have seen her. She was SO exhausted and had NO energy. Her husband was taller than I, and super sweet and supportive of his wife. He did not want to have to go to the hospital. The patient was sobbing because she was so happy after the baby came out. Heather was also teary eyed. The birth affected all of us. It did not seem like the baby would ever come out and when it did we were all soo… It is hard to describe the feelings after a baby is born!

So.... I got home at 10:30 am from staying awake all night. I went straight to bed and got up at 3 pm because I had a postpartum check-up for another one of my patients. After I did two postpartum checks, my continuity (a patient that is my patient from prenatals all the way through) came to the clinic -- that was at 4 pm. I then stayed for all of swing shift and stayed awake all night again. My continuity delivered at 3:19am, plus another of my continuities came in and delivered at 2:12 am. I delivered two babies only 1 hour and 7 minutes apart!! And I delivered 3 babies in 24 hours. I came home and slept from 10am to 7 pm. I was SO tired but very happy that both of the women were able to deliver at our clinic and that I was able to partake in their birth.

The one continuity really has a sad story. She is only 17 years old and was raised by her grandmother. She is not grown up. She really is a baby herself. Labor was very painful for her and, on top of that, it was really long. She would say, "Ruth, help me. Ruth, help me." Then she would have a contraction. She was pleading with me, but there really was nothing I could do. She had to be the one to deliver her baby. Afterwards she said, "I am never having another baby." She had a baby boy that was 8 lb. 4 oz.!!

Yesterday I printed my assignment and cooked dinner for our house. I made chili, cornbread, salad and rice. It was delicious. We have a cook that cooks on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. It is SO great even though it is not exactly what we would like (she uses things like pig fat and corn starch and MSG, but she does not use them all the time). It takes off a large burden to have her come and she is so sweet and really wants to help us. We are still in the adjustment phase, but we would much rather have her than have to do without her. Imagine having a full time job with over time, being in full time school, having to shop and cook for 20 some people, and trying to have relationships and get along with people while maintaining a relationship with God. It is not easy.

We appreciate your prayers for us tremendously. There are times when I can feel like someone must be praying for me. I feel so blessed to be able to serve here and learn to be a midwife and be supported by you.

I know without a doubt that I am so blessed to be able to learn midwifery in a Christian setting on the mission field in a foreign country and have so much clinical experience!! I have done over 300 prenatal check-ups and have caught 45 babies – not to mention the number of births that I have been able to be involved in and observe. I am learning so much!

Midwifery is really one of the best tools to be able to get into a woman’s life (and therefore the life of her family) and transcend any and all barriers to the gospel. When you are a woman’s midwife there are no barriers. For a woman to trust you and allow you to deliver her baby, she really can’t have any barriers, and what kind of gratitude will she feel toward you after you have assisted her in bringing a new life safely into the world and supporting her in her time of need. I have seen it happen, women are so open and accepting to a woman who has gone through something like birth with her.

I am planning (in God’s will) to use my midwifery and whatever training I get, on the mission field. There are so many open doors and so many needs that have presented themselves. There are many missionaries who have specifically asked for a Christian midwife to come and work in their area. As of now, I don’t have a certain place that I feel “called” to, but I really would like to work in the Ivory Coast alongside of my family. Our dreams of what we could do are so many that it would be impossible to do them alone. We have thought of starting a maternity clinic and a girl’s home/center.

Things that it would be wonderful if you would pray with us about:

v God’s leading and direction in what He would have for the future.

v For our health (Of course, this is a constant. Without good health, it is hard to function).

v For relationships with people. God would lead us to give Biblical advice when the situation arises.

v Our schooling/learning. We would be able to keep up with the academics.

There are more things that I could think of, but that is enough for now.

Thank you so much,

Ruth Cuthbertson

“Not that I speak in regard to need for I have learned in whatsoever state I am to be content. I know how to be abased and I know how to abound, everywhere and in all things, I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”

~ Philippians 4:11-12

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