Friday, September 28, 2007

"Our" little corner of the world...

This is a nice satellite image of Uruguay, if you follow the river (dark lines on the upper right angling down and on the left moving pretty much straight down) you will see the natural bounderies of Uruguay from Brazil and Argentina. The mouth of the Rio de la Platte (the brown patch of water) is the area in which we live. Look at the beginning of the brown, follow the coastline up to the point in the land, that is Colonia del Sacramento. That gray patch of "land" almost directly across the water is Buenos Aires, Argentina. On clear days we can see the city skyline as well as see the city lights at night.

As you lok at this image please pray with us that God will use us, and the believers here in Uruguay, to reach the hearts of the people that call Uruguay home. As well as the many visitors from abroad.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Royal Gala

Princess Isabel requests the honor of your presence, on Saturday the 15th of September, at two in the afternoon, for the Gala celebration of her Fourth Birthday.

The Royal guests: Priscila, Debora, Adeline, Cesia and her honor Princess Isabel.

Being surrounded by royalty is a daunting thing, especially when the said royalty are all under eight years of age. Isabel asked to have a princess birthday party with her new friends from Peru, also on the guest list were her sisters and Priscila Perez.

Our Princesses enjoyed an afternoon of fun while they colored, played "Princess, where is your crown?", and decorated their very own crowns.

Following that we brought out a cake fit for a princess sang Happy Birthday in English and Spanish then Isabel blew out her candles.

A word of warning to those daring souls whose cute little girls smile sweetly while requesting a princess doll cake - you have a LOT of work ahead of you, but the joy all over her face will be well worth the effort!

This is Isabel ready to open her presents on her actual birthday, September 13th. Those cards all came from the States from family and supporting churches.
By the way Isabel was excited to hear that the third baby was born on her birthday. (see Embarazadas post)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Happy Birthday Isabel

Isabel was our first, and remains that, baby born in the morning. She was also born as hurricane Isabel (purely coincidental that they share the same name) headed for the North Carolina coast. Because my delivery with Nehemiah was so quick we decided along with our midwife to have her delivered at home. I had a wonderfully easy three hour labor with a single contraction delivery. And I was left very thankful that we had decided for a home birth as she would have been born there anyway.

Isabel's delivery sure was nice for me but it wasn't so good for her. She was a solid 8 pounds, even though she had just reached term, 37 weeks. But her rapid birth plus slightly immature lungs set her up for major problems. Though she would go back and forth between blue and pink her hands and feet remained a deep blue. She wouldn't cry, nor would she nurse, the only thing she did was maintain a low moaning sound. This certainly caused concern for Scott and I as well as our midwife. After she had a grey spell we rushed her to the pediatricians office.

Our doctor couldn't get a good blood oxygen reading so we headed to the ER just to have her Blood O2 levels checked. As her levels were being checked her saturation suddenly dropped from the 80's (not good) into the low 50's (very bad). They rushed her off with Scott following close behind. She was put on Oxygen which helped her pink up right away. Her blood O2 levels stabilized and it was decided she would stay the night for observation.

The next afternoon they decided to do a room air test and since her numbers stayed high they kept her off the O2. Less than 30 minutes later she began moaning and had another grey episode, back onto the O2 she went. However, she just plummeted from there. In the wee hours of Monday morning they decided she needed to be transferred to Charlotte by helicopter.

As the hospital worked out the arrangements the nurses began to prep her for the flight. I was heartbroken as I watched the nurses make attempts to get an IV into her arms then her legs only to give up and wait for the transfer team. The ambulance team arrived after they found a good vein in her head they did their pre-transfer preparations which included giving her a medicine to open up a valve in her heart. I was able to ride with Isabel in the ambulance to Charlotte as her airlift was changed to a regular ambulance because the air teams were all out on other emergencies.

When we arrived they rushed her through the hospital and I watched her disappear behind the doors of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit while I was told to stay in the waiting room. Finally, someone came out to explain the rules of PICU and the tests they were planning to run - ECG, Strep B, Meningitis, among others. I was also told that she was very jaundiced and would be under Bili lights. I was asked a lot of questions regarding her birth and my prenatal care and was told that I could not nurse her, touch her, or even speak to her. I could spend a few minutes with her every 4 hours. In addition, Scott and I were told that because of the time at such low oxygen levels that she likely would suffer from brain damage. I was devastated!

Just hours later the nurses called me to her bedside for what I thought was going to be a grim announcement. They explained that many of their restrictions were due to questions of negligence regarding the home birth that had since been cleared up. She had shown dramatic improvement and I was allowed to nurse and spend time with her. God really worked in her little body that night and she was sent to the regular pediatric floor on Tuesday afternoon. Several times that week they did room air tests that she kept failing. It turned out that the nasal cannula was obstructing room air so they pulled that to the top of her nose for her last room air test on Friday morning. She passed, with flying colors, and was released to go home.

Every time we took her in for well baby checks our doctor was amazed that she was hitting the normal milestones without any problems. During her first appointment her doctor told us that when she was sent to Charlotte he had very little hope for her survival, let alone for her to be without any handicaps. Praise God, she has never had any problems with learning delays or any disabilities. The only thing we have experienced with her is some asthma like episodes and an allergy to Cashews.

Now I have a confession to make: Throughout my entire pregnancy I really, really struggled. When I found out I was expecting Isabel, Nehemiah was just 9 months old, plus Adeline was only two. I was overwhelmed with the thought of having another baby. There were only a handful of days that I didn't struggle to accept God's will in giving me another child so soon. However the moment she was born I loved her without question. And I was greatly concerned over her condition.

I remember telling Scott, in Charlotte, that I knew God was punishing me for my sinful attitude. I thought for sure God was going to take her, or leave us with a severely handicapped child. Thankfully, I have a Godly husband, and friends, who were able to correct my wrong thinking. They reminded me to think Biblically and focus on the character of God as well to trust Him and rest in His plan. I found myself relating with Job, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him." Job 13:15 and God brought to mind many other verses and songs about resting in Him, trusting in Him and keeping my eyes on Him.

Now four years later, I reminisce as I look through her scrapbook about that first week of her life and remember all that God brought her, and us, through. Certainly the sadness is still palpable as I look at her blue little body and I recall all the emotions - the despair, joy and relief. Yet, I hope that I never will forget to rely on the Lord as I learned to do those first few days of her life.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Another thought...

Habakkuk ends in a song. One that sings of Habakkuk's change of heart. His circumstances didn't change, and in a way they got worse, but His heart did change and as a result he had the peace of God that passes all understanding. I'm so thankful to God for song and how when we sing to Him, or of Him, it changes our perspective. So many Hymns that we sing in church today that touch our hearts were penned by the authors in times of great despair in their lives. They share a perspective of God that can only be seen through trials.

In probably every difficult circumstance I have been through I could sing you a song that God has given me. Hymns such as Be Thou My Vision, It Is Well With My Soul as well as sacred music songs Almighty Unchangeable God, Bow the Knee and more. With these songs God has always given me a Scripture passage or verse. Proving He is always there with me through the trials!

Hopefully, you aren't getting tired of hearing about Habakkuk but I need to share something else about what I learned through this study Moving from Fear to Faith by Nancy Leigh DeMoss*. One of the things she mentioned was that the thing that changed for Habakkuk was not his circumstances but his heart. Everything pivoted on his faith.

Can you imagine going to God needing answers begging Him to change your circumstances and the answer you get is not at all what you wanted, hoped for or expected? As I continue to ponder (meditate upon) this study I can see so clearly the times in my life where God has done just that. As I recall specific times I see that I have come to Him with a bitter complaining attitude wanting Him to judge the sin of others. Other times I have come to Him in confusion not understanding what is happening in my life and wanting deliverence from the trial. It's embarrassing to say that with less frequency I have come to Him in confidence trusting in His will for my life no matter the storm that rages around me.

I can see clearly now that all three of these heart attitudes - complaining, confusion and confidence - pivoted on my faith in the character of God. Whether or not I believed it at the time God is still good. His will for me is best! The first two attitudes show a lack of trust, a desire to have it my own way and even to manipulate my own circumstances to become what I want them to be. The last attitude shows that God will do what is best for me though the circumstance is difficult to bear, though my heart is torn in two, though I still don't understand the end from the beginning...God does! That is faith! A confidence in Who God is then willingly placing my life, ALL of my life, in His hands for Him to shape and use as He sees fit - a willing vessel for the Master's use.

That faith begins at salvation, believing that Jesus came to earth, lived a sinless life and died on the cross of Calvary for my sins. Knowing that His death was the payment (propitiation) for my sin. Believing that He rose on the 3rd day and is alive today sitting at the right hand of the throne of God, waiting for God's time to call His people home. That simple belief gives the gift of an eternity in Heaven! Hallelujah, what a Saviour!!!!!!

*Please note that though I give due credit to this study by Nancy Leigh DeMoss I do not necessarily endorse every thing in this study or others by this author or her ministry.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Height of Fashion...

in arm slings! Instead of buying the standard blue sling I thought Bethany would like a pretty girly sling. She was so excited about the prospect of her own sling I took her along with me to chose her fabric. After she picked out her fabric at Chic Parisian (A clothing store in our mall) we went to the sewing supply store El Carretel (Another clothing store in town) to get the nylon strap and buckle. I'm sure I provided all kinds of laughter to the stores here as I attempted to tell them what I needed. Who would have ever guessed that Bias tape in Spanish is Bias (BE-as).

Once I figured out what I was doing it took all of about 30 minutes to sew and now Bethany has an adorable sling and so does Nellie, her American Girl Doll. All for about three dollars (US), can't beat that!

As for the question about her break our doctor in the US was able to have two Orthopedic Surgeons take a look at her x-ray. Also we were able to meet with the Traumatologo who saw her in the ER. He was very understanding of our concern. Everyone agreed that a sling should be adequate treatment for her. She has a recheck appointment on the 19 th to see how everything is coming along.

As a side note, it turns out that a Traumatologo isn't a Trauma doctor as we were thinking but an Orthopedic doctor. I think it's amazing how God had the right man there when we needed him. Not only that but the blessing of our doctor in the States and his willingness to help and advise. All this is evidence of God's foreknowledge and His concern for the welfare of our family.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Seven Little Monkies....

Sleeping in their beds

One fell off and

Didn't break her head.

But she did break her collarbone. Last night we woke up to the sound of Bethany crying after she had fallen off her bed. Everything looked ok when she stopped crying we went back to bed. She must be one tough cookie because she made it to church this morning before she finally gave in to the pain.

Ruth and I headed to the hospital where thankfully the Traumatologist (that's the equivalent of what he would be called in English anyway) was the doctor on call. He ordered an x-ray which clearly revealed that her collarbone was broke clear through. The treatment is the same here as in the States - keep her arm in a sling for a few weeks and keep her activity level down. No more chores, bummer for her!!!

After we got home we took another look at her x-ray and grew concerned over the angle of the bone closest her breastbone. Our doctor in the US returned our page within a couple minutes and we have sent the x-ray scan to him for a second opinion. Hopefully everything is normal and she will heal quickly. We'll keep you posted!