Feeling Blessed this Christmas

Merry Christmas!

Pirate GraceEvery night I tuck Grace into bed, we pray, “God help us get to Rwanda soon!” As we work hard doing our part in this place, we feel abundantly blessed because we see God answering that prayer. He is providing for us. He is preparing us. He brings the right people into our lives to help us in perfect ways.

Gratitude for Our Partners

We are so grateful that you are partners with us in this ministry to Rwanda. We hit a milestone on Sunday! We have reached 70% toward our monthly expenses! Thanks to those who are giving; thanks for those who are praying! God is opening doors.

Favor and Opportunities for Krystal

Most of my (Krystal) colleagues and supervisors at my hospital have heard that I will be moving to Rwanda for 10 years (or more) to contribute my skills as a nurse there. Even still, they paid for me to attend an important conference in Seattle. The speaker was a Certified Nurse Midwife who spoke on The Latest Interventions for Childbirth Challenges. I came home from the conference enthusiastic about all of the information I gained that will help me in my practice as a labor and delivery nurse in Rwanda.

Another God-Ordained Set Up for Krystal

Every month my hospital sets up a one-hour case review where doctors, nurses and neonatal practitioners get together and discuss a challenging case we have had. Last month, the topic was about HIV/AIDS in pregnancy. Talk about a practical topic for OB practice in Africa.

This month, I heard the topic was going to be on neonatal resuscitation, another relevant topic, so I attended. I was thrilled to discover the speaker was a doctor who works for an educational program called Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics to teach neonatal resuscitation techniques in resource-limited areas of the world, including Rwanda!

HBB Training 2012 Rwanda

Every year the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that one million babies die from an inability to breathe immediately after delivery. The doctor teaching the course showed a picture of a good sized beautifully developed African baby who immediately after delivery was limp, gray and not crying. He said that because the baby was limp and not crying the midwife and nurses believed that the baby was stillborn so it was wrapped in blankets and taken away for burial without any form of resuscitation. All of us in the room gasped at the thought. One out of 10 babies are born needing some help to start breathing.  From my previous experiences, I knew his stories about newborns not being resuscitated after delivery were not unusual in the developing world.

Neonate Simulator

This doctor explained that his job is to take neonate simulators (little black baby dolls to practice CPR on), bags and masks and learner workbooks and instructional flip charts into developing countries and train doctors, midwives, nurses, community birth attendants and health volunteers how to help babies breathe after delivery.

At the end of the class he said that he was open to having people volunteer to travel with him to different developing countries and help him do training (several nurses did volunteer to travel with him but only if they could go to Rwanda to see meJ). After the class I told him I would love to work with him in Rwanda. I explained that I would be moving there long term and would eventually know the language. Excitedly he asked me if I would be willing to come to a short course he was teaching with a group of healthcare providers at the University of Washington and become a Master Trainer. He said that he would equip me with several neonate simulators and training kits so that I could teach healthcare workers everywhere I went in Rwanda!

Helping Babies Breathe Action PlanLately, I have been struck that in healthcare, in resource-limited areas like Rwanda, a little can make a huge difference and save numerous lives. Here in the US, we have people at every delivery with the knowledge of when and how to stimulate a baby or otherwise help a baby breathe. We take for granted that it is a normal practice for us. In many places in the world babies are born without someone with this knowledge.   I am so excited that I will be equipped to help teach others Helping Babies Breathe.