Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Thank you so much for your prayers.

Yesterday was a long day. We had 3 different families who helped with the boys while we spent the day at the hospital. It was good that Dennis was there and not in Manila. I had contractions for about 24 hours so we were in a hurry. But we took the tram rather than try to drive in the center of Budapest and park. We wisely avoided the outpatient line and went straight to the emergency/delivery door.

They couldn't find a heart beat for my little boy. (I was 27 week along)  They took me in at the emergency and they started the birth process. It was painful and not that rewarding as I knew that at the end I will not be able to hold a baby in my arms. It hurts that we will not see our little Cade growing up.

We heard a lot of screaming from another woman down the hall. It was very painful. The nurse said I was only 4cm and I thought how much more can I endure. Then a few minutes later I told them, "I think he is out." Sure enough. They covered him and whisked him away. I said, "I want to see him." "Why?" They are probably used to doing a lot of abortions after genetic screenings indicate a possible defect. So they try not to show the mother the "fetus" and quickly put her under anesthesia for the curettage. He was tiny, very red, but perfect in all aspects.

It was nice to share a room with another woman who was going through a similar experience. After the ordeal she pulled back the curtain and we got acquainted with Adriana with her limited English and our few words of Hungarian. She has two girls ages 7 and 4 and was there with her boyfriend whose name is Christian. We learned that you are supposed to bring your own towel, bathrobe, mug, and silverware. We were able to give her a Magdalena DVD and our written testimonies in Hungarian. Dennis asked if she believed in God. She said, "Yes and No". That seems to fit most Hungarians.

Communication was a challenge at points. We thought we were waiting to see an obgyn before checking out. I waited for almost 3 hours in a chair. They didn't have a free bed for me in the hospital. When I begged to be able to go home and sleep in my own bed, the intern went to check with her boss. "No we can't let you leave. But we can send you to the gynecology floor and you can just go missing." So we did, signing a paper that they released me upstairs and that I am missing. We need to go back today and finish the paper work. At least I don't need to pay money under the table to the doctor because I never had a doctor assigned to my case.

Thank you again for your prayers. Sad that our surprise pregnancy didn't turn out as we hoped and prayed for.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

and God please protect my sanity

In our prayer time today Luiza prayed, "...and Lord please protect my sanity."
Yes Lord, Amen!

This would be an apt request for losing a baby, or when our 2 year old comes in at 1am crying, his bed soaked in pee, with his diaper missing in action. Or it could apply to our 4 year old leaping from a bed and pulling the drapery rod off the wall yesterday.

Actually it was in reference to her heart and how to think about various advice Luiza is receiving about how she could handle grieving for Cade, the name we are giving this unborn son. "You might want to ask for a few hours to hold him." "Think about how you want to dress him." "Be sure to talk with him now and bond with him." "Do you want a photo to remember him?"

To Luiza this all sounds... just weird! We don't even know what the procedure is here or what the hospital will allow. Holding him for a minute or two should be enough. Someone even gave us a gift to remember him.

"I know someone who put the ultrasound photo in an egg to hang on the Christmas tree each year. I don't want to be reminded of something painful every Christmas. Maybe we could just plant a bush to remember him."

"I don't feel all that attached. Maybe I am just being selfish, but why would I want to get more attached when there isn't any hope of his survival? That would just be more painful."  "Maybe it is my European culture that doesn't really consider the baby a person until birth." In the US you have to register a still birth, can get the footprints of the child, decide whether to cremate or bury the fetus. We aren't even sure if they will wash him up here.

Our prayers for a miracle don't seem to have received a "yes" response. Luiza is not gaining weight, so the amniotic fluid has not changed.We did not go to the hospital on Friday but will check for life on Monday or Tuesday, unless contractions come before.

Meanwhile I (Dennis) got a call at 9pm last night that my dad (age 90) started coughing up blood and was taken to the hospital.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Theology: What is God really like?

One of the issues that comes up with tragedy is doubt. Is God really there? Does God ever intervene? Why does God do this or that? Is God really as unpredictable as Muslims say? Why?

One person wrote back about our situation saying God decides everything that will happen, He is the supreme ruler. This implies that for some reason God sends tragedy and pain.

We disagree. Sometimes God allows pain and disease but it is not His work. Just as Jesus when aroused commanded the wind and waves to be still, God does not send the storm but allows it, abides it, until He is aroused to intervene. He may not intervene, that is His choice.

There was a statement in the class with Ken Boa today that was helpful:
There is a big difference between hoping in something and hoping for something.
We can be very disappointed and disillusioned if we put our hope in a particular result, rather than hoping in God and His unchanging character.

Hoping for is still legitimate, it is the stuff of prayer and intercession. But we must hope in God, not in the result of our prayer. We need to be open to God's decision. Sometimes God gives us more confidence for prayer by revealing a certain result by His Spirit.

This may not please someone who is careful to entertain only "possibility thinking" and no "negative confessions". But it is tragic when someone does not allow for the possibility of sickness and death, and then falls into this with no preparation, only the thought, "I must have been too weak in my faith."

"Answer me because you are faithful and righteous." "I remember the days of old. I ponder all your great works. I think about what you have done. I reach out for you I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain." "For the glory of your name O Lord, save me." Psalm 143:1,5,10,11

So today we are praying for 3 miracles:
  1. Increase in amniotic fluid
  2. Normal head shape
  3. Catch up 3 weeks of growth in just 1.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Still Waiting

Thank you for your concern and prayers.

After several days with no movement and no signs of life we were eager to get to the hospital after the long weekend. After one hour I was concerned that nobody knew we were there. We probably saw 30 other women come and go from the outpatient maternity section of the hospital. We came prepared to deliver a dead baby, but we hadn't even seen a doctor yet. After three hours we were wondering what else we could do. Where could we go? Finally they called Luiza's number and we met a new doctor. She entered some of the same data from last time. She couldn't find a heartbeat. So she went to the ultrasound room. That technician saw us for the first time, she was focused on the "deformed" shape of the baby's head. I figure this is normal, it was compressed due to lack of amniotic fluid. Luiza asked, "But is there a heartbeat?" "Yes, a slow faint one."

The doctor said the baby will probably die in the next few days. She offered to have Luiza stay at the hospital, or to induce labor today which would end the pregnancy and the baby. We politely declined. Luiza would prefer to deal with 3 kids at home than to face evaluations and pressure by herself from a series of different doctors. We plan to go back to check again on Friday. The baby is 6 months but only 300grams.

Thanks to several friends who warned how important a time like this is for our marriage I cancelled my trip to Manila to be able to support Luiza through this time and grieve together. It was a beautiful day in Budapest. God I sure wish I understood your purposes in all this.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Prayer and Vitamins

We backed out of the amniocenteses  We were both shocked at the cost. At a state hospital where an ultrasound costs $15, this procedure is $1000 cash. Since we both decided not to kill the baby regardless of genetic defects, we realized this is a lot of money to spend on curiosity.

There were about 20 or 30 other women lined up for the procedure however. It seems to be very popular here. So we waited to meet with a genetics doctor and clarify why we were choosing no genetics test. He agreed that the main purpose of the test is to provide information for choosing to terminate the pregnancy.

Luiza is pretty sure the low amniotic fluid is a placenta problem anyway, not genetic because there are usually other indications. So then we waited to be assigned a doctor in the outpatient  line. We prayed for someone who spoke good English, younger, easy to work with. God provided a nice young woman who is doing her residency. She asked a lot of good questions and put it in Luiza's records. Then she suggested that Luiza stay at the hospital for the remainder of the pregnancy. What?! We couldn't believe it, 17 weeks!? "Well we need to suggest this. You realize that your pregnancy is high risk and you may lose the baby in the next few weeks." "Yes." "OK, sign here. Then you will need to come every week for an ultrasound and doctor visit." "OK"

So we are back to square one. This little guy still needs prayer. We stopped at Tesco for prenatal vitamins. Luiza will try to take it easy and get lots of rest and liquids.

My plan is to fly to Manila May 20-30th. If you would be available for an emergency trip to the hospital with Luiza while I am gone, please let us know.

Thanks to Rahela, Yulia, and Dana for helping with kids today.

Thanks to Nan Green and Etah for dinners.

Monday, May 13, 2013

It was stressful

Update: Thank you for praying. It was stressful. We almost hit a car a block from home, got lost going to the hospital, struggled to make sense of the confusion of the waiting line procedures at the hospital, but the news is not so bleak. Luiza left encouraged.

It started with trying to find the right door and to get in line to be asked to come in and fill out forms with the genetics administrator, then wait in another line to pay, then back to show your receipt of payment, then another for your number to be flashed on the screen by the ultrasound door, then take the paperwork back to the first door, then wait for the genetics secretary to call you into a smaller hall to wait to be called in by the genetics doctor. Husbands are not allowed into any of this activity except the last consultation. So being a good CCC staff person I read Worldwide Challenge while I waited.

We got a younger genetics doctor than expected and he seemed pretty sharp. He was puzzled by the small size, lack of amniotic fluid, but said otherwise the baby looked healthy. He measures only 19 weeks but should be 23 or 25. So because of our ages he wanted to do an amniocentesis to screen for 3 genetic disorders on Wednesday, then meet to discuss results next Thursday. He didn't see any point to make any other prognosis or decisions until then.

For those who want to use this hospital, be prepared for a coed WC, and don't forget to bring your own TP.

This made 3 ultrasounds in 6 days. In reviewing the ultrasound measurements it looks like the baby grew over the weekend by 10mm.  We can keep praying for him to catch up on growth and especially for more amniotic fluid. The amniocentesis has some risk and Luiza will need 48 hours of bed-rest afterwards. Well, she will try.

Thanks to the Conways who helped with the kids!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Miracle Needed

Yesterday Luiza's doctor told us some bad news. WIthout a miracle the little guy inside will not make it. The baby is not growing and lacks amniotic fluid. We were referred to a genetics doctor at Semmelweis hospital for an appointment on Monday at 8am. As you can imagine the news is hard, especially on Luiza.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Conference Center Budapest

Budapest is a hub for missions in Eastern Europe. It is a privilege for us to serve at our headquarters office where there are many conferences. Today we started a training conference of 50 people for new team leaders. I am not involved in the conference but returning from lunch I greeted Gia from Tblisi, Georgia and Masha from St Petersburg.