Looking back over the last year there are so many emotions. In 2013 we provided a safe delivery for 272 mothers and their babies. I feel such gratitude when I think about that number as it would not be possible to do this work without the support we receive from individuals.
And each of those 272 mothers represents a much larger number as she is part of a family and a vital contributor to the community.
Today Mary Grace came into our clinic to give birth to her 5th child. She had delivered her four other children unattended in her home. She lives in a shack along the river. Two years ago she lost two of her daughters in a drowning accident as they tried to cross the swollen river during flood season. My heart aches for her loss. For the difficulty of the life that she was born into. Mary Grace and her husband make a living by planting crops and walking their produce in to town to sell in the local market each day. She has encountered so much loss and heartache in her lifetime.
Mary Grace gave birth to a healthy baby boy tonight and although she had a few minor complications we were able to immediately respond and provide her with the care she needed. Tomorrow she will be going home with a healthy baby. I am so thankful we are able to provide her with kind, compassionate, culturally competent care.
How can you put a value on what one life is worth? Is it worth our time, our attention? Is it worth our effort or even our money? When faced with so many needs, our limitations become all too apparent. Yet, the question remains, what is one life worth? Together, we respond -- that we do have the resources to meet the needs of so many mothers and infants -- together, with all of you who have chosen to give of yourselves selflessly -- that we cannot morally afford to ignore the desperate situation for so many families resigned to a life of neglect -- together, we will continue to provide a safe and loving place for those in need of a place of refuge.
Our hearts are overwhelmed with appreciation and love for all of you who join us in this journey towards safe motherhood. Thank you!
*The names have been changed to protect the privacy of the patients. The women shown in the pictures are not Mary Grace but are women who delivered at our clinic.
This attached video is to say a big Thank You to all who donated to Mercy In Action through GlobalGiving.
Many women in the Philippines where we live are unable to afford a skilled birth attendant. So just like Mary in the famous Christmas story, when they start labor they have no where to go and no one to help, because there is still "no room at the inn" for pregnant women who cannot afford to pay.
But because of your geneours giving to Mercy In Action through GlobalGiving, our kind and caring midwives have been able to help hundreds of women give birth safely this year, and help thousands more to get good quality prenatal and postnatal care, and regular check ups for their newborn babies, all totally free of cost to the patients.
Maria recently said "You are my angels", when referring to how Mercy In Action staff helped her when she experienced pregnancy complications last month. She is one of many women who expressed their heartfelt gratitude for the services of Mercy In Action's birthing home.
So to all our GlobalGiving donors, deepest gratitude from all of us here in the Philippines as we approach the Christmas season. Please remember us in your prayers!
And please enjoy the Thank you Video attached to this report!
In the words of another famous Christmas story, "God Bless us, everyone!"
This past week, our home in Olongapo, Philippines was in the world news headlines as we were hit by a typhoon and experienced the worse flooding in our recorded history. Now we are all digging out of this natural disaster that affected 18 of our 19 local communities in this region and flooded more than 90% of our city, including our own family home. Most significant for Mercy In Action, during and since the flooding began more pregnant women than ever are coming in to deliver in our birth center. We think the storm and the trauma of losing their homes and possessions triggered many women to go into labor. And they are staying longer after childbirth in our center, staying dry and warm and being fed while they wait for their homes to be cleaned and cleared of mud enough to return home.
Here at Mercy In Action every day is Labor Day, Mother's Day, or someone's Birthday! But this Labor Day we are especially thrilled to know that Mercy In Action will be featured on the home page of the Global Giving website!Last month, we were honored to be chosen as a finalist in the Global Giving Photo Contest, and came in first place in our division-Giving Hope- and 5th overall in the competition. So thanks to those of you who voted for our picture! One of our donors wrote to say "Beautiful picture of a beautiful baby, keep up the good work saving those precious lives!"This summer we were also chosen by the organization Join the Lights to be featured in a mini documentary during their round the world tour—“12 Countries-12 Months-12 Stories of Compassion.” By the time you read this, the documentary film they made about Mercy In Action should be up on their website and ours! (see links below.) In the words of Davis Goslin, Mercy In Action was chosen because "Join The Lights believes in sharing stories of incredible courage that reveal the grace of a life transformed. We believe these stories are lights, shining brightly into a dark world."... and they found Mercy In Action to be one such light! We were honored to be chosen and enjoyed the month they spent with us at our birth center. Hopefully you will watch and enjoy the story they told about one of our beautiful patients, Eliza, who lives on the local garbage dump and agreed to allow the film crew to follow her through the last month of her pregnancy and birth of her baby. Davis wrote after they left the Philippines to say, “we had a great time there and have become full advocates of what you are doing!” We want to thank all of you, our wonderful donors, who give to Mercy In Action and remind you all of just how far those donations go in this poor country where so many women don’t have any help when they go into labor. Happily, the women who come to Mercy In Action’s birth center in labor get kind, top quality care, thanks to your sponsorship and commitment to keeping birth safe for all.
The following is an e-postcard from Ana Calvo Langdon, a GlobalGiving Representative in the Philippines.
...This is the first thing expectant moms hear when they enter Mercy In Action’s childbirth clinic. A midwife with a huge smile is ready to give them a tour. The “tour” (that Sandra and I experienced) starts with a video about pregnancy, including doubts that a prospective mum may have, and ends with a tour of the bright, friendly facilities. The goal is to support natural, safe childbirth, enhancing the relationship between the mom and the newborn.
During our visit, we chatted with a midwife who told us: “My favorite part of work is the moment of childbirth because at that time the mothers are already my friends. When they come to the clinic shy and fearful I tell them that we are going to take care of them and everything is going to be ok”. The relationship between the moms and the clinic does not finish after labor. The midwives do home visits and the new moms and babies come for check-ups and postnatal care “lessons”. We met a mom returning for her 6 week check-up and after the exam Mercy In Action gave the mom a picture they took of her baby when she was born.“It is a moment of celebration and for some of them it’s the only picture that they will have of their babies”.
During our visit, we also learned that Mercy In Action provides trainings to birth centers all over the world so they can replicate its model. Vicky, the founder of the clinic, said “We are happy that clinics based on our model are opening around the world. This is saving lives.” Vicky, actually, came to the Philippines 22 years ago on a visit but she never left. She not only opened the clinic, but also serves the local community by training midwives and providing housing for expectant mothers about to give birth.
Sandra and I were blown away of the amazing clinic, the friendly environment, and the dedicated staff. When I start a family, I hope to be surrounded by a community as loving as Mercy In Action.
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