Monday, July 30, 2007
But we digress... Today was, as the title suggests, spent mostly at home with Isaac. Daddy worked still more in the courtyard, and visited another nursery in a nearby town to see if they had more goodies for the garden. That turned out to be a bust of a trip, but he did get the grass seed planted. The rain is currently watering it for us, which is indeed the wonderful thing about the rainy season.
Mommy took care of some more preparatory work at the Hospital for the team coming in this weekend. Although they have known since January about it, it is always good to refresh their memories (sometimes daily!) as the time approaches to be sure that they remember to be ready. This team has a lot of potential to get some great (and greatly needed) surgeries done, with all of the experience and relationships that they have down here already, so we want to be sure to help that along as much as possible. Please pray that things continue to go smoothly for the Wichita Falls team. We are looking so forward to seeing them again!
Isaac's big chore of the day was having his picture made... a few times, as you might imagine. The outfit he is wearing is one that Matt's mom hand-made for Matt to be baptized in. Matt was bigger than Isaac when he wore it, and we will probably try to get better pictures later when it fits better. But today Isaac is the same age as Matt (19 days) when he wore it, so we thought it would be neat to compare. We'll have to get Mom/Grandma Bell to send the pics from Matt's baptism sometime to look at.
The other picture is, of course, after the rain started this afternoon... Which often leads to "siesta" time around here lately! Daddy was up early this morning taking care of Isaac so that Mommy could sleep in, and this picture being posted is the thanks he gets for that?! Hmmm... (Or maybe it has more to do with him declaring that Mommy is now officially in charge of making sure we keep taking new pictures to post... either way!)
Sunday, July 29, 2007
We got to meet some very nice folks from Waxahachie, Texas who are down to visit. And our friend, Carlos, offered a beautiful prayer for Isaac. Many of the folks in this church know what kind of anguish we went through during the pregnancy, so there were lots of prayers of thanksgiving for a healthy, perfect little boy.
When we got home, Isaac got a feeding, then Mommy got a nap. Matt and Isaac hung out in the hammock for a little while, then Matt got some more work done in the courtyard. There sure are a lot of rocks here!!!
Anyway, this evening will be our traditional pizza night, then tomorrow starts earnest preparations for the Wichita Falls team. Even though the hospital received their travel dates MANY months ago and has gotten at least three reminders since then (one in the last month - when they wrote a letter to the Colegio de Medicos informing THEM that the team is coming), they will likely act as if it's the first time they've even heard of this team coming when we remind them tomorrow. So that'll be fun.
And it continues to be a hoot watching Isaac. He finally surpassed his birthweight today, tipping the scales at a robust 6 lbs 9 oz this morning, just before breakfast. So we're up one net ounce in 18 days. But the trend is in the right direction and we know it'll only take off from here...
Pics... We're not sure exactly what the thought process was on either of these two pictures, but they're cute anyway.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Isaac was back within one ounce of his birthweight yesterday. He'll hit 100 lbs before we know it.
This afternoon we had a wonderful visit with Grace Parr, Pam Munoz and Jennifer - an American who has come down here to teach English for the summer. We are always happy to show off our wonderful little boy!
On another positive note, we got our desktop computer back today after nearly two months without it. The internet connection worked for nearly an hour before it went out again. So we'll be trying to deal with that again next week.
Anyway, tomorrow is the Gringo Church with No Name again in Chichicastenango. Next week is preparations for the Wichita Falls team that comes down a week from today.
Here's a pic of Isaac taking a nap with his big brother Jake.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
The next order of business was to go to the hospital to get Isaac's birth certificate. But there, amazingly, we learned about one more step. At the hospital, we didn't get a birth certificate. We got a letter saying that Heidi gave birth to a live baby - unnamed - and no father was listed. Thanks a lot.
So we had to drive across town (never fun in Guatemala City) and find a municipal building and wait in some lines and pay some fees and... and... and... Well, you've dealt with governments before, you understand.
However, the hand of God was on us and we actually secured an original birth certificate for Isaac Edward Bell Bell. No, that's not a typo. Here in Guatemala, the law states that your name is your first name, your middle name, the last name of your father and the last name of your mother. The girl at the desk wanted to know if we were brother and sister. Thanks but we're not from Arkansas!
Anyway, we explained that the custom in the U.S. is for the wife to change her last name to her husband's last name and that people only have one last name. She looked at us like we were aliens. The guy next to her obviously had more experience with gringos and explained the custom to her again. Same look on her face. We're aliens.
Anyway, we got his birth certificate with both last names, drove to the U.S. Embassy, secured a boatload of copies and (fortuitiously) some passport pictures of Isaac. Yes, even a two-week-old needs a picture ID to do international travel. Again, the hand of God was on us and we got Isaac's U.S. citizenship applied for, passport applied for, and were told that the whole mess will be ready in ten days. Ten U.S. days, even! (The exchange rate on "days" is rather variable.)
So, supposedly, in a week and a half, Isaac will have his American citizenship papers, his American passport, and we'll be able to apply for a social security number at that point. He will then be eligible for benefits he'll likely never receive from a system that's going bankrupt and some crazy crook will be able to steal his brand new identity. Whew! The joys of being an American! (Oh, and he'll be a birthright citizen of the richest, most blessed country in the world... just as an aside, though!)
After all that, we got to Isaac's pediatrician's appointment where we found that he has nearly regained all of his lost weight, looks healthy as a horse, and has several very nice (and English-speaking) pediatricians. Our pediatrician is a member of a practice in Guatemala City - and one of the members has a brother (also a doctor) in the U.S. who does mission trips to Guatemala. So we introduced ourselves (always working, right?)
Then we went to our hotel near the airport, crashed for the night, did a bit of shopping this morning, got Matt's parents off to the airport, and headed for home. The only bummer of the week was that we somehow managed to convince our computer that all websites are okay except hotmail. How this happened we'll probably never know, but if you want to email us, try the gmail account - we have no idea when hotmail will be working again! (Our "work" account is:
- don't forget the .gt or you'll get Carrie, who is very friendly and helpful, but is probably not the intended recipient of your note.)
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Last night, Martin and Gloria came by to see Isaac, who they have been faithfully praying for with us for a long time. It was great to visit with them and see the joy on another set of faces that is put there by answered prayer!
We continue to spend inordinate amounts of time just sitting around and looking at Isaac... Which brings us to this next set of "gratuitous Isaac pics"...
The first and third are just good shots of him with his eyes open, which have been much easier to get over the last few days when he's been a lot more active. The second one is a comparison shot of Isaac's hands to his Daddy's-- Is it just our imagination, or does he have a musician's long fingers already? The last one is of us doing what we do best lately, it seems... Watching our little guy live and grow!
Thanks to all of you again for all of your prayers, love, and support...
Friday, July 20, 2007
Jacob called just before supper to let us know that the guys were leaving Chajul a little early due to some weather issues (the road to the hotel isn't really passable when it's been raining real hard) and wondered if we had space here for the night. Well, of course!
So about 8pm, 15 tired men came to the house. We didn't have food for everybody, so they ran to Pollo Campero and brought dinner back home. We got them all a hot shower and a clean bed and they looked like they felt a lot better this morning.
Since they'd been working all week and eating Guatemalan portions (these are full grown American men - Guatemalan portions don't really get it), we ran into town this morning and bought 90 eggs to get them a big breakfast. Hope none of their doctors are reading this - and if they are, they're cholesterol-free eggs - very special chickens we have here...
Anyway, most of these guys have been praying for Baby Isaac since the time we let everyone know we were pregnant. And it was great for us to have them here and able to see him in person!
After breakfast and morning devotions, they went off to the Utatlan school for a little tour - and took Matt's parents with them (both Matt's parents are retired educators).
Anyway, during that time, Matt got to spend some quality time with Isaac, teaching him some of the ropes of rock stardom (it's never too early to start). In the first picture, you'll see Isaac is playing the perfect air guitar (apparently, he'll be playing right-handed). He even has the aloof rock star look on his face.
The second picture is of Roy Simmons (with Savior's Sons) holding Isaac.
And the third is Isaac's "Power to the People" pose. He didn't need any help with that one - he came up with it all on his own... really.... See, even a rock star in his sleep!
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
He's eating better, too. Breastfeeding was something he apparently wasn't born knowing how to do, but with Heidi's persistence and patience, he's catching on.
Today, Matt and his dad continued working on the courtyards (the goal is to turn the west courtyard into some type of outdoor entertaining area, while the east courtyard is being further refined as a private prayer and meditation garden).
This evening, we got a nice picture of Isaac using Jake as a pillow. Jake was amazingly tolerant of this whole situation and even purred quite a bit, providing some soothing vibrations for Isaac. Who needs batteries?
Monday, July 16, 2007
Rachel and Leslie made Isaac a beautiful quilt - yellow and Spartan Green! Thanks guys!
Oh, and many of you may remember the profile we got on ultrasound. Well, today we took a look to see whether those machines are really worth the money or not. It appears that this particular doctor got his money's worth... (fourth pic)
Sunday, July 15, 2007
We have set up a page with a bunch of Isaac pics you can look through and/or download for whatever purpose you want - provided it's legal - you don't want Daddy coming up there!
Anyway, here's the link:
We'll keep posting some pics here, but they'll be smaller as to facilitate uploading.
Today was our first church service with Isaac. Since most of our gringo friends are in the US right now for one reason or another, it was small (we were about 2/3 of the congregation). But it was a great lesson and a chance to get Isaac to church.
This afternoon will be marked by lots of eating and napping. For all of us.
First pic is Mommy and Daddy with Isaac in the hospital - Day 2.
Second pic is the Leathermans and the Bells. Apparently, we can expect Isaac to grow some in the next seven months!
Third pic is Isaac's coming home outfit. He IS a Guatemalan citizen, so he might as well dress like one...
Fourth pic is Mommy and Daddy carrying Isaac in the door at the house. Note the "safety tape" on the car seat - just in case we decide to leave him sitting in the middle of the road at night sometime. Who comes up with this stuff?
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Actually, about all he likes to do is sleep. It's still a bit of a struggle to feed, but he's getting better each time and Mommy is amazingly patient.
We bumped into the Savior's Sons team in Chichicastenango. They're staying here in Quiche tonight, then heading up to Uspantan in the morning to do a week of construction work. We really wish we could have spent more time with those guys, but they're staying just a few yards down the street in order to give us some more quiet our first night at home. THANK YOU SO MUCH, GUYS!!! We know that most of you helped build this house and we feel terrible that you're not here tonight, but we really, truly appreciate giving us a quiet night. Isaac might not be too quiet, but at least the rest of the house will be!
The team that was here last week left us an UBER-clean house - thank you SSSOOOO much, too. We also came home to a beautiful and loving banner in the entryway. Oh, and we didn't mention that this team ALSO ambushed us with a baby shower. We truly did not expect to have a baby shower at all, let alone three!!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your love, prayers, and generosity, everyone!! Isaac is the best equipped kid in the whole department of Quiche!
So we're putting Isaac to bed now and preparing for a long night... ;)
Now some pics.
1. Russell and Bethany (and Tye - not pictured - we promise to get a few pics of him up tomorrow) came to visit.
2. So did Aaron and Katie.
3. Savior's Sons in Chichi.
4. The banner the team left for us at home!!!
Friday, July 13, 2007
Matt's parents flew in yesterday to help out for the next two weeks. We're still here in Guatemala City, but we'll be breaking out of the hospital tomorrow and heading for home. It's still a little surreal, but we're sure those first few hundred sleepless nights will help pound the reality home that we're parents now.
Isaac is not the fastest learner so far. Breast feeding, his one job at this point, is coming a bit slow, but (believe it or not), we've sought a lot of advice and everyone tells us not to worry - he'll pick it up just fine. Heidi has been amazingly patient and persistant. Hope we're not entering into our first battle of wills!!!!
Anyway, sorry we don't have more pictures to post right now, but we'll be flooding the internet with them when we get back home. We're using hotel lobby computers right now and don't have an easy way to post pics. The other ones were posted using an extremely moody wireless connection at a McDonald's. This part of Guatemala City is quite modern, but there are still a few places where they lag behind the US and free wireless is one of those places!!
We'll, we should have some more visitors today. We're expecting Aaron Ficker to come by, Russell, Bethany and Tye will try, and possibly our Guatemalan friend, Dr. Edgar and his family.
Okay, only one minute left on my connection here... gotta run!!!!
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
We thought, at first, that his hair was red. It depends on the light he's in. Guess we'll say it's reddish-brown.
Anyway, both mommy and baby are fine. Daddy is in a McDonald's sending this post right now and has to get back to his wife and son.... So enjoy the pics.
Thanks to all of you who prayed his way into the world and thanks to God Almighty for showing his power by bringing us a perfect, healthy baby!!!
Monday, July 09, 2007
Then, this morning, he came with us to what was expected to be a pretty quiet clinic in Chinique. We had given only about six or seven appointments to a select group of patients last time. Since this clinic was so close to our due date, we weren't sure we'd be able to make it, but also didn't want to let some of our patients go two to three months without being seen by a doctor. Well, none of them showed up!!!! We did see a few who wandered by, including a prenatal patient and one whose family keeps taking her to witch doctors, but that was about it.
We had seen a patient with what we HOPE is severe psoriasis the last time we were there. Our email consult with our dermatologist friend in North Carolina gave us a bit of pause - he thinks that psoriasis is the BEST thing that this kid could have. We were prepared to do a biopsy this week and send it off for analysis but he didn't show up. Roy and Matt went out looking for him in one of the villages, but he wasn't there. So pray for him to either get cured all on his own, or to find his way back to our clinic next month.
Tomorrow, we leave for Guatemala City. We'll have one last look-see on Tuesday morning, spend the night, then admit Heidi on Wednesday for delivery. We'll let you know as soon as we have some more info. Please continue to pray for Baby Isaac and for his mommy. The anxiety level is obviously climbing as the day draws near, but we have complete trust that God will give us the gift He wants us to have.
P.S. Be sure to read Rachel Ficker's blog this week - the link is on the right hand side of this page.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Heidi got left in Canilla to avoid four more hours of bumping and bouncing on her 38 week belly. Matt will take Dr. Lambert out to clinic in San Andres tomorrow and then Heidi will come home with them. Monday is a clinic in Chinique, then Tuesday is a trip to Guatemala City to hopefully light this candle.
The Leathermans rode out to Canilla with us today to see the Fickers, the clinic, and the plane. While we were all touring around, Heidi and Leslie saw nearly 60 patients in clinic. Of course, about half of them were prenatal patients and Bethany and Russell got to see the new ultrasound in use...
Well, sounds like the team is here - gotta run!
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Heidi went to Buen Samaritano this morning and Matt recorded. Then we had a chance to chat with Matt's parents and our niece, Sophia, by video conference this afternoon. You know, kids grow fast. Guess we'll get to witness that firsthand here pretty soon.
Yesterday in Guatemala City, we passed a hotel that had a pretty serious amount of security around it. About 50 army guys, some large army trucks, and a pickup truck with a 50-caliber machine gun mounted in the back (no, they don't have Hummers here - at least the army doesn't.)
Also, in one of the hotels we visited to look for rooms for when the baby is born, there were a LOT of different languages being spoken and a lot of folks had IOC lanyards on. Turns out that the security was for Russian President Vladimir Putin and the IOC people were there for the meeting to determine who will host the 2014 Winter Olympics. Seems that Putin's trip paid off - the games will be in Russia.
Anyway, a few minutes ago, our friend Regina knocked on the door. Her daughter, Carolina, one of our cleft palate babies, is apparently sick. While our house is not a clinic, we have a special place in our hearts for those two and we'll take a look at her when Regina brings her by. (For whatever reason, she just came by to see if we were here...)
Tomorrow is a day off. The first Thurday of every month is when two Guatemalan doctors come to ASELSI. Russell, Bethany, and Tye come in on Friday, then we head to our normal weekend clinics with the Fickers on Saturday.
Enjoy your 4th of July holiday. We miss being in the US for this day more than most. In fact, we REALLY wish we were with Matt's family in Alaska (where we were last year). Heidi is getting into that I'm-always-hot-and-can't-get-comfortable stage. Alaska would be nice!
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
So today was technically our last prenatal visit, though we found out that we'll be headed back down to Guatemala City next Tuesday morning for one last chat, then check into the hospital on Wednesday morning for an attempt at a delivery on Wednesday. (Yes, the docs actually can schedule things like this.)
Of course, all of this presumes that we don't deliver all on our own before that. It would be best if Isaac could wait until this time next week. Or at least wait until we're safely at the Fickers' this weekend - it wouldn't be their first delivery! (Though Leslie promises to kill us if we go into labor at her house!)
So everything is pretty much the same as before. We're praying for a perfect healthy baby. Whatever he is, he sure is active! And he likes music. And McDonald's. So he's definitely Matt and Heidi's son....
More on the mission front, Heidi will be at Buen Samaritano tomorrow and Friday and Matt will be recording. With any luck, he'll be able to finish one more song he's written for Isaac to have it ready for his arrival. Then we hope for some inspiration AFTER the baby is born - two songs do not make a whole CD!
Monday, July 02, 2007
We handed out about 8 numbers, saw about 8 more stragglers, and then headed home. One piece of great news is that our patient, Ana, who is the most severe diabetic we have, had a completely normal blood sugar today. She's been everywhere from the 400s to 40. (Normal is between 90 and 130 for controlled diabetics.) We're also trying another treatment angle on our 60-something year old patient with completely destroyed lungs from cooking over an open fire all her life (thanks to Dr. Lisa Dunham for that idea!). We'll see how her cough is when we come back in August. Oh, and we saw another seizure patient who has completely stopped seizing when he's taking his meds. So we gave him more, duh!
This afternoon, we had a little fun at home. We got out the camera and tried to get some good "belly pics" and we think we got at least one that's worth sharing. (You'll see that below - it's the first one.)
Heidi also found some of the special chocolate you use for coating bananas, strawberries and such, and bought some fresh strawberries in the market ($0.76/lb - eat your hearts out!). So we made dessert for after our homemade chili. Shhh - don't tell anyone - we want people to think the mission field is really, really hard - all the time! (Dessert is the second pic.) If you'll check out the other Heidi's blog (on the links list on the right hand side of this page), you'll see that we are very quickly approaching the level that Heidi Durham has attained. And we didn't even have to move to New York!
Anyway, tomorrow is our last prenatal visit in Guatemala City. We'll leave home about 5:30am to try to get as far as we can before road destruction...er...construction starts.
Sunday, July 01, 2007
The afternoon was about like normal - some more work at the airport, chasing babies, and sharing stories about our weeks. Abby and Grace are getting SOOO big!!! Saturday night, Abby was in rare form, dancing and jumping all over the place! Who needs television when you've got 1 and 2 year olds?
The clinic in San Andres continues its recent popularity. There were between 70-80 patients there again today, though at one point it looked like over a hundred people were jammed up against the doors. At this particular clinic, the people apparently think that by waiting with their noses actually touching the doors they'll get seen sooner. Yeesh!
We are very excited about the team from Wichita Falls, Texas that's coming again in August. They were the first team we ever hosted here (in our second week in Guatemala) and we've already gotten some patients lined up for them. We saw one of the families today. We'll probably tell more on that later, but this family is so patient and diligent, it's hard for us to really even comprehend (like good Americans, we want everything RIGHT STINKIN' NOW!!!)
Anyway, tomorrow is our last clinic in Chicabracan B.I. (before Isaac), then Tuesday is our last prenatal visit with Dr. Ruata in Guatemala City.
Now, the pictures. The first two are a before and after of one of our cleft lip kids. We saw him again on Thursday and just HAD to take his picture. Sadly, he isn't posing very well, but you can definitely see the difference!
The third picture is of a mom that we saw as a prenatal patient at ASELSI who brought her baby in for us to see. (Mom's on the right, grandma is holding the baby.)
And the last pic is what the plane looks like right now. Still lots of work to be done (all that paint you see still has to come off before we can repaint), the interior has to be redone (sitting unprotected in the rainforest for a month or so didn't help too much with that), and new props have to be purchased and installed, but we're way ahead of where we were five minutes after the landing gear snapped! We knew that God would provide (and part of his provision was giving us plenty of elbow grease) and He has. Work is progressing!