A little over two weeks ago now, life threw a little bit of a curve-ball at Matt and I at what we had hoped was a routine prenatal care visit and follow-up ultrasound. It seems our little girl is not growing quite as quickly as everyone would like (For you "numbers" types, she was just barely at the 3rd percentile for growth at that 28 week visit). We are not yet sure what this means, overall, and there is great likelihood that she is just bound to be a small baby at term. (Some of you remember how tiny her big brother looked next to the cat when we brought him home from the hospital at less than 6 pounds, although he was technically born at 6#8oz) I was advised by my prenatal care provider to slow down my schedule some at that time, and we are doing some weekly tests on the baby that she-- so far!-- had easily "passed". We will re-measure her growth this upcoming Friday, which is the first prayer request as we pray that she shows signs of continuing to grow even if she stays small for her age.
This "slowing down" has meant a couple of things overall-- First of all, I was taken off of the call schedule at work and am only working days now. Second prayer request thus is a prayer of gratitude to my colleagues who very graciously stepped in to cover these shifts with no grumbling, and that I will heal up nicely after delivery and be able to return some of those favors! It also means that Matt has taken on even more of the household responsibilities on his own so that the baby and I can rest as much as possible when I get home, and for that I also offer prayers of gratitude.
The biggest thing, though, is that we made the very difficult decision (for me at least!) that I should not plan to fly down to Guatemala for the upcoming trip in February, which lands around the 32-33 week mark of the pregnancy. This is a HUGE deal for me, of course, and at first was probably even more stressful than the thought of coming off the call schedule and figuring out what "slowing down" means! God, as always, has been incredibly faithful in providing people and resources to keep the trip going, though, and so the final prayer request is for them...
I had three medical students set up to come down with us, named Brandi, Kent, and Victoria. I have been praying for some time for them to have a meaningful experience both academically and spiritually, as well as for their safety in travels. Please join me in that prayer, and we will get pictures posted of them as soon as possible, as they are all still very excited about the trip!
Matt has really stepped up in a major way, with no hesitation whatsoever, saying to me as soon as we got the news that I wouldn't be going, "I can't operate, but I can go and handle everything else as long as we have a surgeon!". His willingness to go on the trip, translate, help with all of the logistics and safety, and (hopefully) blog while he is there and keep you all in the loop means the world to me. I am truly blessed with an amazing husband.
The biggest piece of the puzzle, though, was whether or not I could find a gynecologic surgeon to fill in for me for the week! Some of you may remember Chris Deluca, who traveled with me and operated during an amazing week when she was a resident in our program. She has a huge heart for missions, as do the other physicians in the private practice near Clemson, SC, that she joined after graduation. She had contacted me about going back down on this February trip and I was really looking forward to working with her again! I can't even imagine the increase in weight that I asked her to take on her shoulders when I asked if she would be willing to do the trip on her own. Imagine my relief when she responded with, "I know and have known for a long time that is where God wants me that week, and there must be a reason now that He wants me there on my own!" What an amazing faith she has. I am sure she will do an awesome job of taking care of the patients, teaching the students, and operating. I do ask for your prayers of support for her as she takes this on, though, as well as continuing prayers of gratitude for her service.
I pulled out some old photos from my trip with Chris to put a face with a name, so please let's let her feel our prayers for her as the trip approaches!