We're expecting another baby! I was trying to come up with some cute and funny way to share this exciting news, but it's late already and in the interest of finishing this post in the next 23 minutes (before bedtime), I decided to just come right out and say it! I just passed the 12-week mark this week; I'm hopeful that the fatigue and nausea will soon be waning. I guess with two older children the fatigue may linger, but at least hopefully my tummy will feel better soon!
I went to see a local doctor today for the first time this pregnancy, just to confirm things. To be honest, all I really wanted to do was hear the baby's heartbeat. And happily, I was not disappointed!
Going to a hospital in this country is an interesting experience, to say the least. You know that the same standards do not exist for medical care when the overwhelming odor inside the hospital is urine mixed with cigarette smoke. I found my way to the registration counter, then to the women's area where I was directed to a certain door number. The doctor was inside with three other patients crowding around his desk, asking for his attention. He barely looked up at me but his assistant directed me to take a seat and wait (in the same room with the other women being seen). He finished, one by one, with them, then asked me a few questions and wrote briefly in my registration book. Actually, one of his first blunt questions to me translates literally "Do you want the baby?" I was stunned for a moment and then replied in the affirmative. Then the happy moment I was waiting for: he directed me up onto the table so that he could check for the baby's heartbeat. It took him a moment, but then, there it was, the miraculous whoosh, whoosh, whoosh coming through the Doppler. Hallelujah! I breathed a sigh of relief even as a few tears slipped out.
The doctor then suggested an ultrasound, which I needed to pay for before they would do it. I found the right counter and paid, then made my way back to his office where I was again asked to wait (inside the office) as he finished with some others. As a westerner, I was slightly embarassed to have to witness others as they came in to be examined or treated.
To my dismay (sometimes I wish I did not understand the local language so well) a very young woman came in and it wasn't long before I gathered that she and the assistant were discussing abortion. She was dressed in such a way that gave me the impression of perhaps being from the countryside. She must have been at least five months along. Even as the assistant was casually saying, "Let's see, we get off work at 5, what time is it now? Oh, it's only four, so yes, there's time to get it done now," the young woman was standing holding her arms unconsciously in a protective manner over her belly. When the assistant suggested doing it that day--and let us remind ourselves that "doing the procedure" means killing a living human being--the young girl swallowed thickly and in a very soft voice said, "let me ask a moment." She went out to confer with whoever she came with, then came back in a few minutes later and said, "ok, do it today."
I felt so helpless. I wanted to cry, beg, and plead with her all at the same time. "Don't do this, don't kill your precious baby!" But I was silent, not knowing what to say or how to say it. I didn't know how to help her, what resources or agencies to refer her to, or what kind of pressure she was facing from her family or boyfriend. Even as I rejoiced in the preservation of the tiny baby in my womb, I wanted to weep for her.
A moment later, the doctor came and summoned me to the room where women were lined up to have ultrasound examinations. He beckoned me into the room (effectively jumping the line) and though at first there was a bit of concern that the baby wasn't moving at all, it seemed like he or she was just very soundly, happily asleep. Finally the technician purposely startled the baby and saw some activity. The heartbeat was strong and normal, and everything else looks good. PTL!
I left with a glad heart, so thankful for this tiny life. Even though sometimes I think "we must be crazy! What are we thinking, having another baby?! I'll never be able to handle it!" I know that when I trust in my Heavenly Father, he gives grace enough for each day's joys and challenges. It was his design to send tiny, helpless infants into families where they must be raised and nurtured, and his design to bless us with this new baby, so he will also sustain us and provide for all our needs.
So now, just for fun--the total bill for my trip today:
Taxi ride to the hospital: 7.5 local dollars
Registration fee: 4 local dollars
Ultrasound examination: 30 local dollars
Taxi ride home: 9 local dollars
One US dollar is worth about 7.5 local dollars. That means that the ultrasound cost a grand total of about $4.15 ! Wow, that was worth it!
Finally, if you think of it, say a prayer with me for that young woman who aborted her baby today. There will be grief ahead for her. Let's pray that the Lord would somehow use this to draw her and her family close to Him.