Friday, May 23, 2008

diego miguel morel morel.

This week Miguel went down to the Oficina Civil to declare Diego and to receive his birth certificate. Apparently everyone was there the same day to declare their children as well. There are a lot of Dominicans who don't even bother to do this and then their children remain "non-existent" in the government's eyes. Its these children who can't attend the public schools and get good jobs without their ID's.

The Oficina Civil is where we got married as well. Its probably the most chaotic government office. Most of the time, you have to buy someone who works there a lunch or juice to get anything done on the inside. Miguel always finds a way to worm his way in. It pays to know people here.

Miguel wanted to be sure to find a competent person to do the paperwork. He wanted to find someone who would write the name down correctly the first time, so that little Diego would have correct paperwork. You'd think that would be a basic thing to do, but trust me, it isn't.

So everything was going well until it came to my last name. When we got married, I didn't even think about having a hyphenated last name like Fisher-Morel. I'm really not into that. So when I changed my last name on my Social Security card, passport, etc. it was Jennifer Lee Morel that it was changed to. Well that doesn't apparently go over too well here. I have to have a different last name than my husband and my child HAS to have TWO last names. Like most Dominicans, the person taking care of Diego's birth certificate couldn't see out of the box. Diego has to have two last names. Thats all there is to it. They wouldn't believe Miguel that my official paperwork doesn't have two last names on it.

So little Diego's name is officially declared DIEGO MIGUEL MOREL MOREL.

the guagua saga.

This was an email written by Garrett, one of our new staff members at Makarios. He and his wife, Anne, are here to help host groups when they are here, and Garrett who is a builder is working alongside Miguel on the Makarios construction site. Anne is also a wonderwoman in that she does so much around Makarios. She's a woman of all skills and trades, and we are so excited to have them a part of our staff.
Some of you have probably already heard about our fire incident with the Makarios van. It happened last month. Well, here is the story from Garrett, who was there on the scene when it happened.
Fire, fire, the guagua's on fire

I am sure that many of you have already heard the story by now but for those who haven’t sit back and here a tale of how the guagua caught on fire. Although it has been a little over a month since our van caught on fire the wreckage that still sits outside on the street makes it feel like it happened yesterday. After a productive day in Montellano the women’s group from Westlake Bible Church were ready to return home to the comforts of cold showers and oscillating fans. When we arrived to the house I noticed that Anne had parked the truck in front of the carport which meant I needed to leave the guagua on the street. After the group unloaded I went inside to say hi to Anne and grab the truck keys so I could move it and the guagua under covered parking. When I stepped outside I noticed smoke coming from under the driver seat in the guagua. After casually telling Anne the van is on fire and asking for a fire extinquisher I returned outside. We didn’t have a fire extinguisher so Anne brought out some flour to throw on the flames. When she met me outside and saw the amount of flames accumulating under the van she simply noted “I don’t think flour will put this one out.” If you haven’t been to the Makarios house then you must know that we are located at the top of a hill. To make things more interesting, the emergency brake on the guagua doesn’t work so we always park it in gear. Apparently the fire produced enough heat to start turning over the engine and the van began jumping forward. It finally succeeded and began making its way down the hill. Luckily we also have a broken down Nissan Pathfinder that has never been removed from the street. The van stuck the front end of the Pathfinder allowing us enough time to steer the guagua to the vacant lot across the street. It is not hard to draw up a crowd in the DR so when 12 American women begin screaming and running into the street and flames engulf a van people stop to look. Within minutes every neighbor, construction worker, taxi driver, dog, cat and chicken began showing up. After 10 minutes and two stops at the wrong address the fire department finally arrived. They immediately try to break out the windows but there tiny hatchets just wouldn’t do the trick. So the logical solution became for each member of the fire department to pick up rocks and throw them at the car windows. Needless to say they succeed, more oxygen enters the van and the flames double in size. After another 10 minutes of attempting to put the flames out Miguel and I are questioned about registration papers and insurance. We tell them that everything was in the glove box. Seeing as this was not an acceptable answer Miguel worked his way between two firemen and began kicking the glove box. After 3 powerful blows the box opens up and he salvaged what was left of the paperwork. The police got all of our information, the fire department thought they put out the flames so everyone began to leave. Before the fire department made it down the street the battery in the van caught on fire again and Miguel flagged down help. After a few more gallons of water the fire was out Everything was finally over...I wonder when the clean up crew will come? Oh yeah, there isn’t Miguel and I swept up the broken glass, pushed the guagua out of the street (using the truck), hosed down the car fluids that were all over the ground and finished just in time to start up the grill, it was burger night and everyone was hungry.
posted by Garrett at 8:20 AM

Thursday, May 22, 2008

from mom's point of view.

Wow! what a whirlwind it has been. Nothing here in the DR is a simple process. I know you (Jon and Noella)know this but it ceases to amaze me in how things get accomplished! I know the Lord is in the driver's seat and He continues to amaze me. Praise him! for watching over Jennie and the baby!We never thought that it would be a full day as it was when we woke up yesterday morning. It was as crazy as the wedding was! We are chuckling how it all came about. Leaving at 10:45 in the morning to go to the clinic was fine, but after 3 hours of started to get a bit tiresome. After a 45 min.visit with her OB dr., it was apparent that there were possible problems. We ventured to get lunch by the doctor's request before heading on to the radiologist downtown for a second opinion on what her doctor suspected as a dry sack around the baby. We went to the local market to buy some turkey and bread and fruit for a quick lunch at the park. We called Miguel to meet us at the doctor's office as he was at work trying to re-do cement benches that the kids had graffittied on while the cement had been drying! With the temperature at 94 degrees and the humidity at 89%, it was almost unbearable. Poor Jennie! Her ankles were so swollen and she could barely walk. Well, we waited about 2 hrs. for this part of the session to be completed. He confirmed that the baby had almost no fluid left in the sack
and also the umbellical cord was wrapped around the neck. He said that the baby had to be delivered within 8 hours. Miguel drove us back to the clinic where we went to wait again to deliver the report from the radiologist. We sat there another 45 min. After seeing the doctor for another 30 min., her doctor flew out of the office and said follow me upstairs. That's where the hospital rooms and surgery floors are. After more waiting, the doctor told Miguel that there were no hospital rooms left! She called the other hospital in town and they said they had no rooms for Jennie! So.........the hospital quickly called for the clean-up crew to come and sweep out a newly renovated room that was not quite finished yet. At least they had just painted it on Saturday! While that was being done, the nurses took Jennie down to get a shower and prepare her for surgery. Meanwhile Miguel left back to the house to get Jennie's duffle bag and also get a quick shower in himself. He was so dirty and didn't want to be unclean for the baby. As soon as Jennie completed her shower,they whisked her off for surgery. She was so upset and reluctant about leaving Miguel behind. The nurses wouldn't even let me go with her! I just sat and prayed. About 20 min. later, the nurse let me be with Jennie. They had already started her on the I.V. I thanked the Lord because we had a chance to pray together and I could see that Jennie was showing a calming spirit. I just kept praying that Miguel would get there in time. Well, I shouldn't have been surprised but God got him there just after we had prayed. All was well and I decided to leave and let them have their time together. Unfortunately, it was another 3 hours before we saw Miguel again. What joy that was! He was running through the hospital to Jennie's room to get the baby clothes saying, "It's a boy, It's a boy (in spanish)!" After that latest experience, it was another hour
before we saw Jennie being wheeled to her room with an excruitiating headache. She was very sick with nauseousness too. God is gracious and by the time I left for home, she was feeling better. It was 11:30pm. Little Diego Miguel is just precious! He is very fair (rubio they say) and has dark straight hair. A nice amount at that. He has Miguel's mouth and nose and so far seems to be nice tempered! Believe me, there were some loud one's down the hall! He weighed 7 lbs. even and was 45 cm. long. I'll have to figure that one out, or you can let us know. Jennie and baby had a good day today and some good long naps. Diego even gave them a smile. What joy I am seeing! You will all love him as I already do. It will be some experience to witness all our little grandchildren together someday! I'd say that the nursing care is somewhat like Italy's. None, ziltch, nada and whatever else fits in that category. The hospital said she could go home today, but Jennie thought she should stay at least on more day! Imagine that! after a c-section.......! Let me tell ya, if Jennnie could be walking better, I would have taken her home immediately. She will have better care at home and I can't wait till she and Miguel and Diego come home tomorrow!

Monday, May 19, 2008

introducing diego miguel.

The Morel family.

Monday, the 12th of May, 8:29PM, Cesarean, Clinica Gregorio Hernandez,
Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic,
Diego Miguel Morel made his grand appearance....7 pounds, 19 inches.

That Monday was a day to top all days. When I woke up that morning, I had no idea that it would be the birthing day of our little Diego. I guess no one goes into their birthing days knowing exactly how it will all pan out, but this day was definitely extraordinary.

Mom and I headed out the door around 11 AM to go in for the routine check up. We knew things were already happening with my body to make the delivery day draw nearer, and we kind of expected the Dr. to try to help get the show on the road with this next visit.

After entering the clinic and putting our name down on the wait list, we finally entered the Dr.'s office a couple of hours later. It must've been around a quarter to 2 that afternoon. Upon exam everything looked normal. The baby was moving, I had good blood pressure, things were dilating more, and the Dr. made sure to do some extra things to kick things into gear. But before getting up from the exam table, and I think as an afterthought, the Dr. decided to do one more sonograph to make sure all looked well on the inside. It was at that point that Dr. Rodriguez thought the ambiotic fluids looked pretty low, perhaps non-existent.

So off we went to get a second opinion by a certified sonografista. But before heading over to that office we were advised to get something to eat before, especially since the sonografista didn't open until 3PM. Being that it was 2:30 and all the cafeterias were finished serving lunch for the day, we headed to the local grocery store to get some bread and to make a cheese and turkey sandwich. There was a little park near the sonografista's office where we tried to find some shade under the massive tree with no leaves. The temperature that day was off the charts in my opinion for mid May. If you looked up the temp. on the weather website, I'm sure it would have said 98 degrees but feels like 115. You got that right! As we were tearing apart our bread to split a sandwich, Miguel came zooming up on his motorcycle.
I could tell his nervousness had set in.

So down we all went to get the second opinion using a sonograph (or ultrasound) where we waited another hour and a half in line. Maybe we should've eaten our sandwiches on the front steps of the office to get a better place in line. The Dr. confirmed that their wasn't any ambiotic fluid left in the baby's sack and advised that we do whatever we have to do to get that baby born within the following 8 hours. It was there that I heard the word cesarean.

It was at that point that I started to go into a zone of disbelief, uncertainty, and for some reason calmness. Miguel was unsettled and definitely uncomfortable as he would put it. Back we all went in the jeep to the clinic and back to our Dr.'s office. The secretary took our results, which also said that the baby's umbelical cord was wrapped around its neck, and took them into the Dr. A few minutes later, we were ushered in, and had a quick discussion about going into surgery. I left Miguel in the office to talk more with the Dr. who immediately began working on trying to find me a room.

My thoughts were all a-jumble. You have to understand, 95% of Dominican women give birth cesarean. I was fighting becoming a part of that statistic since the beginning. I had my mind set and prepared to have a natural birth experience. So I let them lead mom and I upstairs. There were no rooms available there in the clinic nor the other clinic around the corner. Mom and I just sat and waited in the lobby area. I let Miguel go and figure it out. It turns out the only room available was under renovation and had just been painted two days before. It was decided that it didn't smell too bad and we'd take it. So then began the cleaning process to get it ready.

Meanwhile, mom and I were wondering why nobody was coming to clean the leaking water from the water dispenser that now looked like a lake in the waiting room where we were at. Little did I know that the cleaning staff was a little preoccupied with my room.

So we were waiting....and then all of a sudden, a nurse comes out of the surgery room and tells me to come with her. I asked,"Where are we going?" Her reply,"We're going to operate you." I said,"What? Where is my husband? Can I take a shower? I'm dripping with sweat. All my stuff is at home ready in a bag." She insisted that I follow her. I insisted that I find my husband first. Eventually they consented to let me rinse off and found a bar of soap, a surgery gown, and a towel. I was led to a closet sized room where there was a shower and I wondered when the last time it was that they had cleaned it. I had to wrap the towel around my lower half as the back of the gown didn't quite close with my big belly. All this time, I could feel the baby moving around. I was thankful.

After the shower, they led me behind two surgery doors and told mom that she couldn't come with me. Miguel in the meantime was already racing home to get my stuff and shower himself. He had been working all morning and was a sweaty mess too. Mom quick prayed and we had to say our goodbyes. She insisted upon waiting at the doors when the nurses tried to get her to go back to the waiting room. Inside, the nurse got me set up on an IV and left me by myself. I closed my eyes and suddenly felt calm. Did they put drugs in my IV? Who knows...maybe. I had a feeling it was God though. I began to realize that I was going to soon meet the baby I had been carrying around for 9 months.

I was surprised to see mom after a little while. Her persistence paid off and they finally consented to let her go in to be my side. We prayed again and Miguel showed up....finally, it was ok for me to get underway. We all prayed again and at that point mom left us. Miguel and I took some pictures and tried to joke around...we were nervous. The Dr. showed up and then began the process of trying to find Miguel some scrubs that fit. After another long while, I was told to go sit on the operating table and Miguel was told to wait outside until they found him some other shoes besides his flip flops. The Drs. were hilarious. They were joking around, talking politics (the Presidential elections were on the 16th), talking about what kind of plantains they were going to eat for dinner, etc. There was no thought about me, the fact that I've never experienced surgery, that I was basically clueless, and nervous. I started asking questions at that point. I was told the epidural was going to feel like an ant bite, I prepared myself for at least a wasp bite. I flinched and tensed up...who wouldn't?

As soon as those shots were done, everything happened so fast. Miguel came in, I saw my legs being flopped around, I could see them taking off my gown. I thought I was totally naked during the whole thing. My arms were out on either side of me and I had no idea what was going on behind the curtain they strung up in front of my face. I asked Miguel if they had me cut open. He said, "yes." And then I heard the most beautiful little screech. It was our baby.

So imagine this, everyone was talking about this and that, and I was trying to get their attention by yelling, "What is it?!" Miguel hears me and yells back, "Its a boy and he's beautiful. Jennie, he's beautiful!" I asked to see the baby. Finally what seemed like an hour might have been at least 15 minutes or more...all of a sudden the Dr. asked,"Where are the baby clothes?" What baby clothes? Why didn't they remind us of that? Miguel raced upstairs to get baby clothes, but then forgot the diaper...

At that point, I was desperate to see our baby. I lifted my head. The Dr. yelled at me not to lift my head! I finally saw the baby, we took some pics and then I started to vomit and got what they call a spinal headache. I thought I was going to die right then and there from the headache.

After another long while, they finally wheeled me down the hall to my room and placed me in the bed flat on my back. I tried to hold little Diego but couldn't really. Every other person was holding Diego...all the aunts, all the family, tours were being given to people coming in to check out the newly painted room...I called out that I wanted to hold our baby and was told by an aunt not to talk because of the anesthesia. Then she told me to give her the baby...that it was hers. I firmly told her NO. It was a chaos.

Later I was told that I could go home the next day if I was doing ok, but my Dr. wasn't around the next day to ok it until 6 in the evening. In the meantime, I couldn't eat, more family crowded into the room, more tours were given, little nursing care was seen and another night went by until we were finally released the following day.

We taxied home as there was no way for me to climb up into the jeep, and the flow of visitors followed me into my bedroom...Diego and I were finally relieved of visitors the following Friday birthday. I couldn't have asked for a better gift!

Nervously awaiting.

Baby Diego making his appearance.

Still on the operating table with Diego.

Diego and Papi.