Sunday, December 5, 2010

My First Son

Teaching SS while pregnant
with William
My first son, William, was born in Fortaleza, Brazil.  It's a city of several million located in Northeast Brazil.  It was a small miracle for me on several notes.  In the States while on deputation, I had two miscarriages.  One was never really defined beyond the point of God's will.  It occurred around 9 weeks.  The second was a molar pregnancy.  There was a fetus, but it developed a form of cancer.  That pregnancy also ended around 9 - 10 weeks.  The year following the second miscarriage, I was tested each month for any signs of cancer. None were ever found.  During that second pregancy I had gone in for a regular check-up only to find there were no life signs after a sonogram.  My was husband was traveling in Brazil and wouldn’t return for several more days.  The doctor insisted I go right over to the hospital for a DNC.  When I stated that I would like to wait for my husband to arrive from his trip, I was highly criticized by the doctor and his staff.  I had our pastor call the doctor and explain that this was our choice understanding the complications of a natural miscarriage could occur at any time.  When Byron did arrive, I took him to the doctor’s office to have another sonogram done so that he too could see before taking any other action.  This too was criticized.  Our pastor went with us to the hospital on the day of the surgery.  It was Pastor Ed Sears of Grace Baptist Temple in Winston-Salem.

We gave up on having children for the time and decided that we should concentrate on getting to the mission field and let God take care of the rest.  I had only lived in Brazil for one year, and my Portuguese was far from fluent, when I begin to have those icky stomach feelings from time to time that made me wonder!  Thankfully, a dear old American missionary nurse was recommended to me.  She gave me the names of three ob/gyn's that she personally liked.  I called the first two on her list, only to be told that I could have an appointment in a month or two.  I was sure that I was already close to two months. and in a big hurry to see a doctor in light of my past complications.  The third one I called said: "Come tomorrow."  I went, and never regretted it.  This doctor spoke English well.  He did his best to explain everything in Portuguese first, saying it was to my benefit in the long run.  He was by no means the cheapest doctor in town, but well educated in Brazil and the States, and well equipped. In his office he had his own sonograph machine.  This may not seem like much to you, but in Brazil you usually go to the doctor to be examined. Then he sends you to a laboratory for blood work and other tests, a different place for any x-rays, a clinic for shots and vaccines, and then before you drag you sick body home you can stop off at another site for sonograms, etc.  Then you have to go back with all these results, usually on a different day before getting any medicine prescribed or diagnosis.  These are the complications of a foreign country.  So I was very happy to see that not only did this doctor have a sonograph machine but that he was adept in its usage.  He was also anti-abortion and pro-family in all rights.


The American nurse went along with me on many of my monthly visits.  She also accompanied me to the hospital and stayed through the entire ordeal.  I began having inconsistent back pains on a Sunday evening.  Monday morning I went to see the doctor.  He advised me to stay at home until things were well under way to avoid being stuck in a Brazilian hospital all day. Byron and I had walked to the appointment.  I was enormous and it was not a short walk to the doctor's office.  After we got back to the apartment where we were living that year, Byron said, Let's go to the mall and you can eat one last good lunch and walk around some.  Seems he was in a hurry to see this labor thing begin!  He bought a little stuffed animal raccoon for the new baby.

Baby William goes to church.
Around midnight Monday the pain was real and consistent.  Contractions were coming every 3-5 minutes.  First I called the nurse and she did the rest calling the hospital and the doctor as we made our way to the hospital.  After a night full of contractions, I never fully dilated and things were not going well.  Around 6am the doctor mentioned the possibility of a C-section.  At that point I was so miserable I asked if that meant I could have pain medicine now, he replied that it did, and I readily accepted the idea.  Within an hour or so my first child was born.  The doctor discovered that the umbilical cord my firmly wrapped several times around the baby's neck, and felt if he had forced the natural birth, it may have very well killed the baby.  I was confident that everything was done with skill and caring and had no doubts whatsoever about the necessity of the surgery.  I was released the next day to the care of a missionary friend, my husband, and my personal American missionary nurse.

The nurse came the very next day, my first full day at home, and examined me, checked the baby, and stayed for several hours helping me get a good start breastfeeding, and just teaching me about my new baby boy.  My friend, another missionary from my home state of Virginia, stayed on through the rest of the week cooking and cleaning and just helping out.  It was Melissa Johson and the nurse was Mrs. Amy Bergen.  My doctor's name was Dr. Raimundo César Pinheiro.


Baby William was visited by many of the misisonaries living in Fortaleza at that time and it wasn't long before Grandma and Grandad Beckner had passports and visas in hand to make the trip to see their first grandson.

Toddler William playing with a pipe,
what a dirty sight!
All three of my children were born in Fortaleza.  All three with this same doctor.  In the States I received top notch care, but not the loving, personal concern of the doctor I found in Brazil.  Brazilians love children and consider the birth of a child an important event.  I thank God for His timing in my life.  Today I thank God for William on this his 15th birthday.  I could not have a better helper, a better student, or a better friend.  (Shhh! Except for those other two on their birthdays!)

Happy Birthday, William!

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