We just arrived back home after a less that 24 hour trip to the mainland for another ultrasound and check up with the doctor. This one was ordered after our scan at 20 weeks showed a uterine blood cord resistance that can indicate the possibility of stress on the umbilical cord later in the pregnancy so we were eager to find out what it showed. It was a whirlwind trip. I am tired. Traveling is exhausting and worrying and waiting is even more tiring. But the news is great!! We are so thankful that everything looked healthily with mtoto mchanga. She is right on target for growth (50%) and there are no signs of added stress on the placenta, me, or the baby as of now. The uterine blood cord issue, once detected remains a concern throughout the pregnancy and therefore we are not “in the clear” and will need additional scans along with monitoring my urine for protein and blood pressure; not too crazy, just the normal concerns of pregnancy in a day where we can detect every little thing. I often ponder that not knowing may be better than all the info we receive with the medical technology. Of course we are grateful we can take it all in to make the best decision for our family but it is hard to feel the weight of decisions like this. The doctor helped us work through all the options and no clear choice emerged. It is complicated and many factors and “what-ifs”are involved.
So we continue to seek what is the best decision for our family. It may sound like “just come back home” is an easy choice but it is far from true. While that would be more “known” we still have no doctor there and it would also mean that this would be our only trip home for a while. This is a huge decision as we were planning to come home next summer to spend time with friends, family, those that support our work here, as well as do some things that recharge us to preparation for coming back to the island. Everything here is very busy and we are gearing up to open the school and our entire team is here and working together well. Mentally it is a tough switch to make; through all that has happened this year we have always thought and set our minds that we will be here until then and thus to change this is really hard. It has spoken so much to our friends here that we have stayed as they saw how sick Jason was with malaria and denge fever and then me as I struggle with HG. They know it has been hard for us but they have helped so much and we also get to speak about the peace we have even in the midst of trials. We also are feeling really good about language and Jason is having some great times in bonding with his friends. The problem is we cannot come home for just 6 weeks…we would need to fly no later than 31 weeks (the doula and doctor said with the history of this pregnancy) and then we would want to stay until the baby was at least 6 weeks (to get the check ups (for me and the baby), passport, etc.). So that would mean mid October until at least February or March. A long time!! Not to mention it will the WINTER in Chicago, we have nothing for winter weather and honestly when I lived in Chicago I was always trying to find ways to escape the cold and gloom. For me I just dread the winter time so I worry that we will not feel recharged the way I have hoped. I am still too sick to do all the things I would want to do and I worry with the chaos of having a baby,the holidays, etc we would overlook some of the important things we want to do when we get home.
Now, of course if the doctor saw more signs of stress we had already decided to come home NO QUESTIONS because we know my health and the baby’s is hugely important but now it seems that He is saying “you decide” which is REALLY DIFFICULT. We are praying through everything. We also were encouraged that staying here would be a good experience after some friends introduced us to a great doula in Nairobi that was trained in the states and attended over 200 births here in Africa. She does not charge but rather donates her work based on what each family can give: Amazing! Some friends from Canada had her attend their birth a few months back and said she was great and knows everything about the hospitals, etc which is huge for us as the unknowns are the stressful part. She has already been very encouraging and if we decide to stay here I think I will fly up alone in mid October to meet her, discuss birthing options, see the hospital, have the next ultrasound, and just to feel more peace about everything. And we still are waiting this week to see what options there are for housing and renting a car, etc and after that we will have a clearer picture of what staying here would look like.
So we have given ourselves a “D-day” by which we will make a decision; next Monday. The biggest stress is not knowing so I feel good about deciding. Sometimes God makes things very clear for us but other times in my life I have felt Him say “you decide.” As long as we make this decision together I think it will be the right one for our family. I will keep updating as we decide but for now if you are of the praying sort say a few for us; for health, wisdom, and plans.
We celebrated the great news of mtoto mchanga being healthy with lunch at our fav Western restaurant in Dar. It is a South African chain and Annikah LOVES the play area. We also love it as the “friends” as Anni calls them, or workers keep her amused an happy for the entire time allowing us to enjoy a semi-date. That combined with me actually keeping down all my food made for a fabulous time!
We all flew back together since the puke boat is still not an option for me who threw up multiple times just riding in the car through bumpy streets. When we arrived at the airport one company offered us the opportunity to leave “sasa” (right now) which is one of our favorite Kiswahili words as it sometimes means right now but it can also mean “like 2 hours from now.” One of the many cultural differences reflected in the language. Jason cracks me up because he now asks in Kiswahili “do you mean sasa like an Mzungu or sasa like an Mswahili?” to which everyone laughs but always knows exactly what he means. Well, this guy meant “sasa” as in right now. We quickly paid and were running through the small airport after the guy as he was trying to find change for us (the epic problem of an all cash society where NO ONE ever has change is a story for another post). After getting us our pesa he grabbed our 2 small bags and we followed him to the runway. We kept walking past the small planes we usually take until we reached a 4 seater!! Us and the pilot and a co pilot and that was it! The inside was smaller than our car…crazy!! Anni was super excited while we were a bit nervous. It took about 10 minutes longer than the usual flights and the landing and take off were a bit bumpy but we made it safely home. I included a little video of our flight…how many 3 year olds get to fly a 4 seater over Africa?