Don’t let the name fool you, this is a blog post filled with updates and travel plans!
Medical care is possible here up to a certain point. Some basic emergencies can be handled, there are many volunteer and missionary doctors who are quite capable of providing advice, and the hospitals here in Kinshasa have back-up generators! While all of this is great, there are some exceptions and certain situations that are not preferable when it comes to medical care here. Birthing is one of those exceptions.
MAF has a list of things a medical facility must be able to provide in order for it to be considered safe for a mother to give birth. I really appreciate the detail in this list and the time MAF took to realize what is important for a mother’s (and soon-to-be baby’s) health! Unfortunately, the local hospitals here do not meet the standards for giving birth. Our next option for giving birth would be to travel to a closer country with more modern care (South Africa, Kenya, etc.). But with the prior problems I experienced in my previous pregnancy (tachycardia and gestational diabetes), we felt it would be best to give birth with doctors who are already familiar with my situation. After discussing our concerns with MAF, they agreed it would be better to give birth in the US where the medical care would not be a concern.
All that information shared was to lead you up to the news that sister-to-be and I will be departing from Kinshasa on September 22nd for East Tennessee. The week I am traveling is the doctor’s closest guess to my 34th week of pregnancy (plus or minus two weeks). Kevin will remain in Kinshasa until my 38th week and then will travel the great big ocean alone to be with us. We will give birth in TN and will remain until the baby receives his/her passport and VISA before embarking across the ocean to return home to Kinshasa.
While Kevin and I will try to make plans to visit as many of you as possible (our friends, family, ministry partners, etc.), we would like everyone to be understanding when it comes to our time constraints, our active toddler, and her soon-to-be sibling. I personally will be in East Tennessee staying with Kevin’s parents until giving birth. Afterwards, with Kevin’s assistance, we hope to travel to West Tennessee to visit family and friends and possibly visit some relatives in North Carolina. In the meantime, little girl and I are open to play dates, park visits, and tea time! We are looking forward to seeing everyone and talking about our time in Africa.