After goodbyes in Boise, North Washington, and Portland area, we made it back to Ecuador via Quito airport on February 15th, 2018, with one dog and a passel of luggage! Emma’s dog Kassie made it just fine – thanks for the prayers. We made our way down via van to our town of residence, Macas, and settled into a friend’s guest house for the first month. Some highlights of the first month: we brushed up on our previous Spanish learning, set up household, purchased kitchen items, searched for a house and car, and reconnected with folks in the church and community. Many people delighted with us in our new baby and would ask if Matthew would be born here, as they’d stroke, kiss, and talk to my belly. I, Sarah, had the opportunity to connect with other pregnant moms: two young girls and a married woman. All three were in health crisis. But, with serious nutritional work on their part and the grace of God, all are doing well now. In a quick order, we found a home with help from our friend Marcia, and were able to move in at the one month mark. Then we were off to a bigger city (100,000 people) for a 3-day shopping trip to buy and ship more affordable furniture for the bedroom, living room, and needed major appliances. We got it all home and put furniture together before Emma’s bladder infection progressed into a severe and risky kidney infection. A month later she was fully recovered, but Russ and I got a 3-4 week lung infection and I had preterm labor pains at 28 weeks. Four weeks of light-duty and bed rest allowed me to defer labor again.
During a trip to purchase a car in the town of Riobamba, I went into labor again. Every one to three days, in the wee hours of the morning, I was back in the hospital and on labor-stopping medication. After two days in a hospital in Riobamba, I was transported to a more advanced hospital in Quito. After two weeks of troubles, delayed labor, and steroids to mature baby’s lungs, our sweet Matthew was born at 34 weeks gestation. While he is the delight of his parents and siblings, he had a rough start after discharge. At 6 days old he began having problems with low oxygen and apnea. After three nights of hospitalization in the NICU, he was sent home with oxygen. We used an oxygen monitor that our dear friend and her family sent us and daily caught an apnea or low oxygen event in the first several weeks. We are glad to report we are seeing a good recovery in Matthew and only have evening and night colic to work through now. In the mix of all this, two days after we arrived home, Ruth fell from high up in a tree at our neighbor’s house and was hospitalized in the government hospital here in Macas. We are thankful to God that she came away from it without broken bones or internal injuries.
After returning home from Quito, we worked on our car search again. Finally, we were able to find the right car for the long-term needs of our family and ministry. It is a four-wheel drive 2008 Land Cruiser Prado with seat belts for 8 persons. It is very clean and in good shape and should last us a long time.
We are now trying to settle into a routine with a newborn as the older kids are finishing their homeschooling for the year. Thank you all for your prayers and support through this time.