Pregnancy and Birth Overseas- Patty in Ghana

Patty, John, and baby Carey at 1 day old!

My husband and I were young, newly married, and had just finished raising our support when we found out we were expecting our first child.  We couldn’t have been more excited!  The plane tickets were already bought, and our boxes were being packed so we just kept all our plans in place while adding a few baby things to the bags and some maternity clothes for me!  I’m sure those who were older and wiser probably wondered what we were thinking, but I’m so glad they just entrusted us to the Lord.

The plans were for us to stay with a veteran missionary and his wife near the capital city for our first year, while we learned the ropes.  On arrival, though, we found out everything had changed – the missionary’s wife wasn’t even in country, the missionary himself was having terrible health problems, and he wasn’t stationed near the capital anymore.  He was in another city about seven hours away, helping a national pastor with a struggling church plant.  All my grand ideas about finding a good hospital in the capital and having an older lady for help during this time came crashing down!

Not long after moving into our temporary housing, the missionary asked us what our plans for the baby were.  Ummmmmm?????  We had no idea.  We asked him what we should do.  He said we better start praying.  That was good advice, but we were hoping for something a bit more… substantial!!!  A few days later, we were in town.  The missionary was taking us to THE grocery store and market for the first time.  In mid-explanation of some food or another, the missionary stopped talking and walked over to a very expectant Lebanese woman and asked her what hospital she used.  She was very polite and gave him the information we needed.  Tema Women’s Hospital.  Tema???? That was near the capital, seven hours away!  How would that work???  At that moment we had more questions than answers.

A few weeks later, John and I headed to Tema.  It took some work, but we finally found the hospital.  We headed inside, and I joined the line.  I was seated right next to another American lady named Annie.  We hit it off instantly.  She was a teacher in the International School in the capital, and was expecting her first baby the end of November.  We talked about our work, the other places she had lived, all kinds of things.  Then she asked me where we were going to stay when it was time for the baby to be born.  Ummmm??? Once again, I was speechless.  The only answer I had to give was that we were trusting God to provide a place for us.  She just stared at me for a second, and then asked me to hold her place in line while she went to take a phone call.  She came back a few minutes later with a big smile on her face.  “You all are going to stay with me and my husband!”  she said.  We tried to protest, but she would have none of it!  She said that she was always bringing home “strays” and that they loved having people in their home.  In fact, her husband was on his way to the hospital with lunch for all of us!

It was now my turn to meet the doctor.  We had a place to stay, but what about the doctor, the hospital itself, and the care?  We’d already seen one miracle, we shouldn’t have been worried about the rest!  Dr Owusu-Baah had been an OB-GYN in New York for 25 years and had recently retired back to Ghana and built the hospital.  He had an excellent manner, and knew exactly what he was doing.  We told him our situation (living seven hours away), and he told us what to watch for and how often we needed to come for check-ups.

We met Erik, Annie’s husband, for lunch, and everything was a go.  In fact, Annie and Erik insisted that when we came down for doctor’s visits we should stay at their house, too, so that we wouldn’t have to pay for hotel stays!

I had a text-book perfect pregnancy, and we headed down to Accra two weeks before my due date, just in case.  John and I had a wonderful time wandering around the capital, the craft markets, and the neighborhoods waiting for our baby to arrive.  Annie and Erik and their new baby, Casey, were wonderful hosts.

Everything was going wonderfully, but God had one more lesson for us.  Our baby’s official due date was January 14th.  I guess someone forgot to tell the baby.  Now the days were dragging slowly by with no end in sight.  We were starting to feel like a nuisance, even though Annie and Erik never made us feel that way!  We couldn’t understand why this was happening, but God knew.  He had one more job for us to do.

A week after my due date Annie came and asked John if he would be willing to come and give a talk at her school.  The 5th and 6th grade classes were studying world religions, and when she told the teachers that she had a Baptist missionary staying at her house, they asked if he’d be willing to come share our beliefs with the classes.  John was able to share the simple truths of the gospel with almost fifty children, including several Muslims, several Hindus, a Buddhist, and a number of atheists (including the teacher).  That afternoon John and I were also able to talk with Annie about the gospel and plant some seed in her heart, too.

That evening my pains started coming.  We headed to the hospital about 9:30pm.  The nurses and mid-wife were mostly kind and helpful, except when I told them I was ready to push.  They didn’t think I should be ready yet, but baby was!  Dr Owusu-Baah arrived in time to take over, and our daughter was born at 1:47am, nine days after her due date!  Dr. Owusu-Baah was excellent, even letting John stay in the delivery room with me (even though that is not done in Ghanaian culture!) and having his wife (who had come with him to keep him awake on the road) take pictures for us.

God had given us so many miracles already, and now in His perfect way and His perfect time, He gave us a perfect baby girl!

Carey at 6 years old!

Patty, what a wonderful story of God’s provision and protection! Thank you for sharing! Does anyone have any questions for Patty?


7 Responses to “Pregnancy and Birth Overseas- Patty in Ghana”

  1. 1 Jamie April 12, 2010 at 11:19 am

    God’s hand is obvious in this story, so glad you shared it! It is a beautiful testament of childlike faith. 🙂

  2. 2 Summur Braley April 12, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    What an awesome way the Lord used you guys to spread His name. I got all teary hearing about the chance they got to spread the gospel to 50 children, and the influence they were on the couple that housed them:O) PRaise the Lord!!!!

  3. 3 Ashley L April 13, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    I agree totally that this is such obvious evidence of the Lord’s love and care! Also, praise God how he used your birth to make way for the gospel in such a unique way. How amazing! Have you been able to keep in touch with Annie and Erik? Do you feel like having your baby there endeared you to the people there? Again, thank you so much for sharing!

  4. 4 Andrea Pavkov April 13, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Sounds similar to the birth of our first son, Micah. We were young, somewhat naive and new to living in Africa. We were definitely showered with the Lord’s blessings of provision over and over. We had to travel 5 hours across a country border from Mozambique into Zimbabwe for the two doctor check-ups and to go two weeks before his due date to await his arrival. He too ended up coming late. I can surely relate. I am thankful for God’s amazing hand as He cares for each of us in such a loving way.

  5. 5 Patty Sommer April 14, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    Thanks for the kind comments, ladies. I really enjoyed thinking through this story again and remembering God’s wonderful care. Ashley, we have stayed in touch with Annie and Erik. They moved to China a few years ago, but we are able to talk a bit on fb. Annie continues to seek the truth, but Erik is a decided agnostic. As you think about them, please keep them in your prayers. Having a baby here definitely helped the people connect to us and us to connect to the people. It has been a blessing all around! Thanks for the opportunity to share!

  6. 6 Stephanie April 21, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    Wow! Talk about God answering prayers! Sometimes I wonder if we fail to give Him an opportunity to do just that because we try to “plan” every detail instead of trusting Him. Thanks for sharing your story and inspiring us all, Patty!

    Questions for you:
    1. Why are husbands typically not allowed in the delivery room?
    2. Do most women in Ghana deliver in the hospital?
    3. What are the typical “procedures” for birth (IV? Hospital gown? Eating & Drinking? Etc.)?

  1. 1 Pregnancy and Birth Overseas- An opportunity to share! « Missionary Moms Trackback on April 29, 2010 at 3:26 pm

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