Malachi Emmanuel Sparks

Syd, Andrea, and Malachi

WE HAVE A SON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The short version

His name – Malachi Emmanuel Sparks
Born – 09-10-09 at 8:35pm
Weight – 8lbs 1oz
Length – 20.9 inches
Head circumference – 14.3 inches

He is a healthy beautiful boy that we are very excited to have.  Andrea did have some complications with hemorrhaging at the end and lost a lot of blood but is ok and now on the road to recovery.  Many of you have heard that there have been riots on the streets of Kampala which is true but it was mainly in certain parts of the city and we are safe. The rioting has calmed down now but we still have to be careful about where we go.

Thank you so much for praying for us.

Malachi and current events

The long version

This is the long version… it is a bit of a story so sit back if you want to read all of it.

We have heard from many that delivery time can be crazy and that has definitely been our experience.  Lots of things to think about and lots of people who want to hear from you and not enough time to go around especially once you have a beautiful baby to take all of your time.  The complications during the birth and riots have added additional things to think about and consume our time also.

We decided to give our son the name Malachi Emmanuel for many reasons…

The name Malachi is one that Andrea and I have always liked.  We didn’t necessarily pick it because it was a bible name but when we went back and read the book of Malachi it confirmed our decision.  Malachi was a man that God used in the old testament times.  He was a man who stood up for truth and confronted injustices.  He wasn’t afraid of the political or religious leaders of the day but wanted truth to reign and God to be glorified.  He wanted the hearts of the people to be turned back to God.  I love these qualities and this is what we are hoping that our son will grow into… A man dedicated to what is true, not afraid to stand up to injustice, lies, or people; someone who seeks to glorify God.

We gave him the name Emmanuel for two reasons.  The first is in honor of one of my first friends here in Uganda who was named Emmanuel.  Emma, although still young, was what you want your son to grow up like.  He loved the Lord, had a great attitude, personality, had a heart to reach out to people, was a leader, was loved by many many people, he played the guitar well… I could go on and on.  We would love for our son to grow into a young man like him–someone who passionately loves the Lord and lives a life that points others to Him…so it is our honor to name our son after him.

The second reason for giving him the name Emmanuel is because of the meaning of Emmanuel – God With Us.  God is always with us and that truth has stuck out to us in many many many ways throughout his life so far and I want to tell you just some of them.

In the first trimester, a time when many women experience a lot of sickness and huge influx of volatile emotions, Andrea experienced very little of this, in fact almost none… Which was a tremendous blessing because on top of the huge transition going on inside of her body were major transitions for us as a couple.  We had just moved to the camp, which is in an area that at that time had seen very few white people, had no electricity, no running water, was three hours from the closest reputable hospital, the house that we would live in was not finished and so we slept in a tent for the first night.  On top of that a week after we moved we began hosting teams of volunteer people who came to help us out at the camp.  They all were a tremendous blessing to us but all of this was in her first trimester of the pregnancy and meant that she was responsible for cooking and cleaning etc. for many additional people.  God’s grace was very evident during that time, even in sending her cousin to help us with hosting.

In her second trimester, despite our attempts and desires to keep malaria away, Andrea came down with it–one of her biggest fears in pregnancy as it can cause permanent damage and even death for the baby.  You may say that this doesn’t look like God was with us but we saw His hand in it all.  When we needed to call the doctor, my phone battery was dead so I charged it using the car battery… which then drained the car battery.  We would have been stranded in the middle of nowhere but thanks to a friend from the states that had sent us a battery charger, we were able to get into the hospital before the malaria got really bad.  Andrea was successfully treated for malaria and the baby was safe.  By the time we were discharged from the hospital it was too late to drive the 3 hrs. back home so we stayed in Kampala.  On that night Andrea got sick again so we went to another doctor who found that the malaria was still there plus another infection that the first doctor missed so we were able to treat that.  Just when she was feeling better and we were going to go home I (Syd) got sick.  In all of this, malaria didn’t have any serious effect on Malachi.  So God’s hand was upon us protecting our son and directing our steps according to His schedule and not ours, which we are grateful for as that really forced us to look to him.

Another blessing to us through the whole pregnancy has been our midwife.  I (Syd) had known Richard from before and knew that his wife, Sue, was a midwife.  However, I also knew that she was really trying to focus more of her time on her family; she is an excellent midwife and in very high demand.  We decided to ask her if she would recommend anyone to us and instead she decided to take us on.  We have been so thankful for her as she is also from western culture, used to western standards, expectations, and was able to explain things to us that others didn’t and answer many of our questions, even ones that we didn’t ask.  Their whole family has been a blessing to us, giving us a place to stay when we were sick with malaria and helping us when our car broke down.  To top it off they are a strong christian family who has prayed for us through it all…a tremendous help to a young couple living in the bush and having their first baby.

As we were nearing the end of the pregnancy we decided to come into Kampala before the baby was born so that we weren’t “surprised” at the camp and left with a long bumpy road to the city and then traffic to navigate to the hospital.  The problem is that we didn’t know where we would stay.  God provided us with a couple of places and we ended up staying with friends who Andrea had gone to college with.  We had known they were in Uganda but had not been able to contact them until finally one day we “bumped” into them at a local supermarket.  They have been a tremendous blessing to us and their home has been a haven for us both before and after the baby.

On the day that Andrea went into labor she woke up at 3:15 am with contractions coming.  Sue came and checked Andrea.  We knew that it was going to happen that day but knew it would also be a while and didn’t want to wait at the hospital all day long.  We decided however that since we were on the opposite side of town and had to travel through the city center and the major traffic areas, we would go early so that we would miss the traffic. That decision proved to be much more than just an avoidance of traffic…it was God protecting us from getting caught in the rioting, some of which happened right on the roads that we drove through.  If we had waited we wouldn’t have made it to the hospital.  If Andrea would have went into labor later that day or even the next day we wouldn’t have made it to the hospital and as you’ll see that could have been disastrous.

When Malachi was born we had a natural delivery for which we were very thankful.  However, as he came out so did a gush of blood…more than normal.  I brought Malachi out and the nurses started to clean him while Sue and the back-up doctor, Dr. Busingye, started to figure out why Andrea was bleeding so much.  They found several blood vessel tears that they stitched up.  The majority of the bleeding though was due to post-partum hemorrhaging; after several injections, they ended up putting her on a IV drip.  Over the next several hours, the bleeding finally slowed down and thankfully we didn’t need a blood transfusion.  So like I said earlier, if we had been anywhere other than a hospital with people who knew how to handle a situation like this and the medicine to help us, the results could have been disastrous.

These stories and many more are the evidence that we have seen that GOD IS WITH US and so we give our son the name Emmanuel as a reminder to us and him that God is always with us whether we acknowledge it or not.

A short note on the riots and what is in store for us now.

The rioting in Kampala that started on the day Malachi was born stems from political friction between the central government and the authorities of Buganda, a cultural kingdom in central Uganda.  The riots have mostly calmed down by now though the riot police and military police are still seen patrolling and you can see the evidence of burned tires, blocked roads, and burned vehicles in some parts.  As long as you stay away from certain parts of the city you are safe.  Please be praying that the city will completely return to peace and that the political leaders will work out their differences.

Andrea, Malachi, and I will be here in Kampala for a few more days until his first check up before returning to the camp.  Then on September 23 we are very excited to pickup Grandpa and Grandma Hilker from the airport .