In Septemeber 2008, I traveled 6000 miles to Haiti's Kenscoff mountains. My mission: to care for some of the orphaned and abandoned, the sick, malnourished and premature infants of this beautiful but beleagured Caribbean nation.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

What a week!

What a week....

It began with the very great honour of preparing Baby S for her marathon trip to Indianapolis. She was escorted out of Haiti by a former volunteer, Anna, who spent a month at GLA, getting to grips with the skills she would need to transport this high-care baby from the orphanage to her host family in Indiana.

We estimated that it would be a 16 hour trip, door-to-door, but of course, Anna and Baby S were sent on their way with enough feeds, medicines and supplies to accommodate potential delays and all kinds of other eventualities. What if Baby S dropped her temperature? I sent a thermometer, a make-shift cap and a hot water bottle. What if she vomited all her feeds? She would need oral rehydration solution. We packed some. What if she choked and couldn't clear her airway? All we had to offer was a bulb aspirator. What if she had a prolonged seizure? We hoped she wouldn't.

When the time came to wave off our precious girl, I knew I probably would never see her again. There was indescribable relief, joy, and celebration, but also a twinge of grief and anxiety. How Baby S would cope with 3 flights, and the changing altitudes was a great unknown. Regardless, we waved her off with smiles and optimism. After all, Baby S needed hope.

Less than a week later, Baby S has come through her surgery and is showing some promising signs. We are still praying for a miracle of healing and we believe that God will continue to show himself in her life.

Later that day, we re-admitted a recent NICU graduate. This 7 month old boy had bloody diarrhoea and a high fever. He was vomiting and dehydrated. We started an IV and antibiotics. Twenty-four hours later he was shaking violently with fever. By Friday morning, he was in a lot of pain. He began having seizures and he stopped breathing. It took almost two hours of resuscitation to get him breathing again. Amazingly, by the end of the morning, he had stabilized. All of our babies are special, but the ones who cheat death become more precious than any words could tell.

Sunday brought yet more drama. On the way home from church, I took a call on Dixie's Cell-phone. A Tiny baby had arrived at the gate. We were grateful for the heads-up. When we arrived home, we found a 2lb 1 oz girl in the NICU. That is just 900 grammes!

She had been born at 7am that morning. Mum is in her mid-twenties and had been hemorrhaging for the past 8 days. She delivered her baby by herself, at home. As Mum left the orphanage early in the afternoon, one of the nannies, who was observing Manman from the pefect vantage point of the NICU balcony, commented that she looked weak, as though she would faint. Sure enough, as I walked outside, this poor lady's legs gave way from underneath her.

The orphanage Director started an IV on her on the ground outside the baby house, because that is where she fell. She was ably assisted by myself and two of the ladies who work in the kitchen. This is Haiti!

Meanwhile, our newest charge, who was profoundly hypothermic, had been bundled into an incubator and started on oxygen. It was clear from looking at her that she was extremely premature.

Baby Gabriella's skin is very pink, slightly shiny and almpost transluscent. The cartilage in her ears is so soft that her ears fold easily, and do not recoil very well. Based on these, and other signs of her physical maturity, we estimate that this tiny baby has a gestational age of 27 weeks. That makes her almost 3 months premature.

Today, Gabriella is in a stable condition, but we are all very aware that this could change on a moment. The next 10 days will be critical. God, preserve her immature organs and protect her from infection. We are all rooting for her.


nicnacpaddywac said...

Really wonderful to hear that Baby S has come through her op and is showing good signs.

Hoping and praying Gabriella continues to be stable.

Kay said...

Praying for baby S. Gabriella is in our thoughts.