Saturday, 8 August 2009
The telephone in the main house rang, and rang and rang last night. It was 9pm and the office was closed, but the ringing was so insistent (read irritating) that I went to answer the call.
The Mother of one of my NICU babies wanted to visit. I told her that the house was closed to visitors over the weekend. She kept asking, 'If God willed,' could she come in the morning? I wanted to say yes, but told her instead that no-one worked in the office on Saturdays. She could come on Monday, though, 'God willing', to see her baby.
She paused for a moment. 'Is he sleeping', she asked? My heart ached for her then. Her tiny son is happy in our arms but her own saddness will not be quick to fade. She will always wonder what he is doing.
We admitted four new babies this week. Miss Magaly decided that we were going to do blood draws on them that very day. I met each of their Manmans. It is rare for me to have any contact with them at the point that they hand their babies over to us. Frankly, I would rather not be present for that. There was no great show of emotion from any one of the ladies, just a quiet resignation. Circumstance compels them to relinquish their babies.
Two of the babies were very malnourished. This tiny boy (below) is two months old and weighs 7.5lb. His face is swollen with fluid and his skin is depigmented and peeling: he has Kwashiorkor malnutrition. Young infants (statistically) do not have a good chance of surviving Kwashiorkor, but this one is smiling and feeding well. We couldn't ask for more hopeful signs than those. Still, we will manage Baby P conservatively. His immune system will be very compromised and so we are watching him closely for signs of infection. If we treat him too aggressively, and try to fatten him up too quickly at this stage, he could go into multi-organ falilure.
This baby's emaciated body tells an all too common story of starvation. At 12 months, he is old enough to pine for his Mother. Please pray for him. If he adjusts well to the orphanage, I am sure that he will thrive here. He is in good hands. Loving and experienced nannies, who know that he has lost everything, will do many little things to ease his transition. They will will hold him and rock him the way Haitian Mothers do. They will feed him foods that are likely to be familar this week, even supposing they are not the best foods to recover him from his malnutrition. Allready, this frail little boy is reaching for these ladies and allowing them to feed him strange new foods. I am in awe of them.And we are seeing double, yet again. A gorgeous set of twin boys have joined us in the NICU. They are just 5 weeks old and are happiest when we place them so close that each can feel the warmth of the other. This is brotherly love!
Posted by Susan Westwood at 08:39