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.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Time is Marching On

The pace of life at GLA does not compare to the frenetic environment of a general Paediatric ward. Yet somehow, three weeks have passed since I last blogged, or journalled.

There have been trying times, but lets not dwell on those. Instead, let's take a look at the moments from which I have drawn my strength; those that have sustained me.

A few short days after I last posted, we were visited by Ti Mirak (our little miracle boy, Jonathon.) Jonathon came to us in May, after his Mother delivered him and his twin brother 8 weeks before her due-date. He was close to death on arrival, and stopped breathing a few days later.

Whenever we discharge a preemie, we tell their Mamas that if the little one becomes unwell during the first year of life, they may bring them back to GLA to be assessed. Jonathon's Mummy was at home in bed with a nasty cold. Jonathon had been feverish for three days and he arrived here with two Aunties and an uncle.

Jonathon was thoroughly examined. He was bright and alert, if a little bit miserable. He was feeding well and didn't have any diarrhoea or vomiting. There were no signs of infection in his chest but his throat and ears were a little bit red.I prescribed paracetamol syrup(Tylenol)and an antibiotic.

At Five and a half months, Jonathon weighs in at over 12 lb. That is quite good for a Haitian baby and it is fantastic for one that was born over 2 months premature! Mme Bernard advised the family that they could start offering Jonathon some weaning foods. His Aunties were horrified.
'No!' one exclaimed!' He isn't 6 months old yet!' We counselled his mother to breast-feed Jonathon exclusively for the first 6 months of his life so that he would have the best chance of survival. Apparently, Jonathon's family are following this advice very carefully! It was encouraging to see Jonathon thriving and so well loved and cared for!

After 11 days, Ti Fi was finally able to breath without supplemental oxygen. She health remains unstable but she continues to make great strides in her development. She is now able to roll from her front to her back and vice-versa. She can shuffle across the floor when she is sitting and she scoots backwards when she is lying on her belly. Last week, I found her underneath her crib!

Two week ago today, I was called to the waiting area to assess a preemie, who had arrived with his Daddy. Lyovens was born around 6 weeks early and we found him to be very tiny for his age (just 3lb 3oz). He is a beautiful boy. He was well wrapped up but cold . He had been born 3 days earlier and hadn't received a single drop of fluid. He had a good, strong cry and I felt hopeful, if in a cautious way that he might live. I'd had a tough week, and Lyovens arrival coincided with a bi-monthy volunteer and staff outing. I wouldn't be able to go, but it didn't matter. Suddenly, I was re-energised. It felt as though God was smiling down on me.

Many of our parents are very afraid of their premature babies, and the things that we do (medically) to sustain them. Lyoven's family however, are very laid back about it all. His Father told me that GLA previously helped Lyoven's older sister, who was also born premature. She is now 6 years old and in school!

Lyovens needed a feeding tube for the first week he was with us. I am pleased to report that he is now breast-feeding. He lost weight initially. We started him on just 5ml of milk, every two hours and gradually increased the volumes. Today, he weighs 3lb 7oz. He still needs to be in an incubator. The biggest risk factor for him is that he is so small for his age. That means he wasn't getting what he needed in the womb and is starting off at a disadvantage.

Yet if there were no difficulty in his life, there would be no scope for a miracle.

1 comment:

Rebekah Hubley said...

Another great post Susan! I am so glad that I can put your face and smile with your writings now... :-)