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.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Enduring Strength

'As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.' (Ecclesiastes 11:5)
How does a tiny infant, born almost two months prematurely, survive for 8 days without being fed? And when I say he wasn't fed, I mean, he wasn't fed. He didn't receive anything - not a single drop of milk or even water for over a week.
When he arrived, Jeff was severely hypothermic, with an underarm temperature of 90.3OF. His skin was thin, dry, and tightly stretched over his jutting ribs. And yet, Jeff was awake, alert, and he had a strong cry. For some reason I can't explain, Jeff was no-where close to death.

Conventional western medicine doesn't tell us much about how to manage prematurely born infants who come in several days after they are born, dehydrated, hypothermic and malnourished. We know that they need to be warmed, since cold stress causes the acid levels in their blood to rise. However, once they warm up, their bodies oxygen requirements increase, and they have to breath harder and faster to get this oxygen.

Well, once we warmed Jeff, he developed severe apnoea - he stopped breathing for long periods of time, during which he would turn blue. It took a lot of stimulation to get him breathing again.

I was able to run a blood gas on him and check the level of sugar, and electrolytes in his blood. These investigations confirmed what I suspected: Jeff was dehydrated, and he had some metabolic imbalances as a result of this dehydration. His body was trying to correct these imbalances through increased respiratory effort, but Jeff was too weak and tired to keep this effort up.

What did we do? We put Jeff on CPAP to help him with his breathing, while we began giving him fluids to correct the dehydration.

Jeff is a survivor. These photographs show him on arrival, and then 8 days later, weaning off of his CPAP.

It has been my prayer, that God would sustain the fragile infants in our area, until they reach us. When I meet babies like Jeff and Woodson, and Jonathon, enduring what they do not have the strength to endure, there is no doubt in my mind that God is answering my prayers.


Cheryl said...

Praising God from whom all blessings flow for the abilities you have to put these fragile babies on CPAP and oxygen! Thanks be to Him!

Dave said...

WOW, 8 days that's is just amazing. God has a plan for this little one.