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.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Be Still And Know........

Early this afternoon, we admitted a tiny baby girl, born outside the Baptist mission hospital, which, is a few miles up the mountain road.

She was born at around 22 weeks gestation. She wasn't fully developed enough to breath on her own. We attempted to resuscitate her, but the un-named infant died peacefully at 3:30pm.

A little while later, the afternoon was drawing to a close and I was sitting out on the NICU balcony, cradling Rosena. I was aware of a tight feeling in my chest. The surge of adrenaline had that had coursed through my veins a short time ago had subsided, leaving me tense and drained, and processing sorrow for a family that had just lost a second baby, concern for the mother, critically ill in the mountain hospital, thankfulness that at least her impossibly tiny child did not live long enough to suffer too much.

I was tired, and my mind was buzzing, when a familiar tune drifted into my consciousness. In a low voice, I sang the well known words of a psalm, set to music.....

'Be sill and know, that I am God
Be still and know that I am God
Be still and know, that I am God.'

I breathed deep, and exhaled slowly, feeling the tension leave my body. Rosena's eyes were fixed on me. I don't sing particularly well, but that didn't seem to matter to Rosena. I was so thankful, for the weight of her in my arms, and for her warmth.

Rosena is better today. I found her much less puffy this morning. Her weight is down. I don't usually celebrate a weight loss in any of the main house children, but in Rosena's case, this is a very good sign of progress. A weight loss means that she is absorbing the protein from her milk. These proteins are crossing into her blood stream, where they are drawing the fluid that has seeped into her tissues, back into her circulation. Her kidneys are getting rid of the fluid that has accumulated. Rosena is responding to treatment.

'My sweet girl, aren't you just so pretty!' A smile teased the right corner of her mouth.

'Yes, oh so pretty, and you are only going to get prettier as the days go by, my darling'!

At this, the smile burst forth, radiating into Rosena's eyes. I have read somewhere, that a smile is one of the best prognostic indicators (of survival) in a severely malnourished child. In babies like Rosena, a smile is so much more than the upturned corners of a mouth; it speaks of a healing body, a will to live, a joy, and hope for survival.

Minutes ago, fatigue had clouded my thoughts. Now, here was the sun!

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