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, 6 October 2011


Born 5 weeks prematurely, this very low birth weight baby clung to life for a week at home. As the days passed, the infant's already tiny frame diminished. The baby's mother knew of a clinic in Cazale, one that had provided medical care to the family numerous times in the past, but she had no plans to seek help for this baby. There was no point, she told her relatives. I see Alaine's mother in my minds eye, too listless in her despair to even argue with them. Fine, take the baby. It won't change anything.

Alaine weighs 2lb 14.5 oz. The lady who accompanied her from Cazale, up to GLA, told us that the Alaine was not drinking enough. She was weak and she was becoming too tired to suck, but she was alert and moving her arms and legs. She clung to my scrub top, and her eyes met mine. There was a warm rush inside me and with it, protective, and nurturing instincts.

Alaine is her mother's 18 child. All the babies that came before Alaine have died. All of them. Every single one, including a premature infant that came to GLA for medical assistance several years ago, and went home strong and healthy, only to pass away at home. I'm sure Alaine's mother can't bear to attach to baby number 18.

Alaine is in an incubator tonight, struggling to find the energy to suck. I hope that she will be stronger after a day or two of regular feeds. She began having apnoeas this afternoon, which means that she would stop breathing briefly, and her oxygen levels and heart rate would drop. These episodes were frequent enough that they would have disrupted the balance of gasses in her blood if they had continued. To prevent this, I have started Alaine on Caffeine, and she is receiving compressed air, through a nasal cannula.

'We need to ask God to be merciful,' Mme Bernard exclaimed, with far more pathos than she is given to. 'We need to ask him to to save this one baby, this one for her mother.'

Although we have never met her, the anguish that Alaine's mother has known is very real to us. We pray that a year from now, she will have a reason to believe in God's grace, again. We pray for mercy. We plead for this child's life.


Heather Brooke said...

Hello from a nurse in Nashville, TN! I just want you to know that I read your blog regularly and pray for you and these sweet children. I hope one day I will be able to make it bake to Haiti. Hugs! You are doing's God's work!

Marie said...

We will be praying! May God give you wisdom as you care for her! Praying for the mother as well...I can not imagine her grief and all that she is going through...