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.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Daring to Hope

As the sun slipped behind a mountain last night, surrounding GLA's main house in darkness, I hung my head in defeat, convinced that my precious Bianca would not see another day.

It had been a tough shift. Twice, sudden drops in her blood sugar had brought Bianca to the threshold of death. I had watched her, and her monitors constantly. I quickly learned that the first sign of of a falling blood sugar level, was a slight drop in her body temperature, followed by a dip in her heart rate. I had tried so hard, but despite everything I was doing, Bianca was fading. Her tiny body, so ravaged by malnutrition was giving up. The baby had an unearthly pallor. Her blood was watery. Her kidneys were not producing urine. Her breathing was shallow. She was unconscious, barely responding to pain.

Her mother was not producing more than a few millilitres of breast milk at a time and I suspected the formula we were feeding to Bianca continuously, through a feeding tube, drip-by-drip, was too strong for her damaged organs. I had a small amount of pasteurized donor breast milk. I poured it into the bag that hung from an IV pole above her feeding pump. A few hours later, Bianca had a wet nappy! I instructed the night nurse to give Bianca regular boluses of sugar water, in addition to the donor milk, to keep her blood sugar up

Over night, she stabilized. I found her sucking on her fist this morning. Awake, alert, crying pitifully, hungry. Alive!

Her colour is much better tonight, the swelling in her feet has gone down and she is holding eye contact with me, and she even smiled. 'Imagine', I told the NICU staff, 'after everything she has suffered, she still wants to live, and she can even manage a smile.'

Bianca wants to live, and I dare to hope, that she might.

Don't stop praying. Her life is still an extremely fragile thing, even if her hold on it is firmer.


Asha said...

I pray for grace and for life for this little angel! May the Lord give the staff the strength to get through each moment! Blessings on you Susan.

Marie said...

I have been praying all day and thinking about you. I will continue to pray for a miracle...and more breast milk!

Anonymous said...

Prayed until I fell asleep last night for Bianca. God yo are so good. Continuing to pray. X

Joanne said...

Where do you get your breast milk supply? Would you like me to try and bring some with me on Wednesday? There is a breast milk bank in Halifax.