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 April 2012

A Letter Home

Stabilising Jusmy was a tough job for an orphanage in the Haitian mountains.

Jusmy came to us as a 3 week old premature boy with a cleft lip and palate. He was extremely malnourished and suffering from an infection. For several days, we wondered if his heart had been too weakened by starvation to continue beating.

The picture below was taken this morning. No more wires and tubes.

Jusmy, nestled in his incubator
Although I had to be in the NICU until 1-2am for the first week he was with us, I was not working alone. Jusmy received very particular attention from our Haitian nannies and nurses, while our staff and volunteers and supporters all over the world sent up prayers on his behalf. It seemed that God had already answered those prayers, before they were even offered.

The day that Jusmy was admitted, Jean Bell, who manages the US office flew into Haiti. This was a blessing for two reasons. Firstly, Jean had expertise as a former ICU nurse that she was able to share with me. Secondly, she was carrying with her a portable breast milk pasteuriser, that was donated by a friend and by members of my church in Scotland.

Jusmy was so frail and so ill, that he wasn't able to tolerate formula milk. We gave him IV fluids and intravenous lipids. Since his mother reminded in hospital and was unable to produce breast milk for him, we also started Jusmy on small amounts of donor breast milk, which was safely pasteurised in a low technology, but scientifically backed system, purchased from a company in England. The single bottle breast milk pasteuriser resembles a thermos flask. It allows us to treat up to 200ml of donor milk at a time. The pasteurised milk is sterile but most of the antibodies along with other immune boosting substances the nutrients and the digestive enzymes in the milk are preserved.

The single bottle pasteuriser, donated by friends of  our Haitian babies in Scotland!
Although he arrived in a critical condition and we had to advance his feeds very slowly, Jusmy's weight increased from 1.34kg to 1.92kg in 10 days! So thank you to the milk donor and to Irene Gillies from Brechin, and the tea ladies at Saint Margaret's Roman Catholic Church in Stirling. Thank you also, Jennifer.  Your gifts have meant life and hope for a tiny, and gravely ill infant. The best thing about the money you donated is that it will keep on giving. The breast milk pasteuriser will allow God's littlest Angels to treat donor milk for many babies over the years to come.

1 comment:

Colleen and Jussi said...

Thank the Lord that the timing was perfect even though here on earth we wonder! It was there when you needed it. So amazing for litle Jusmy. Blessings, friend! we are still praying for the nine pounds collectively of your little ones, C