“I believe that Jesus can heal this little one.”
This is what I said to myself this week as I held and looked at two precious, tiny babies. One baby was ours from the clinic and one was a complete stranger. There are days as a clinic director and a newly graduated medical intern that I find myself watching the story of delicate lives unfold. I have come to believe that babies have it pretty well off because they only know the love of their mother while in the womb and once out of the womb they know the love of their mother still and the love of their family, their nurses, their doctors and even strangers. As a medical intern when I would sit with mommies holding their lifeless babies at the hospital I would remind them that their baby only knew the best of love and has gone into the perfect love of Jesus’ embrace. This Mother’s Day took on some realities for me as I worked the morning in the public hospital NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) and visited one of our clinic babies in the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit). Allow me to share my Mother’s Day with you.
I always say life is worth investing in so as I visited first a precious baby girl in PICU I prayed and cried over her and this is what came to mind, she is worth investing in. It’s seeing the life that no one else would care about. She would just be considered a “badjao baby” and death is what is expected in this badjao (an indigenous people group) community. In fact someone recently told me, “I think you’re fighting harder for this baby than for the mother”. While I don’t agree with this, I can understand how the culture that this mother grew up in and lives in hesitates to get too close, too involved, love too much (if there is such a thing) because she, unlike me, grew up seeing that death was a reality around her.
The badjao mom grew up accepting that babies die, so she fully embraces that her baby might die and such is life. What a reality! While this may be the outward appearance, I do believe that her heart as a mother deeply cares and loves her little one and that is why she sits beside her baby day after day; pumping breast milk to give her daughter through her feeding tube, undergoing testing to help her baby, changing diapers and sleeping beside her crib. She’s a mother who will always love her baby. She may just need a little help figuring out the medical world as it’s such a stark contrast to her home built of wooden stilts over a stagnant pond where fishing is her life. I also know God sees her as HIS daughter and we don’t know what amazing future may lie ahead of her. So as I paid for the most expensive meds I’ve ever purchased, I am very much reminded of the immeasurable investment that our Father invests in us and in that there is great hope, there is certainly a fighting chance for this little one.
It seems every year the Lord gives us the one baby who isn’t meant to survive but beats the odds, this may be our one for 2016.
I’m believing. Last year it was a precious baby girl rescued out of the red light district with all kinds of infections stacked up against her but she has certainly overcome! She is walking everywhere and a joy to all that see her toothy grin. The year before last, it was precious Juen who was born with a cystic tumor as big as her own head and as I watched her swim around with my own son last week I couldn’t help but smile in delight at the miracle she is. There are many miracles living and walking around our clinic and we thought in the moment it was crazy to go all out and spend for these precious ones. The countless hours of checking up, the hours of our staff literally bagging oxygen into their tiny lungs, the expensive medicines and doctor bills and all the follow ups but I know each and every one of our staff would wholeheartedly agree that it was so worth it and on God’s team, we beat the odds!
You might recall that we had major a fundraising drive last year to cover the medical and surgical expenses for a baby born with cystic hygroma which caused her to have a large bulge under the skin on her neck.
We are happy to tell you that the baby, our little Juen, is now a very healthy young girl and is ‘guaranteed’ to have healthier days ahead. She still will undergo quarterly check ups and may continue to need some medications or minor surgeries here and there but by God’s grace, your support, and the help of our incredibly gracious doctors and surgeons locally she has a full, and healthier, life ahead of her!
We often have to deal with difficult situations and help mothers make decisions that involve the lives of themselves and their babies. It can be a nearly impossible call to decide who to send to private care and believe for the provision and who to send to the public hospital and hope they prioritize her and/or her baby. These are the situations we continue to minimize as we increase the knowledge of our staff, keep our equipment and facility updated, and continue to partner with local physicians who work with us to prevent some of the urgent situations from happening. We are thankful and proud to say that our efforts have been successful and we have zero maternal mortalities in our 12 years of existence. While you may be thinking, “of course no moms would die” well the national statistics for the Philippines shows a rate of 114 mothers dying per 100,000 live births (source: WHO 2015 data)According to a UNFPA report, approximately 10 mothers die everyday in the Philippines of maternal related causes.
We are ever so thankful that we are not included in this statistic. We hope you continue to pray with us that it remains that way.
A Mothers’ day story pt.2