Dave Overton
Glory Reborn Founder
Fri Feb 25 2011

Baby James

Baby James Almost every day at Glory Reborn we see 30-50 pregnant women come through our doors for free, quality, prenatal care. What I love the most is that as each woman gets to know our staff, we get to invest in them individually. I am a firm believer in “paying it forward”, treating each patient as if they were royalty, how do we know who these young patients will grow up to be, or who their babies may become? The possibilities are endless. I love to look at the newborns just after their first bath and imagine, “she is going to be a teacher”, “he’s going to be an inventor”, “maybe she will be the next president”…there is so much potential in each life. The same was true for baby James. We were convinced that baby James was going to be a doctor when he grew up. Like many of our mommies, Ann-Ann had come to the city hoping to find work and found her-self pregnant. When she became pregnant she was left on her own. No one would have guessed that during her prenatal check ups Ann-Ann would soon grow to be a close friend of the Glory Reborn family. Her story was familiar and her pregnancy was uncomplicated. She delivered her baby boy, baby James, without any family support early one morning. Baby James had a tough start to life. He was born with pneumonia yet he seemed to be so tolerant of the frequent poking and giving of medicines. His mommy Ann-Ann was just as brave, never leaving his side. For a week in the clinic we all grew attached to thismomandbabyjames-208x300 handsome baby James. Sadly baby James did not seem to be improving on his medicines and was taken to the public hospital for further care beyond what we could provide within the clinic. Our social worker visited daily taking medicines, helping with laboratory procedures and praying with mommy Ann-Ann. Then there was a late night call, “Baby James needs surgery, karon (now)! He has a hernia.” A hernia, wow, really?!? “It doesn’t seem to fit his symptoms but ok, here we go”, I thought to myself. We all coordinated to get the list of supplies for the surgery from the hospital and divided up to the different pharmacies to purchase these urgent supplies and medicines. Our staff spent the night going from pharmacy to pharmacy looking for everything from sutures to gauze to gloves to IV fluids. There really is no way to describe the feeling of a doctor handing you a stack of prescriptions that are needed to save a life and it’s now in your hands to find them all in as quick a time as possible because a life depends on you and inventory system of the pharmacy which we all know is not up to par. Hearts racing, hands shaking, four pharmacies and two hospitals later we had secured the supplies and baby James was headed for surgery. Now in this type of situation, it feels that the pressure is off of you and the baton has been handed to the doctors as you wait for news from inside the OR. A few hours later, we learned that he made it through! Our hearts were relieved and at two weeks old baby James had captured our hearts forever. He seemed to be making a good recovery and a week later, at three weeks old, he was discharged from the hospital. Good news right? Ann-Ann, having adopted Glory Reborn as her new family, came to the clinic with our social worker after we settled the hospital dues to let us all love on baby James. Happy to hold baby James we took turns cuddling and kissing him yet we sensed something wasn’t right. He was limp, didn’t cry, wasn’t digesting and processing food, and he was vomiting. I thought back to the night I heard the Hernia diagnosis and began to wonder again? These are the same problems he had two weeks before. But he had just been discharged, cleared, signed out of the hospital an hour before. It just didn’t make since. Throughout the night we worked to figure out what was wrong with baby James. In the morning we took him back to the surgeon who operated on him and we were told, “You just need to burp him.” Not happy with this answer from the public system we went to our clinic’s pediatrician who noted that baby James was in fact not ok. We decided to admit him in the private hospital this time as clearly the public system was unable to help him. Baby James clearly had an active infection from the previous surgery as well as what we would later discover to be duodenal webbing. At four and half weeks old baby James was in for his second surgery. Every evening we would go to the hospital and visit baby James. It had become somewhat of a routine, a happy time at the end of a day, seeing baby James and mommy Ann-Ann. When he had four different IV bags hanging from his little 5lbs body and his “battle scar” across his abdomen is when we decided for sure he was going to be a doctor someday. Baby James was a fighter. He battled his way through pneumonia, two surgeries, an infection of the intestines and many electrolyte problems. He was one tough but oh so adorable fighter. Some days the staff would go with us and we would sing to staffpraying-278x300 baby James. Other days we read to him from the Bible. One-day mommy Ann-Ann had a pedicure and everyday the stack of adorable baby boy clothes waiting for baby James grew higher and cuter. At five weeks old he was doing well and we were making plans for where they would stay when they were out of the hospital. Ann-Ann was truly all-alone except for the daily visits from us and the staff. We wanted to ensure she and baby James had a hope ahead of them. And then, slowly, baby James started having trouble breathing again, and his color started turning the eerie pale yellow that gave the oh too familiar feeling deep in the gut that something tragic was about to come. I remember getting into the car with David, we caught each other’s eye and stopped to pray for healing that was desperately needed that night. By morning baby James was on the ventilator. We rushed down to the hospital to pay the fee to rent the ventilator and oxygen. It seemed to help bring baby James some relief. By now the clinic staff and I were taking shifts staying at the hospital 24 hours a day to be with Ann-Ann and pray for a miracle for our precious little guy. At six weeks baby James was weak and unstable yet when we would sing to him his eyes would open as if he was joining in our heart’s voice for his healing. And then, one morning, with his eyes looking all around the room and a big smile on his face (that impressed even the doctors) baby James went from earthly singing to a heavenly choir welcoming him home. Oh how our hearts hurt! But oh how precious that he saw babyjames-peace-218x300 Jesus, smiling bigger than one would think possible for a six week old little guy. He was telling us he was out of pain, at peace and seeing the beauty and face of his Maker. David, myself, and one staff member spent the next two hours in the hospital garden with mommy Ann-Ann singing, crying, mourning and rejoicing at who baby James was on this earth and that he is now in Heaven made complete. Just as a family would, each Glory Reborn staff member helped from getting a casket, a plot, a tombstone, music and flowers prepared and by afternoon we headed to the cemetery. It was a hot, humid, Sunday afternoon and the cemetery was full of families washing clothes, burning trash, cooking BBQ, and kids running everywhere. As we entered I was somewhat repulsed. I had been to this cemetery many times before but this time felt different. How can people live here? How can they be cooking on top of graves? With goats wandering around and the kids running up to shake hands with the “Americans” in the cemetery all began to feel a bit overwhelming as I tried to stay strong for Ann-Ann. My body was there but my hurting heart was a million miles away wishing we could be carrying this tiny, white baby casket, through a quiet cemetery with trees and flowers and not needing to watch our every step for goat droppings or BBQ smoke that was filing the air. Or even better not doing this at all! Lord this is hard enough can you not just give us a bit of a break, a quiet place to mourn this precious life that had become part of our family?! And as we found the tiny plot prepared for baby James it was under the only tree in the entire cemetery. Our staff gathered funeral-300x265 around Ann-Ann and we began the service with worship, prayer and a whole lot of tears. Everyone shared about baby James precious life and his momma Ann-Ann. At some point the scene again became a little too real to bear. You see, just a year and half before we were in this same cemetery burying precious baby Hannah, our staff midwife’s baby who also had died after multiple surgeries. Here we were again. If there is one thing I don’t like it’s baby funerals. I never knew this was part of midwifery and my heart never get’s used to it. David gave a beautiful message of hope and we honored the life of baby James and prayed for strength and hope to continue for Ann-Ann. Ann-Ann continues to be part of the Glory Reborn family. Who would have guessed this young, single mom who walked through our doors with 30 other mommies one day would be the one our hearts connected to so dearly? How honored we were to get to witness the precious life of baby James. A life that some gave up their own lives for, a life that some stayed round the clock to support and protect, a life that stole the hearts of 25 midwives, nurses & social workers and will be remembered forever. How beautiful Jesus is. He truly sees each of us and knows each of us intimately and invests in us. If what our hearts felt towards baby James is a fraction of what Jesus feels towards his children how truly loved, valued and precious we each are. We love you dearly our smiling joy, baby James and can’t wait to sing again with you and the Heavenly choir. Thank you to each of you reading this for giving us the opportunity to invest in women like Ann-Ann and babies like Baby James.