I got to spend my Saturday night hanging out with our newest little admit, Cheslie. Each hour I had to feed her. As I slowly put food in her belly through a tube I prayed that it wouldn’t come up, that she’d stay hydrated, that she would be able to eat normally again. For a few hours she’d keep most of it down and then all of a sudden, she’d throw a whole lot up again. Her little whimpers and not so little cries of discomfort and hunger brought me to tears.
This beautiful little girl with black curly hair and big eyes was in so much pain. She’s just four months old and smaller than many American newborns. I wanted to “fix” her. I wanted to take the pain away, I wanted to hold her and tell her it was all going to be okay, I wanted her to know she was loved, and to feel loved. Its amazing how fast you can bond with a child, only a few hours with them and you feel connected for a lifetime. You feel a sense of responsibility to ensure the health and well being of this child, even if it just for a few hours, a few months, a babysitting job, or a lifetime.
When Cheslie would cry simply because her stomach was empty and she didn’t understand why it couldn’t be filled my heart broke. When she’d throw up a whole feeding and become more dehydrated it broke again. Over and over again throughout the night, my heart broke for this little girl.
This is my favorite moment from the night. Her little arm hugging my arm :)
Thinking of her and little Devensly who has been in the hospital for two weeks (after only a day in our care), I wondered why these tiny little people have to endure so much pain. Devensly was admitted with severe kwashiorkor. This is malnutrition that can manifest in different ways. In his case, his feet and legs where swollen but you could literally see every bone in his back and chest. Read my friend’s blog here to hear more about him http://ifthislifeilose.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/forever-changed/. Its much more interesting and well worded then I could do.
This is Devensly at admit
Having to hand Devensly off to go to the hospital and not knowing if I’d see him again was hard. My roommates and I had just gotten to love on him for the last 30ish hours and then he was whisked away to a hospital to help his heart rate and breathing to get back to normal. He was going somewhere where he could get help he needed, but that only made it a little easier. Holding vigil most of the night watching, holding, and loving on Cheslie watching her cry for food and then throw it up was hard.
When babies come into our care, our nurse does an amazing job of caring for the physical needs and some of us do what we can to help her, but that doesn’t mean we can work miracles. Only God can do that. We have to be dependent on prayer and the Great Healer. At 1:50 in the morning just as I was getting ready for the 2am feeding and she vomits all over, I didn’t want to wait on God, I wanted her to feel better right then and there. I wrestled a lot that night. These tiny little things have to endure so much pain. Why?
With previous heart break moments here I have been able to fall on God. After brief moments of asking why, I realized I didn’t need to know, that God’s plan is way better than we could ever plan or understand, but its becoming harder and harder. Too many sick babies and too many children whose lives are cut way to short, why was I so lucky to not have to struggle through my childhood years?
Yesterday I went to Bible Study in the afternoon and loved the time of worship. I needed to take time to praise God for who he is and not dwell on what I was wishing he could do. Tears streamed out as I sang, remembered, and took encouragement in the fact that “Our God is greater, our God is stronger, our God is higher than any other. Our God is healer, awesome in power, our God our God. And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us. And if our God is with us, then what could stand against.” What an amazing concept. I was smiling and crying, singing and praying.
When I got back to COTP I saw little Cheslie on oxygen because she was having trouble breathing. Little Miss, what was this all about? It was raining and the kids all needed pajamas and diapers and the two who usually did that kind of thing where helping her so I did those. I wanted to just hold her and love her, but the needs didn’t stop. The rest of our kids’ needs still needed met. After finishing these tasks the nurse decided she would take her to the hospital and so we sent another child away. In hands that are equipped to fulfill their immediate needs, but away from where I could see her and love on her. She’s already in stable condition and we hope she will return in a few days. It was once again hard to let her go, but the needs still didn’t stop. With the nurse gone my other roommate and I did meds for the night and then waited up for the latest news from the hospital.
We have also recently had a baby die who was reunited with her family last fall and just today a premie abandoned baby who was about to get discharged to come live here died. Why? What is God’s plan in all of this? Someone said you shouldn’t ask why, but rather “What is God trying to teach me?” Why would God use sick and dying babies to teach me something?
Even though I know the power of prayer, I know its vital and appreciated in so many ways, it doesn’t seem like enough. I’m struggling with that and learning to rest in God’s presence. I’m learning to use prayer as my most powerful weapon and remembering just how powerful it can be. I just want it resolved. I want the babies to be better, I don’t like the time. I don’t like watching them hurt, I don’t like not being able to fill their bellies, I don’t like it when they cry in pain, I don’t like it. But, I guess, in the end it will all be worth it. We will be able to fill their bellies, hopefully they will be reunited with family, and they will be bigger and stronger. For now, while they lay 30ish minutes away at the hospital I can pray, will you join me? Its hard to love from afar, but when they get back we will get to have lots of cuddle time J