…10 days to save a life

It is amazing what can happen in just 10 day! 

Day 1:  A young, pregnant 14 year old came to CLI Hospital because she was in labour.  She had not gotten any prenatal care during her pregnancy and was diagnosed with multiple diseases after she was admitted to the hospital.  She had only one female family member who acted as her guardian and advocate.  Her guardian was concerned for the baby since the teen mother threatened to kill the baby after it was born in addition to abusing lots of substances during her pregnancy.

It was obvious that she was unhappy to be at the hospital and refused to speak during almost the entire labour and delivery.  Somehow, after hours of difficult and physically exhausting labour she delivered a small but healthy baby girl.  Through God’s grace, this baby girl was born healthy, even after everything she was exposed to in her mother’s womb.

She did not want or try to hold her baby, but we all sighed in relief when she began to breastfeed her with help from the staff and her guardian near the end of the day.

Day 2:  One of the infections this young mother was diagnosed with meant the infant needed treatment multiple times a day for 10 days.  None of us expected the mom to stay past the second day, but somehow she did.  Whether it was the consistent food her guardian brought her, or the clean bed we provided, she stayed.  Not only did she stay, but also she continued to breastfeed the baby every couple of hours.

Day 3:  The little baby girl was doing well and showing no signs of infections so far, but the staff was still hesitant to leave her alone with her mother.  Whenever the guardian had to leave the Maternity Unit, the little one would be bundled up and placed in a bassinet at the nurses station unit the guardian returned.  The mom continued to feed the baby.

Day 4:  At this point, our Hospital Chaplain and Anesthetist began to visit the mother twice a day, in the mornings and afternoons.  He would mostly ask about her life before getting pregnant and just listen. The nurses would also spend a lot of time with the mom and her guardian, often making an extra effort to spend time during their shift with both of them outside of routine patient care. Jared would spend additional time talking with the young mother about her baby and began praying with her daily.

Day 5:  We learned a lot about this young mother over the coming days, mostly the hardship she experienced and the events leading to her pregnancy.  She herself is an orphan and was living with extended family when she was sent away to live with another part of the family almost a year ago.  When she was sent away, a friend introduced her to a man who offered to marry her since she needed a home.  She married that man and stayed with him for a month until he also sent her away.  She found a friend that let her move in, but she also happened to be a prostitute.  By this point she was pregnant with her husband’s child.  While living with her friend, the first and second wife of her husband found out about her marriage, then each one found her and beat her.

She decided at this point to give up trying to live right.  She began to abuse her own body with drugs, alcohol and sex.  It was not until a few weeks before she delivered the baby that her guardian took her into her home and off the street.

Day 6:  This tragic story gave everyone new insight into her pain and emotional instability.  Most of all, it gave our chaplain the opportunity to share the story of Christ and His unfailing love.  The love that will not abandon or send you away, ever!  Later that day, one of the nurses found her on the hospital bed reading the Bible.

Day 7:  Healing is a miraculous thing and it is easy to overlook the power of emotional healing.  That morning, the overnight nurse told me she saw the young mother holding the baby and smiling at her.  That day we learned that she finally named her baby girl.

Day 8-10: These 3 days all looked similar as the hospital chaplain spent time in the morning and afternoons offering emotional and spiritual counseling.  Each day we watched in awe as she held her baby, spoke to the staff and her guardian respectfully and continued to read the Bible.  Each day the baby stayed healthy and gained weight.

Day 11:  We were prepared for this vulnerable and unstable teenager to bolt from the hospital soon after the baby was born, but instead we saw a lonely and scared girl slowly learn to trust those around her again. We watched the transforming power of Christ give healing to her spirit and protection for her precious daughter.  Most of all, we felt assured of the brighter future for these two new creations, mother and daughter.

We scheduled her to return 3 days later for a follow up evaluation and she came with a smile on her face.  Truly we praise God for the gift of this pair and the blessing it was watch His power transform a broken child into a loving mother.

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Pictures of the infant that we wrote about in our post. She and mom came for their post-natal checks and both are doing great!
CLI Hospital Update: 
    Thanks for everyone’s continued prayers for the people of Malawi during this difficult season of both malnutrition and malaria.  Unfortunately, neither situation will probably get any better in the coming months.  If anything, the situation will worsen some.  We do praise God that we finally had about 4 days of good rains which is important for the crops, but as we drove through the villages today, much of the corn is not looking very good.  The clinic has been very busy and continues to get busier each month during malaria season.  We went from seeing about 450-600 a week in January to seeing about 800-1400 per week in February.  As you can imagine, this has led to some long days for the clinic staff, but thankfully we have a staff who works well together as a team to care for all these patients.  
 
    Many are still continuing to come from surrounding health centers because they continue to be out of medications.  Most of the sickest patients that come continue to be children under five.  We currently refer around 30 children a week in our ambulance to the nearest hospital where they can be admitted for care.  At CLI Hospital they are examined, stabalized and prepared for transport so that they can receive further treatment for malaria, severe infections, or severe anemia requiring a blood transfusion.  
    
    In the first year we were here, we never had a parent or caregiver bring in a child who had died on the way to the clinic.  However in the last six weeks, we have had at least one child per week who has been brought in to the clinic after dying at home or on the way to the hospital.  This is devastating for the families and the communities which we serve, and we are praying that the situation will improve for all of these families who find it very difficult to get to the clinic because of transportation cost and other issues. 
     
    The maternity ward continues to stay busy as well.  Since opening in September 2015, we have now delivered about 160 infants and continued to follow the mom’s and infants during their post-natal check ups.  Over the next two or three months, we plan to expand Obstetric Care Services to include C-sections and other procedures in our theatre as well as opening a blood bank.  Continue to pray that these preparations will go smoothly as this is a service the community desperately needs and we allow us to take care of more women and infants at our facility.   
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Clinic team transporting a critically sick patient to a referral hospital about 30 min away.

 

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Examining a sick girl with Malaria one day in clinic. She was pretty scared and not as cooperative. In the U.S, I almost never wore a white coat because it would sometimes scare the children. It is a little more difficult here when many children have never seen an “azungu” or white person.
 
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Jenny performing an ultrasound on a pregnant women in Antenatal clinic.
  

 

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Yohanne, our nurse anethetist at CLI, leading a devotional for the patients and their families before clinic begins.
 
Family Update:
 
Our own precious baby girl is growing bigger.  You can see in the picture below that she is finally sitting up all on her own!! She is 7 months and we cannot believe how fast the time has flown.  Our church life in Malawi continues to grow too. We have made it a priority to attend some non-Sunday events like a church braai (barbecue) last weekend.  Its been hard to coordinate time away from where we live and work, but making new friends and connecting with people outside of Sunday morning worship was wonderful.  In a couple weeks, Jenny’s parents will come to visit us in Malawi and we are looking forward to seeing them and some much needed time away.    
 
Fundraising Update:  grafic-1
We are very thankful to everyone who helps to support the 3 of us as we serve here in Malawi.  We are making progress toward our fundraising goals for 2016 and we are grateful for everyone who supports us.   Please continue to pray for our financial support.  We are still a little bit short of our monthly budget and we are praying over the next month that we will get to our monthly goal.
 
Also, continue to share our blog with friends and family as well as your church family.  We are praying that additional people will continue to partner with us to serve the community in Malawi.     
-Jared, Jenny, & Sophia
 

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5 thoughts on “…10 days to save a life”

  1. Jared, Jenny and Sophia, my prayers are for the family to be safe and give you the strength to continue the work your are doing. God bless, and be safe. Willard

  2. Pingback: …teenage motherhood – The Drs. Brockington

  3. Pingback: Back in Malawi… – The Drs. Brockington

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