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.