Wednesday, September 09, 2009

A Tale of Three Ladies

The Heartline Prenatal program currently sees 21 ladies each Thursday. As of today, there are an additional 15 ladies on a waiting list, just hoping to get into the program before their baby arrives.

Of our 21 pregnant ladies, 3 are HIV positive.

N.J -
Is 34 years old. Her baby is due September 24th. She entered our program with this pregnancy back in March. She has five other children. This is her sixth pregnancy. She has never lost a child. Only two of her children currently live with her. The rest of the kids are with relatives in other areas of the country. When she found out she was pregnant, she was sad. In April we did lab work on NJ, she has been very angry since the day she learned of her HIV status. She was desperate for money and agreed to be with the man for money. She suspects that he gave her HIV and the baby. She wants nothing to do with the baby and has threatened to abandon it at the government hospital. When we're with NJ her anger is often palpable. She had a previous baby in the Heartline program and was negative for AIDS at that time. She is newly infected. She uses the DASH program for her AIDS medications. Her pregnancy has gone very well, her weight gain and growth have been on track. Her baby will be placed for adoption. She is certain of her choice. She does not wish to have more children.

R.C. -
Is turning 32 years old this week. She joined our program in May. Her baby is due in mid-October. She measures very small, and we're expecting a tiny baby. She lives with her husband and their one child. She has another child that does not live with her. This is her third pregnancy. In June she found out through her lab results in our program that she is HIV positive. She will not tell her husband. She says he will hit her if she does. She believes he gave it to her and indicated that he is not faithful. RC has had Chicken Pox and a respiratory infection during her pregnancy and has gained only four pounds since May. She is depressed and broken. She carries a large secret alone. She switched AIDS treatment programs to go to one in Leogane (two hours by tap-tap) because she does not want to run into anyone who knows her or her husband at the Port au Prince clinics. RC is one of the most consistently sad women I have ever known. She says that after this baby she does not wish to have more children.

F.P. -
Is 23 years old. She joined our program in early June. On two different occasions she missed going for her lab work. In early August we finally got her there. That is when she learned she is HIV positive. FP has one child, a six year old son. Her baby is due in early December. FP has also told us that she will not share her test results with the father of her children. She suspects he gave it to her but she does not feel safe telling him. She goes to her AIDS program appointments in Port au Prince. She seems to be doing the best of the three women. She is gaining weight well and appears healthy. She is uncertain if she wants more children.

Each week these three ladies and 18 others, with their own complicated situations, come to receive vitamins, education, a prenatal check-up and a meal.

The wait-list is a difficult thing to look at each week. Statistically speaking we know that our wait-list likely has one or two ladies who are carrying a dangerous virus they know nothing about. The desire to choose the right ladies off of the list and help those at the greatest risk is so important to us. We've always wished we could allow everyone that shows up into the program, turning no one away. In order to know their faces, their names, their stories and engage with them on a relational level it is important to take only the number we can serve well and serve with great attention to detail.

We appreciate prayers for these ladies. Their situations are heavy and mind-boggling. Pray for their endurance and their courage. Pray for their health and the health and safe deliveries of their babies.