Friday, September 24, 2010

New Life ~ New Challenges ~ New Opportunities

In the pre-natal program we fast track all teens in as quickly as possible. We always have a wait list but when a teen-mom shows up she goes to the top of the list.

This beautiful young woman named Adema joined us only 3 weeks ago; we haven't known her long.  According to the dates she gave us we thought we had quite a while to work with her and get her ready to be a mom.  We thought we had time for prenatal care, spiritual guidance and time for her to grow and come to trust us.  Her dates were wrong.  Earlier this week she came to the door in labor at 6:30 AM; we prepared for a preemie.  We called Doctor Jen and an OB nurse to join us for the labor and delivery.  We brought out all the "big guns" at our disposal.  We were extremely relieved when the baby was small but not premature.

Mama and baby are both tiny.  Adema looks like she should be playing with dolls not raising a baby in a third world country.  Although both mom and baby were okay after the delivery we knew we could not send them home.  We added Adema and baby to the hospital population and started a mentoring program with our other teen moms,  including Djenie. (Many of you prayed for Djenie and her baby Kenny in the weeks after the earthquake. Thank you!)

Djenie explained that her baby, Kenny, had been small as well and now he is chubby, happy and developmentally on target.  Djenie has taken her job seriously and is full of advice, help and friendship.  She knows how it feels, she was there eight months ago.

This is exactly how our program was meant to work.  Women come and receive help, make positive changes in their lives and then help others.  They become examples in their own communities and make a difference.

Adema is now part of our hospital community.  Other moms are gently scolding her for not breast feeding long enough.  Others are watching out for her.  Doctor Jen is tending to the baby's legs which are deformed.

Together, as a hospital community, we will make a difference in this girl's life.  This four pound baby would barely have a chance if we let her go home prematurely.  Mom just doesn't have the skills to properly care for her baby girl.   By the time we decide she can go home most likely she won't want to.  Our patients have a way of doing that.  Our hospital becomes a home, a safe haven, a place of refuge.

As I look over our prenatal files and check into our ladies' histories  I am astounded at the number of still births, miscarriages and the numbers of children who have died under the age of five.  How can so many women have lost so many children?  This program exists to help reduce those numbers.  Healthy pregnancies, safe births and a safe and educated post-partum are keys to saving lives.  Teaching breast feeding can save countless babies.

Adema is one more teen mom who will be changed. Her baby is living because of coming to Heartline.  Her life will change because she is learning life skills and parenting skills with her first-born.  She will enter our child development program and come weekly for six months.

Adema is one great reason for a post-partum ward and a permanent hospital.  Haiti is full of young teens just like her - we are out to reach as many of them as possible.  If you help us we will help them!

Beth McHoul