Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Dalonne & Job

I truly had not planned to stay on top of stories for the next few days  ... just too much going on and it is hard to keep up with it all.

The problem is that I process by writing and I feel craz y ier if I don't process. 

There are certain women that we all make connections with and I've come to care a lot for Dalonne. She reminds me of a Koala Bear.  I see her and I have the urge to squeeze.

I also know for a fact a woman in FL named Kat prays for Dalonne and I want her (and anyone interested in praying) to have the newest information.

Dalonne is 22. This was her first pregnancy. She was not compliant in our prenatal program. The short story missing much complicated detail is that her noncompliance led to her not being able to deliver her baby under our care. She used a local hospital. Her experience (as expected) was not very good and she left there with an episiotomy and a lot of pain.

Her baby was born on Saturday, March 26th.  Last Tuesday the 29th Dalonne's mother came to class with the three day old baby boy.  He was clearly not well.  He had a fever. He looked and acted as if he had not eaten anything. Most of his bones were visible. He had no muscle tone. He was lethargic and non-responsive. His fontanel was bulging. We transported Grandma and baby boy to a hospital very near us. They admitted him Tuesday afternoon.  We really cannot show our faces at this particular hospital because they won't help if they see there are other expats/other programs that are involved.  It does not matter that the care needed is beyond what our programs offer, they still turn people away. Stopping by to visit the hospital is not in the best interest of the patient. We often send Winnie, a talented Haitian nurse, but it was too busy to do that on Thursday.

On Friday we called Dalonne to ask how the baby was.  She told us that they had discharged him on Thursday.  She said he was still sick. That meant a gravely ill baby stayed less than 48 hours in the hospital.

Today Dalonne showed up for our Early Childhood Development class with her son.  She pulled me out to the front porch and said she needed to talk to me alone.  I grabbed Faby, the young woman that teaches the Harbor House girls to ask her to listen to my Kreyol and correct me if I was unclear and to make sure I knew all that Dalonne was saying.

Dalonne said that her family says she cannot take care of this baby and she should give up on him and literally "put him out". She started crying as she told this story. I asked her why they would say something like that to her? She said they say he is sick and she is not repsonsible and she cannot do it. She said her husband no longer occupies her. (A common way to say that you are not being taken care of.) She said her husband doesn't want the baby. She said she has friends to live with temporarily but not for long. She cried as she shared all of this.  She cried hardest when talking about her family wanting her to give up on him. I asked her if she thinks she can care for the baby?  She said "Yes, but I don't have money to eat and soon I don't know where to live and no one thinks I can care for him." 

I assured her we all believed she can do it, she can be a mom. I asked her to go to class and I would try to talk with the others and think of options but that for sure the baby needed to be seen at the end of class and to feed him during class as much as possible. Heather went to encourage her to nurse the baby.

After class there was much chaos. Some days the valid and legitimate needs in a room of 30 make you feel like your head might implode. Heather and John (Ackerman - a nurse and friend of Heartline) saw the baby and talked more with Dalonne.  They undressed him to weigh him. Other nurses came in to see him. Everyone agreed the situation was serious and we needed to figure out how to get the baby hospitalized again. We sent Dr. Jen this photo and told her what the main concerns were this Tuesday. We shared that he still has a fever, he still seems undernourished, he still seems lethargic, and his heart doesn't necessarily seem normal upon examination.

We started to try to figure out how to get a different Haitian hospital to take him.  Troy said if he brought them formula he thought he could get one hospital to take him in a trade.  He knew that they had five abandoned babies on their hands and they need formula; a trade might work.  (This is the reality of finding health care in Haiti.)  We began to move in the direction to make that happen.  As Troy tried to arrange the trade some of us went to talk and pray with Dalonne.  Her tears and dejected body language broke our hearts.  I asked, "Did you name him yet?" "Wi" she replied, "Li rele Job."

His name is Job.

Of course his name is Job.

About that time Jen called from Minnesota.  She shared some of her concerns and asked us to do something different with him. Jen's heart is always here and she is constantly getting photos and emails from us asking for advice.  Jen asked us to call Lori at Real Hope for Haiti.   Jen said, "Lori does amazing work with these babies.  Maybe he won't live. Maybe his heart does have a defect. But, if anyone will care for him well it is Lori."  (We knew that but we also know Lori is surrounded by need and probably doesn't want our PAP babies too.)

We called Lori who readily agreed to take on Job.  We filled Dalonne in on the plan.  She was very scared because Cazale is not a place she has ever heard of and it sounded far away.

Troy headed out to Cazale with Dalonne and Job and a few folks that tagged along.  Dalonne was pretty scared and very sad watching Job get the IV placed.  Lori and her husband Charles were able to calm and reassure her that this was a necessary thing they needed to do.  Tonight both Dalonne and Job are protected and cared for by Lori and her staff in Cazale. We don't yet know what all is going on with Job or if he will be okay.  We only know that many people wish to help Dalonne prove to herself and her family that she can be a mom and that giving up is not the answer.

We're praying for Dalonne and Job tonight, because giving up is not our answer either.