I have been feeling the need to write lately. So many things have been on my heart. Heart aches, turmoil, stress, illness, anxiety.... And where the Lord is leading me through all of this.
That said, something miraculous happened last night that urged my desire to share with you all today.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
Let me introduce to you our sweet sister Sabrina. Sabrina is 15 years old, and from "nan mònn" the mountain. In her village she found herself in a relationship with a boy that is from our village. This pregnancy resulted in an unplanned pregnancy. When she found herself in an abusive situation, she sought help with us at 7:10 Foundation.
Sabrina had a terrible infection, it was ravaging her body, and coming out through massive painful cysts on her breasts. We were VERY concerned for her health, and the health of the baby! We were also concerned about the affects it would have if the baby were born healthy and her ability to nurse the baby.
Immediately we started sharing and praying for sweet Sabrina and the baby she was growing. We were able to raise enough money to send and get her to a clinic where she was given fluids and heavy doses of antibiotics, both oral and topical. Our Assistant Director Rithza took charge of this sweet child and made sure she was getting the care and nourishment she needed.
Soon after she started her medicine, we were blessed by the founder of another organization "Espwa Means Hope", Angela, visiting Haiti. Espwa is a non profit located in Haiti that specializes in maternal health care. Angelas visit confirmed that the infection was under control, the baby was growing, and mama was doing well. She was even able to listen to babes heart beat. Angela has helped with many questions and has helped provide Sabrina with the food she needed to nourish herself and baby.
7:10 Foundation was also blessed with a generous donation to help buy bulk food to distribute the the very needy in the village, and Sabrina was also included in this gift of food.
Sabrina has been "living" with her mother in law during this time. Right up the "hill" from our home in Haiti. This house is a very small 2 room house, with EIGHT other people living in it.
I want to back track a bit and paint a picture for you... hopefully my words will be vivid for you. I can speak to these specific things on a very personal, actual level.
In America, being a single mother is hard. Being a teen mom is even harder.... BUT let me tell you what we have here that eases the difficulties of this. We have human services that work with you to provide housing, rent assistance, food assistance, daycare assistance, health care, and even heat assistance when needed. You know what else we have access to? Birth control, and education on how to use it. We can get it for FREE in so many places. Now, I am not saying that we do it right here in America, and that these services are abused or not abused, that is not the point. The point is, we have it.
We have so many choices here also. We can choose to deliver our babies in a hospital, a birthing center, or in our own home. We can choose a medicated or natural delivery. We can deliver our baby in a bed, a hospital bed, a bath tub, a pool. We can choose to have a midwife, a doctor (OBGYN), or our own friend or family member deliver our child. During our labor and delivery process we can choose to be monitored and checked during the process, and if something were to go wrong we would have access to immediate assistance and intervention.
My last baby was born eight years ago today. Seems like only a few minutes have passed but lo and behold, 8 years have passed. There was nothing traditional about her delivery process. She was a spit fire and tried to poke her way through her bag of waters at 29 weeks. She was my 6th baby so the very unfamiliar sense that I had peed my pants at such an early stage had me a bit concerned. I chose to call my doctor, who was out of the office and suggested that I immediately come to the clinic to be seen by her partner. A simple swab test was done, confirming that indeed my waters were leaking and I was infact having contractions. An ambulance was called, I was admitted while I waited for an available ambulance to take me to a hospital that was equipped to care for premature babies. I was given IV injections of medicine to stop my contractions and a dose of steroids to help mature the babies lungs. I was driven to the bigger hospital via ambulance and admitted to this hospital, where I would spend the next 6 weeks. At this point in my life I had not yet been to Haiti, I didn't know then what I know now. Now I think back to that time and get so angry at how tortured I felt, how miserable I was laying in a bed for 23+ hours a day, and how I let the depression overcome my mind. I had the best perinatal nurses who provided me with the best attention and care. I had a wonderful doctor who made sure that the baby stayed put for another 4 weeks. I had constant monitoring to make sure baby was safe, and well inside....and was in an excellent facility if there was an emergent need to take her early. I was fed 3 meals a day (and by hospital standards they were very good meals), I was pampered and massaged. I was waited on hand and foot during this time. When it was time for our sweet blessing to come into the world there was an entire TEAM of people there to take care of me and her when she arrived. There was some trauma during the delivery, she was literally yanked into this world when her tiny 4 pound body actually got stuck... but we had the right people in the right place at the right time to take care of her, and me. I was coached, and nurtured. Elaina Louise Dwire came out screaming, and was perfect, less the bruises on her head. She was brought down the hall a ways to the hospitals neonatal intensive care unit where she would continue to grow, learn to eat, and be carefully monitored for the next 10 days. When I was discharged from the hospital yet another service was provided..... housing right across the street from the hospital so that I wouldn't have to try and pay for a hotel room to stay close to her... She was monitored and cared for with such amazing precision, and came home happy and healthy 10 days later.
Now, I want to bring you another visual. A small 2 room hut with 9 people living inside. A very pregnant 15 year old girl starts feeling "pains" in her tummy about 9 pm. She decides to find the person that has held her hand and answered questions, helped her, and loved her from the beginning. Our very own assistant director Rithza. Sabrina does not have a cell phone, and cell service in our village is spotty at best. She hiked down the hill, in the dark, to find Rithza, to describe these pains to her. When she arrived at Rithza's house, she was not home, so she walked a little further, and yet a little further.... to other places in the village she could be, leaving word with each home that she needed her. Rithza had left to go and "find" cell service. This ritual happens in the evenings when the couple ventures to the black top to get some data service on their cell phones.
There is no way to paint a word picture, so that you can feel the burn in your thighs, while climbing the "hill" to Sabrinas house. When she couldn't locate Rithza she made the trip back up to her "home". When she was able to sit down it was about 9:30 and her tummy pains had turned into full blown labor. When she realized what was happening she sent two of her brother in laws (kids) to please find Rithza. Rithza was just getting home when the boys made it to her house. Rithza sent the boys to get Madam Mesilia (a village midwife). Just as Rithza was arriving at the house, she heard the primal cry of a brand new baby being born. It was 10:11 PM. WHAT!!! 45 minutes of labor. The midwife didn't make it in time for the delivery, Sabrina accomplished that all on her own! When Madam Mesilia arrived she was able to help finish the delivery of the placenta.
We think, how sweet, a quick labor and delivery... but stop for a second before you scroll to the next set of pictures. Close your eyes. Imagine what a perfect home birth would look like for you, for your spouse, or your child having your grandchild. Is it clean? Is it sterile? Do you have new clean bedding, towels, blankets, to receive the baby into the world?
At 9:15 (central standard time, so 10:15 in Haiti) This first photo arrived. I want you to look closely and tell me what you see.
Do you see the tiny hand?
There he is!
But, as sure as I am of my own first reaction, I am almost as sure of yours. Yes. This child just minutes old is laying on a piece of plastic on the floor of the home. Now, I am inserting a warning now. If your emotions or your tummy can not handle things that come naturally from a human body.... stop now...
I cried. I prayed, and then I thanked God for the blessings that He has bestowed upon me. I don't tell you these things, and show you these photos for shock factor. Rather, I share with you so that you have the chance to check into your own heart. I share so that you are not oblivious to the reality that so many live in.
When I talk with other Americans that work in Haiti, we marvel at how resilient Haitian babies are. Premature, born already malnourished, and washed with un clean water from the canal flowing through the village, yet these babies grow up to be young men, husbands and fathers... precious girls, wives, and mothers. Our prayer is that we can show this sweet new mama, her precious son, the light of Jesus. That we can radiate His light and show continuous love to them, training them up to love the Lord and ultimately be able to share His love with others.
Today my hope is that you will feel the same feelings of gratitude for all the blessings you have. That you will love what you have, when you have it... even when life seems so incredibly hard and unmanageable.
Today Rithza accompanied new mommy Sabrina and her 12 hour old baby to the clinic in a near by city. Get him checked out and weighed in.
Gabe Alix. Gabe means " The Lord gives me Strength". Gabe weighed in today at 7lbs and is nursing very well! He had some blood work and mommy had a check up. He went home with antibiotic eye cream and vitamin d. The next photo shows the blood work being done... We paid for a tap tap, bought Sabrina lunch while she waited, medicine, and the clinic visit for both mommy and child for $35.
The next photo is Gabe getting blood work, not even a day old yet.
If Gabe had waited just a couple of hours he would have been a birthday triplet, sharing the day with my Elaina and our Pastor Jake, who is not sharing his age...Gabe's day will be memorable, and I ask that you keep him and Sabrina in your prayers. Our ministry's pastor will be meeting with Sabrina and the babies father in the weeks to come, to disciple and teach the gospel. We pray that from this a seed will be planted and grow upwards towards the light into a fruitful tree. Pray for JP as he begins ministering to this young couple and their newborn son.
As the days and weeks continue on we will be meeting with both parents and try to figure out a way for them to work, and earn a living. This may mean training, or a small business loan. Please be in prayer for that, and that we will be granted the gift of discernment and wisdom when we are walking through that process. Please pray for the right hearts to be touched by Sabrinas story that we may have adequate sponsorship to keep Sabrina nourished and the baby healthy while we navigate the future.
Thank you for reading this far! May the Lord bless you!