Sunday night my brother in law Jason lovingly dropped Sherry and I off at the airport at 10:30 at night, to board our 12:40 am flight. After a short pit stop in Fort Lauderdale (with a couple large coffees in hand) we boarded to land in Haiti at 9:20am, Monday March 2nd.
The suddenness, and quickness that this trip came together is only from the Lord.
With one purpose in mind... Sabrina. Let me change that, to Sabrina and her sweet son Gabe. The Hebrew meaning for this name is “God is my strength” and trust me when I tell you, this sweet bundle of joy is going to need all the strength from the Lord that he can get..
Quick snippet in case you haven’t been following her story. Sabrina is 15 years old, and delivered her baby 2.5 weeks ago. She has a fourth grade education. Can not read or write. When you look into her eyes you see the eyes of a child... not a mother. The ”father” (I have a hard time giving him the honor of that title” is a 29 year old man. Abusive both verbally and physically, and has not tried even a little to provide any support for Sabrina or Gabe... BUT very willing to steal from the support given to her by 7:10 or other loving people.
When Sabrina came down to the house late Monday afternoon, she immediately handed me the baby. Sweet sweet Gabe. Tears immediately formed, but not because of joy or happiness. This baby smelled. Bad. I could clearly see he is not gaining weight since birth. (We will now be doing weight checks)
Smell was the first sense to kick in.. I think because it was not like the sweet baby heads I am so used to smelling, and honestly it was shocking. The second sense was sight. The sight of Sabrina. I have seen her in pictures, yes, but this was my first meeting with her. My heart just sank. Yes she is 15, but when you look into her eyes you do not see a mature teenager, or even an immature one. Her face reminded me of the innocence of my 11 year old daughter.
Sabrina does not have a way to give her baby a bath, nor the influence to teach her to give the baby a bath. I assumed, that the primal instinct of maternal behavior would have kicked in... but sadly it just isn’t there. Rithza had a baby bath here, and we set out to “teach” Sabrina how to bathe her baby. This was a demonstrative bath, because I didn’t have a translator and frankly I was frightened to leave her to it. On a cement floor I got my old knees down and proceeded to bathe this baby.... covered in stink... and poop.
We were blessed with MANY gifts of clothes for the baby, so I was able to get him dressed into clean clothes, with a clean receiving blanket. Now, he is hungry.....
Sabrina has had a very skilled lactation specialist working with her the weekend before I got here, but boy I was still shocked at the behavior of Sabrina. I nursed 6 kids, some more successfully than others, but the one thing that I had with each of them was a sweet, special, cherished, connection while nursing. When my first was born it was just instinct how to hold him, and cradle him, and talk to him as he nursed. Watching Sabrina nurse was shocking. There was NO connection. NO indication of love or instinct. It was awkward, and she giggled like a little girl. The language barrier is hard, but I got a pillow and demonstrated how I would nurse. She attempted to copy my behavior, and he was able to latch and nurse, but not very long. Before bed on Monday night, I was able to capture a smile.
She has had an infection in her left breast for about a week, and has been on medication... but she hasn’t nursed off of that side for a week. I don’t know if it’s cultural or what, but she wouldn’t nurse from the “sick” breast. We were gifted a manual breast pump, and she did use that to relieve some of the engorgement. At 7pm I had been up for over 36 hours and my brain and body was done. Sabrina was still in my room, and I learned she wanted to stay with me. I helped her change the baby and dress him for bed and quite literally I passed out. Gabe was up at 11 to eat and then every 1-2 hours after that.
At 7 this morning (Tuesday March 4th) Sabrina woke me saying “Toilet”. I assumed she needed to go, but she pointed at Gabe. I went and found a diaper and wipes and brought them to her to change him. OY VEY. Another shocking revelation, she clearly doesn’t know how to change this babies diaper. I won’t get into specifics, but it was hard for me.
I laid him on the bed, and demonstrated how to use the disposable diaper, how to lift and clean baby bits.
Please, please be in continuous prayer for Gabe and Sabrina. And for me. My heart is aching... aching for change for a world that seems unchangeable. Aching for the baby that is in desperate need of love and affection. A child that needs instant maturing, and the primal instinct of motherhood to kick in.
Today we will get the baby and mama soap, a bath, and some other basic needs. Pray for the right family to have the urgent need to take Sabrina and Gabe and love them as their own. Pray that the pedophilic “father” will just leave and quit tormenting this child.
Stay tuned as I post more of the weeks unwinding......