Sign up to receive this blog by email

Saturday, March 21, 2015

River Baby – Suicidal mom – Tuberculosis of the spine - Graphic photo warning.

This past week was full of emotional ups and downs. My faithful readers are likely tired of hearing that, but as I step off a plane in Atlanta, Georgia this morning, on my way through to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, I am so aware that the next four weeks in North America will be NOTHING like the last week(s) in Swaziland.  And for the moment, I give thanks.

On Tuesday I made the two-hour drive (again) to pick up the baby who I wrote about in by blog on March 7, 2015.  If you haven’t read it, please do (  This baby boy had been placed in a plastic bag by his mother and dumped in the river just after birth.  Miraculously he lived, but sadly his “back end” was eaten by river crabs before he was rescued by a “passer-by”.

When we picked up the baby at the hospital we were shown how to care for his “double barrel” colostomy (two output holes instead of one?!).  We were also shown his wound so that we would know how to care for it. The nurse removed the gauze that was attached to the open wound, sprayed it with saline, cleaned it with Betadine and then put new gauze on for us to bring him home.  

Double barrel Colostomy opening
They didn’t have the right size colostomy bag so they had to use a razor to cut another one to fit both holes.  I am not sure that we have even found newborn colostomy bags in Swaziland, so they were doing the very best with what they had.  The hospital also didn't have bottles (bottle feeding is always discouraged in hospitals largely to prevent people from mixing formula with dirty water) so this little guy was being fed with a cup for the past two weeks.

When I met with the Doctor about the wound care, he said that the wound is so deep, it looks as if a rat was burrowing a hole.  And if that wasn’t enough, the baby tested positive for HIV when a rapid test was done. 

We prayed long and hard about what to call him, and it was decided by our Senior Supervisors that “River” was a good name.  In Swazi tradition, it is common to give a child a name based on something that happened that day like a big wind or lots of rain.  He will be called River, for that is where his young life was saved (and we already have a Moses).

The next day I was picking up the mother of Baby George to have her help us get a birth certificate for him. She was a rape victim and didn’t want the baby who was the result of that rape.  As we drove together she started to tell me how desperate she was when she learned of the pregnancy.  She cried out to God and begged for His help in that situation.   She was ashamed and knew her mother would be so angry at her and not believe her story so she tried to commit suicide … many times.  And then she laughed and said, “And I couldn’t even do that!”  She went on to explain that she had eaten rat poison (a common suicide method here in Swaziland) on several occasions in order to end her life, but she said she didn’t even get a stomachache or diarrhea!  Nothing. She laughed again and said, “I prayed to God to help me and He did. He wouldn’t let me die or my unborn baby.  He must have a big plan for this baby.”  He is the God who sees.

Just before I left to go to town I was called by a Social Welfare officer to tell me that one of our other baby’s mothers was in the hospital, and was very very sick (which is why the child was placed with us in the first place).  She has Tuberculosis in her bones and it is specifically targeting her lower spine. UGH.  She was having nightmares about dying and just wanted to see a photo of her children.  Two of her older children are placed at a different home in Swaziland, and the youngest one, Bella, is with us.  So on my way off the farm I stopped and took a short video of her on my handy-dandy iPad that showed beautiful Bella walking with the assistance of an Auntie holding both her hands.

When we arrived at the hospital (and spent an hour trying to get permission from a security guard, three nurses and a doctor to visit her before visiting hours opened) and when we showed her the video of her baby and she wept.  She was so overwhelmed by the moment I just didn’t know what to do other than take a photo of her and tell her that I will put this photo in her baby’s file. 

It’s been a long week, but I am rewarded by seeing Spencer’s happy face for the next 24 hours, enjoying Target, Macy’s and PF Chang’s and then I get to see my mom in her nursing home next weekend.  God is good, all the time.

Live from Georgia … it is Saturday morning.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.