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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Grace in the flesh

This is Mama M holding Baby M.  This is a miracle in process.  Whose outcome we do not yet see. But 11 days ago, Scott decided that M (the mama) was going to die unless she was delivered of her preterm pregnancy.  She had severe pre-ecclampsia, a complication of pregnancy that is more common in Africa (and in African-descended Americans too), characterized by high blood pressure, swelling in hands and feet and face, kidney injury, bleeding, headaches, etc.  So he took her in for an emergency C-section and removed M (the baby) who was 2 months early and weighed a kilo (2 pounds) and came out in severe respiratory distress and every complication in the book.  She's had pneumonia, very abnormal blood tests, petechiae (bleeding in the skin), bacterial and fungal infections, and a gut infection known as necrotizing enterocolitis.  In her 11 days of life up to today, she has never been stable enough to even feed.  Which kind of works out, because her mom was so sick she got transferred to a regional hospital, leaving the baby behind whom none of us (me included) expected to live this long.  This baby's premature delivery and unusually critical course we thought was the sad but inevitable cost of her mother's survival.  But day by day we look at baby M and say, she's still fighting so let's fight for her.  Tuesday we called the OB team and said, if the mom is stable, can we bring her back to Naivasha to start trying to make some milk to put in the tube for this infant?  She arrived back yesterday evening, and there she was this morning.  Very much not dead.  Very much ready to start caring for her baby.

Most of me acknowledges that baby M still has a slim chance of survival.  She's on our three strongest antibiotics and an IV anti-fungal.  She just came off the extra breathing/oxygen help of CPAP.  She is tiny and vulnerable and has been starving.  

But I can't help but hope.  This is one spunky baby.  This is one survivor of a mom.

And this is one crazy day, a day of possibility and courage.  Scott's team started the day with one of their first ever audits, a review of processes in a case where a baby's delayed C-section ended in his death. It would be easy to blame, or despair, but instead the team problem-solved the lack of surgical drape sets and arranged for more.  Progress.  After rounds I had the somewhat unusual privilege of a morning with the East Africa Women's League Naivasha branch, charming survivors themselves, with memories of pre-independence countries, steam boats and farms, and I got to tell them about the realities of medical care in Kenya now and share some testimony of why it's worth working for and how we survive and how faith impacts us.  Mid day I got off the phone wanting to cheer for one of our team leaders who had just spent two hours meeting with someone in a very sticky situation, and shown such wisdom and grace, she was amazing.  In the evening we cheered for another team leader who had spent the day in an 8 hour cross-cultural and contentious meeting, doing the right thing at high cost.  Then on to worship leading rehearsal for our church, singing about grace.  So many little ways that the universe clicked towards truth today.

Join us in praying for the M's, mom and baby, to be living miracles, testimonies of grace in the flesh.


Deb Snell said...

One life at a time, one testimony at a time, one demonstration of how you are more like Jesus every day at a time, one creation of a tear rolling down your reader's cheek at a time, one pair of hands at a time, one hug at a time, one prayer at a time...and God listens, God knows and God honors your lives, Jennifer and Scott. You may never know how many of God's children will turn to Him because of you. Bless you.

aunty.em said...