The Highs and the Lows

It seemed like it took forever, until the last minute…  I had been working with a Mamma out behind the school for several weeks.  She kept talking like she was going to go into labor at any time.  But day after day, week after week, we didn’t have a baby.  She said she really wanted a Valentines baby.  She had told me that she was not going to the hospital because she had a bad experience with the last 2 children she had there.  She said she would deliver at home with her husband’s help.  On Monday morning February 15th one of her children came into the school and said that her mom has been trying to get a hold of me since last night.  She was having abdominal pain.  Well she has been telling me that for a long time.  I went out back to check on her.  It didn’t take long to figure out we were getting pretty close to having a baby.  I ran back to my room and grabbed everything I might need and ran to the dark and hot little house.  I barely made it back before she delivered a beautiful little girl!!  She and mom were doing well and I was thankful there were no complications!

 Faeka Stacy Jean Louis - Born 02-15-17 at 7:55 am

Faeka Stacy Jean Louis - Born 02-15-17 at 7:55 am

I am reported to be the god father of Faeka.  Although this is an honor it’s also a big financial commitment.  I have been warned that if it becomes official I will be expected to pay for many of her needs as she grows up.  I did not weigh her when she was born, which I really should have done.  She had lost a fair amount of weight and was noticeable smaller after a few days.  But after working with mom, some instruction, and a little time she has turned the corner and is gaining weight again!

 Faeka - 5 days old

Faeka - 5 days old

I have been weighing her every other day and she is making good progress now.  She will hopefully be back to about her birth weight soon (I am guessing about 7 ½ pounds).  She had dropped to 5 pounds 12 oz.  It’s exciting to have a positive experience in Haiti with a child despite the lack of health care options.

 Faeka at 2 weeks - 6 pounds 14 oz.  And hungry by the way she was chewing on her hand!!

Faeka at 2 weeks - 6 pounds 14 oz.  And hungry by the way she was chewing on her hand!!

Unfortunately, the day did not end on the high note it had started on.  HERO Ambulance called and said they had a baby transport they were already doing and wanted to know if I could meet up with them or come to the hospital to help.  I grabbed a few things and headed out the door.  We were able to meet up with the ambulance about 5 minutes out from the first hospital.  They had gone up to a little clinic and picked up a sick baby but the clinic also had a mom that was bleeding from a miscarriage.  So both patients were loaded into the ambulance with some family and they were off to Port-au-Prince.  I jumped in and made number 7 in the ambulance.  We were the highest priority so we were the first stop at our first hospital but the mother had to go to a different hospital yet.  This kind of situation is very much life in Haiti.  Always trying to do a lot with a little.

The baby had been born in a local hospital 8 days ago by a complicated and traumatic C-section.  She had not been doing well since she was born and her mother brought her to the community clinic as she continued to get worse.  She was very sick and the clinic called for transport to Port-au-Prince right away.  She was in respiratory distress, was very dehydrated, was hypoglycemic, and was hypothermic.  By the time I got the story we were at the hospital.  We went to work on her in the ER.  She was not breathing well and was also not ventilating well with assistance, she needed IV access, she needed fluid, she needed glucose, she needed to be rewarmed.  Everything flowed really well, almost like back home with the ER staff working side by side with the EMS Crew.  I had my first Intubation (putting a tube into the lungs to breath for her) in Haiti, on an 8 day old. 

We got everything done that could be done for her and she was admitted to the Ped’s Unit.  She was doing better for the moment but the long-term outcome looked rather bleak due to the amount of time that had passed before she was brought to help.  The odds were stacked against her from before she was even born.  Then medical system which she was born into let her down.  It continued to play out after she was born when she was sent home, when what she really needed was help.  Then, as she got sicker, the desperation of her mother not understanding her condition, not knowing if she should trust the hospital again, and not being able to afford the hospital again.  It was just a really bad situation that plays out in Haiti every single day.  Later that night I found out that she had passed away.

What a wide swing of emotions...  From bringing an infant into the world in the morning to losing an infant that night.  It was almost like the good had been overshadowed by the bad. Like at the end of the day we had only broke even.

 

Sunday (02-19-17) was a fun day!  I went out with HERO Ambulance and helped cover a 10 K ocean swim race.  It was called Swim For Haiti 2017.  It was a new experience and an enjoyable time.  And after 14 trips to Haiti I actually touched the ocean!

 This was the view from "my office" for the day!!  I traded the ambulance for a 28 foot Boston Whaler with a pair of 225 HP motors on it!

This was the view from "my office" for the day!!  I traded the ambulance for a 28 foot Boston Whaler with a pair of 225 HP motors on it!

There was a 10 K and a 1.5 K swim.  The 10K started on a small island off of La Gonave and finished at Wahoo Bay.  We had 3 big boats for medical and support staff.  We had 3 smaller motor boats patrolling and then they had hired a fisherman in a dugout canoe that stayed with each of the 50+ swimmers.

The day was fairly uneventful thankfully!  It was nice to be able to help out this organization as they raised money and awareness for Haiti.  There were swimmers from Haiti, Dominican Republic, France, USA, Australia, and El Salvador that I know of and probably were others.  This included  Naomy Grand'Pierre - the first Haitian woman to swim in the Olympics, competing in Rio.

On Monday morning (O2-20-17) the medical team that was staying at House of Hope came to help with our clinic.  We had put out the word that we could see a lot of patients.  We seen over 200 patients that day!!  Things continue going well at our Monday clinic.  It’s a blessing to be able to help people that don’t have any other access to medical care.  We see some very poor patients and if they had to pay even a little bit (less than 1 dollar US) they could not afford to be seen where payment is required.  In the same way on Tuesday’s the malnutrition clinic is providing hope to so many who can barely provide for their children.  The look of tremendous desperation that some of the mothers come in with that is transformed into Hope and Joy when they find out that there child now has a chance to grow up!  Most of the mothers have already lost a child.  Many to Malnutrition.

Saturday (02-25-17) I got a call from Stacy about a Medivac transport.  She asked if I could help HERO with a “quick” transport from a hospital near the airport to the airport for a medivac to Miami with a burn patient.  I headed to the airport to meet the crew and then to Doctors Without Borders where the patient was.  Doctors Without Borders has a burn unit in Port-au-Prince.  The patient was a female that had a propane explosion when she tried to light the stove.  She was reported to have 95% of her body burned with 2nd degree burns.  She was almost 6 days post injury before they were able to arrange the transport.  Very long story short, after 8 hours and making the airport stay open 2.5 hours late for us, the patient was on her way to Miami.  Praying this young lady will survive and have good recovery.

 Stabilizing the patient on the tarmac before the flight to Miami.

Stabilizing the patient on the tarmac before the flight to Miami.

Carnival started last Sunday and went through Fat Tuesday, which was followed by the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday.  This gave the kids in the school a 5-day weekend.  I enjoyed the break as well!  Sunday, February 26th, was the first day since January 4th that I didn’t see at least 1 patient.  It was very nice to relax and watch a movie.

Just the other day I got an update on little Akanabelle from my last post.  She has recovered from her aspiration pneumonia, is doing well, and was released from the hospital!!  Thank-You for praying for Akanabelle!!  It’s always such a blessing to see positive outcomes in the daily struggle that is life for most Haitians.

Until No Child Dies,

Kelby