Updated: Aug 29, 2019
My mind raced with questions. How did we get to this point? Why was the traffic so slow? Could the ambulance not drive faster? A child's life is at stake here! Anger, fear and worry filled my mind, tears poured out as I watched this 3-week-old boy in my arms having a seizure. This could be my child; it felt like he was my child. The jerk of the ambulance brought me back to reality. I focused my attention back to the baby. Holding him close, whispering it would be all right, trying to be strong for him when deep down I felt so weak and helpless. These are the moments that I will never forget. These are the thoughts that flash through my mind when I think of Baby P. But to give you the full picture, we need to start two months earlier.
It was a hot and muggy morning in the Philippines. We were all crowded around the fans in the Hope Alive Clinic waiting for the expecting moms to arrive. Slowly but surely they began to trickle in. Magandang Umaga (good morning in Tagalog), echoed throughout the small sitting area. Excitement buzzed as the volunteers anticipated loving on the moms and listening to the precious heartbeats within their bellies.
I was excited for another reason though. I was waiting for Momma E. Have you ever had an instant connection with someone? The moment you meet them you know there will be a story that needs to be told. This is how it was for this mom. I met her a few weeks prior. She walked into our clinic with a large 8 month pregnant belly. She was expecting her first child, a boy! This mom had a long story though. She was 22 years old and not married. She had no income or way to support herself so she lived with her sister. As the weeks went by I began to check on her more and more. We noticed some severe swelling in her legs and wanted to be sure her blood pressure remained normal. Every day I would walk to her house to check her legs and b/p since she did not want to come into the clinic.
You see there is a fear that drives the women in the Philippines. A fear of going to the hospital. A fear of the astronomical medical bills that will burden their families. A fear that they may not make it out alive. So, they wait. They stay home and risk their own lives for the sake of their families. We knew Momma E’s condition could turn severe at any moment and risk her or her unborn child's life. So we watched her around the clock, with the condition that if her b/p rose we would take her to the hospital. By Gods grace she made it to her due date and delivered her sweet baby boy at the Hope Alive Clinic. Baby P was finally here!
However, things took a turn for the worse a few hours after delivery. The mom continued to bleed, we needed to transfer her right away. Only there was one problem. Infants are not allowed in the hospital. Baby P could not go with his momma. A neighbor graciously took Baby P while we rushed his mom to the hospital. When we arrived they admitted her and began a blood transfusion.
With his mom in the hospital we were left with a brand new baby to care for. That first night I took sweet Baby P home with me. Dax, my youngest son, was not sure what to think of this new baby in our home but what a privilege it was to love and nurse this this sweet baby—a son of the King. We were given the amazing opportunity to cover this sweet child of God with tender love his first day on earth—a joy I will never forget.
Momma E stayed in the hospital seven more days. We soon found out she had not taken any of the prenatal vitamins we gave her. She hid them in her dresser. We don't know why. The mom was extremely nutrient deficient. During this time the KIDS staff nursed baby P while our volunteers cared for him—a huge shout out to the amazing World Race Team! After one week in the hospital she was finally released and reunited with her baby boy. Tears were shed by all as can be seen in this video. A happy ending to a rough week.
I thought this would be the end of an amazing story, but it was just the beginning.
Throughout the next few weeks we would all walk to Momma E’s house to check in on her and our beloved Baby P. The mom was healing well physically but emotionally she was struggling. Her milk was slow to come in after being away from her baby for a week and formula was out of the question since she was a single mom with no income. Several people purchased formula to help her transition into life with a new baby. However, we started to hear rumors of the new family. Baby P was a fussy baby and being a young mom, E did not know what to do. We continued to visit and try to help the new family adjust. And then I got the call. Baby P was having a seizure, the ambulance was on the way.
I ran to the clinic where they were all gathered. Immediately Baby P was thrown into my arms. There was so much commotion. The mom was sobbing, and Ate Rona (our clinic nurse) was trying to comfort her and assist me in getting Baby P oxygen. The mom's sister was screaming in Tagalog. The sirens were blaring in the distance. All I could do was cling to this tiny 5lb. baby, holding him close trying to comfort him through his seizure, fighting back all the tears welling up in my eyes. This innocent baby had no clue what was going on in his little body; he was so helpless. Finally, the ambulance arrived. We jumped in the back. This was my first time in a Filipino ambulance. There were 5 of us in the back of the ambulance, there was no stretcher, no paramedic, no medications for baby P. It was essentially just a faster way to get to the hospital. I sat in the back holding baby P as steadily as I could while the ambulance threw us around, swerving in and out of traffic, while I prayed for the seizure to stop.
Upon arriving at the hospital baby P was still having a seizure, the staff rushed to get him medication and admitted. As the mom answered questions we began to see parts of the story unfold. Momma E had been giving her baby water instead of formula. This can be deadly to infants. Baby P was likely suffering from water intoxication. But then we were thrown on a whirlwind of surprises. The mom's sister began disclosing all the events that had happened in their home. The mom had gotten very angry when Baby P cried. She would throw him onto the bed and pick him up by his tiny head. She did not want a baby any more.
We were all shocked. The doctors were afraid Baby P may have permanent brain damage from the seizure or from the trauma his little body had experienced at home. Our full attention was put on keeping him safe. Eventually the Department of Social Welfare and Development was involved. Ideas were thrown around about counseling and anger management for the mom; everyone was searching for a way to keep baby P safe. While in the hospital for a week, we had to place around the clock caregivers for P so he was never left alone with his mom.
After fighting for his life, baby P recovered and was allowed to go home. But to where? He had no family willing to take him and E was not a fit mother. In the end the mom decided she no longer wanted him. She relinquished her rights. I sat and held baby P while his momma signed the papers. Tears filled my eyes for this precious baby. He was being left, abandoned by his mom. His life was taking a dramatic turn at only 4-weeks-old. My heart broke for what this boy was going through. But it also found joy—joy at a second chance for baby P. Joy that he would be raised in a home where he knew about his Father, his true Father that would never abandon him. Joy that he would know he was the son of the Most High King. Joy that someday, by Gods amazing grace, he would be united with a family hand picked by his Father. And joy that I would get to follow along on baby P's journey because he was being placed in our children's home.
Baby P just had his first birthday, I am so excited to say he is meeting all his milestones, and there seems to be no brain damage. Thank you, God. Baby P’s story could have ended a number of different ways, but God had a plan when he sent his mom to Hope Alive Clinic. Little did we know that this precious boy would become a huge part of our KIDS family.
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Please take this opportunity to give to KIDS either one-time or monthly. There are so many more 'stories' we may be writing because of your gift. Others babies like P, moms at Hope Alive clinic, kids at the school, children at the Children's Home and kids at our feedings. Thank you for considering being our partner and helping us break the cycle of poverty and make a difference in these kids lives.