It has been an exhausting week. Monday we all gathered in the living room to pray for Jessie. Her breathing was erratic, she was not responding well, she didn't seem to process much of her food and we had been told by the local clinic that she needed IV injections, but her veins were too small and she had no muscles left on her body at all. That was probably one of the lowest moments of my life as Meg and I palpated Jessie's skinny little legs and could find not a single bit of flesh. She was really and truly skin and bones.
As each of the volunteers drifted off to bed that Monday night, they kissed Jessie in a way that was very much a goodbye. We had prayed for her healing, but also committed her spirit to God. His little life was in His hands.
All night long, Meg and I traded off, feeding her via syringe into her NG tube. The fact that she had an NG tube in at all was a minor miracle because she had pulled it out a few days ago and the clinic refused to put it back in. They did consent to put in an IV but her veins were so small that the site blew within minutes and her hand and arm had ballooned. Poor baby. We managed to get her NG tube in and had been finally getting regular feedings into her.
Meghan and I cuddled Jessie all night long. We were determined that she would be loved with all we had in us as long as God decided to leave her with us.
Morning dawned and we were amazed. Jessie was hanging in there. She wasn't much better, but she had survived the night!
Over the next few days we received help from doctors all over the world who each gave us ideas and help. From one who suggested a particular antibiotic and giving her stomach a rest by using pedialyte solution, to another who told us the exact calculations to use when deciding how much milk to give and suggesting that we feed her tiny amounts every 15 minutes, to another who said we were on the right track and then suggested that we start Jessie on HIV medicine right away.
We have been surrounded by help and prayers. Having all these volunteers here has meant that Jessie has been held and loved on every minute of the day and is receiving her every-15 minute feeds right around the clock. What a blessing.
There is no way to know how Jessie is going to do, but at the moment she is a little miracle child. The 3 medicines which work to suppress the HIV are so very hard on anyone's body--much less the body of a severely underweight, tiny baby. On top of those meds, she is also receiving an antibiotic. That's a lot to absorb.
At the moment, Jessie's respiration rate is way too high. Her poor little body is worn out. On the bright side, we can see muscles beginning to form bit by tiny bit. We struggle to keep her body warm since she doesn't have any body fat, but there is no shortage of arms ready to hold her close and share their warmth with her.
Just before I started writing this (a million hours ago...), Jessie was on my lap looking around with her huge eyes. After this morning when we felt she took a huge step backward--most likely due to the medicines coursing through her system--it is a joy to see her being alert again and opening her eyes.
She is not out of the woods by any means, but we are continuing to pray and have hope. Please pray with us. Thank you!
P.S Come back tomorrow to see pictures of our lovely little girl.
Exactly One Year Ago: Fab Friday Foto --I have mixed feelings when I see this photo. It will always be one of the most beautiful places on earth, but it is tied to sadness now.