Sunday, July 31, 2011

Well, Hello There

Many of you have written here or in email wondering if we are OK. I'm happy to report that all is well. Everything is fine. Not perfect. But OK. I have so much to tell you. It will take a while to recap all that has happened since I last wrote. I'll try to write an update tomorrow.

The main reason I wasn't writing was because we lost our internet for 2 weeks. It is now up and running again. Hallelujah! Monday our team of volunteers left and then this weekend our village celebrated its annual traditional ceremony. Somewhere in all of that I missed my blogiversary. Sad. 

Thank you for sticking with me. I have much to share and there are amazing highs and lows. See you tomorrow.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Conservatively, Happily Dancing

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.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

LIfe at a Fever Pitch

Every day I promise myself that I will sit down and write a proper blog post but something gets in the way. every. single. day.

For now let me share what has been going on. 

I arrived home from New York to find two new babies. Jessie has been keeping me up at night. It's been interesting how when I want to do nothing but indulge my grief or exhaustion, something comes up to keep me busy. I guess God knows what is best for me and that it is better that I am busy.

By the way, I want to thank you all for your kind words over the last several weeks. It has meant so much to me to have you out there praying for me and holding me up in your thoughts.

Jessie has been having a rough time of it. On Wednesday we took her to the clinic to put an NG tube in since she was not eating nearly enough milk. Later that afternoon she had some time of seizure or stomach spasm and the tube came right out. 
Friday the clinic midwife came up and put in an IV but somehow in the process the vein blew and the IV had to be pulled out.

This whole experience has been so frustrating because Jessie is such a fighter but the odds are not good. Our regular clinic officer has not been present because he has been attending action meetings in the district capital. As much as we want to see action being taken in our area, it's hard when the people who can make that action happen are stuck in meetings and babies are suffering in the meantime.

We've been giving Jessie sips of milk all day and night hoping to help her keep something down. After each 'feeding' she has to be held upright so that her stomach can digest the milk properly. So often though, the milk would still come right up and Jessie would cry in hunger and the process would begin again.
This morning her color was not good and she was much more lethargic. The midwife refused to put in her feeding tube again and the clinic officer was nowhere to be found. With a prayer in our hearts, Meg and I inserted the tube again. It was a success! Jessie has now had four feedings and hasn't even so much as spit up. Hooray! We are by no means out of the woods but we are hopeful.

In other news: A team of six ladies from Houston, Texas arrived Friday morning full of enthusiasm. Already so much work has gotten done and Meg and I have been able to get some time off from the round-the-clock care of Jessie. Hooray for extra hands!

The morning they arrived on the bus was our regular shopping trip day so I went alone with our hired driver and had probably one of the most frustrating 'Africa' days of my life but I was safe and came home to a house full of laughter and fun. It's so good to have company in the bush.

This has been my life recently. What have all of you been up to? I have been slowly making my way through my reader and visiting each of you. I apologize for not commenting more and hope to do better as life settles down. It will, won't it?

(Almost) Exactly One Year Ago: It's Their Party
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