Sunday, March 18, 2012

#103 Poster child

Danae wrote this just before Zane became ill. The rest of the world stopped while Gramma and Grampa worked to get Danae and Zane home. We are the cause for this delay. So this blog is about 2 months old. Sorry.

She first came in September. She was pregnant with preterm labor. Worse still she had done the same thing 3 times before. Her babies had delivered too early and died of prematurity.

My heart went out to her. If we could just get her to 8 1/2 months, her baby should live. We treated her malaria, kept her on bedrest, and gave her prenatal vitamins. The labor went away.

She stayed in a bed on maternity. When maternity would get full, she slept outside. When there was space, she slept inside.

I would have sent her home, but she lived over 25 km’s away. That’s a long way on a wagon behind a bull. So we kept her here.

She listened day after day to me explaining not to give water to newborns. She even translated for me half of the time. Breast milk only for the first 6 months!

Time went on. She stayed for 4 months! She was finally term. Everybody knew her. She knew all of the staff. I called her my “sage femme” or midwife. She didn’t know how to deliver babies, but she had been there so long she may as well have.

She became 41 weeks. I decided to induce her. I had Adam come in to take pictures of the difficult oxytocin drip that we use here. There is no pump, so you just open the IV line little by little and count the drips to make it go in more ever so slowly each time. We even have pictures at the delivery too.

A healthy 3.4 kg baby girl. The baby screamed. She was chunky, term, and a success. Soon after I helped her breastfeed her cute baby girl. They both did a great job.

It was all in all a very happy occasion. When I discharged her a few days later I felt a sense of contentment.

She was my posterchild. I was happy. “Come back in a month,” I said.

But that was not to last. Apparently I cannot change the culture just like that. I was naive to think everybody would listen to me.

There is an Arab lady from Lai who somehow knows everybody. She has some money and their family has a vehicle, so she travels around I guess. She’s been here at the hospital this week, so Baikou asked how our posterchild was doing. Word was that the baby girl was too skinny. So Baikou sent word to have her come.

Just like that she came.

I am happy that she came, but I am so disappointed. She’s been giving her baby water since 1 week postpartum.

I am so mad.

How could she give water? After all the time she spent on our maternity ward? Baby girl posterchild is over 2 months old and only 3.6 kg. That’s basically the same weight she was born with!

Yes I am mad. I am sad. I cry. I don’t even want to see posterchild. I had given her my own prenatal vitamins! (No, I’m not pregnant.) How could she!?

This poor baby girl! She is so skinny. If she didn’t want to give her the proper nutrition, then she should give her to someone that does. Do you know how many women I see with infertility here!?

I am upset, but why should this baby girl suffer. I write for deworming meds and medicine for parasites since she’s surely got them with all the dirty water she’s been getting. I’m not paying for them either.

“Danae, please excuse me, I had a breast abscess and don’t have enough milk,” she knew my name because she stayed here so long.

I checked both breasts and both were producing milk, “There is no excuse. You have milk.”

“I have no money for the medicines.”

I write in her carnet that I will pay for the medicines, not because she is my posterchild anymore, but because it’s not fair to the baby girl.

I am done with posterchild.

I touch the baby girl. She feels hot. The lab is already closed. She probably has malaria too, so I tell her she has to stay for 3 days on pediatrics while we give IV antimalarial meds to her baby. She tells me she doesn’t have any food here.

Maybe she should drink water to fill her tummy like her baby is doing. Her baby is literally starving from drinking water.

I am so sick of this problem!!!

I am very thankful Cristin O’Grady is here doing a medical school rotation. At the same time she is doing a public health project focusing on exclusive breastfeeding and not giving water. Congratulations Cristin for matching into family medicine residency this week!

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