Almost four weeks ago we were told that a neighbour’s young wife was unwell and had gone to hospital. Knowing she was heavily pregnant, with very swollen legs we didn’t know if she was sick or in labour. People here often just say ‘someone’s unwell’ or ‘gone to the hospital’ when they are in labour, and just as often the father doesn’t necessarily know which it is either – just summoned to organise transport if possible. As visiting the sick is very important, almost mandatory in this culture, Kath & I went to the hospital, only to find out that yes she was in labour. We were quite happy to leave her alone then (we do know that’s not the time to socialise), but were ushered to her bedside to mutter some encouragement and pat her hand as she went through contractions in a multi-bed room. The midwife said it would likely still be a long time, but just two hours later we heard she had delivered healthy twins!
Transporting them home the next morning (yes just 15hrs after having twins), we got the opportunity to sit and cuddle these gorgeous kids. One boy, one girl. Perfectly formed.
Fast forward a few weeks and we were back visiting again yesterday. Not having been for a couple of weeks, Scott & Cam heard the babies were sick and went to see them. The poor little things had been having seizures throughout the night and also struggled to feed well for some time. The mother lacked confidence and good support and was having difficulty getting the babies to feed well. We hear the guys did a great job of being encouragers & lactation consultants – having seven kids between them has taught them a few useful things.
After the guys came home to watch our kids, Kath & I headed off to visit. The babies were truly tiny, the little boy particularly was very thin. We spent a few hours there: holding babies, talking, and trying to get them to take some more milk. It was heartbreaking to see how undernourished they were.
Today I took them to the hospital to get some further advice and help. I think we got the most supportive doctor in the province (thank you God), as after seeing the babies and realising they currently weighed in at less than their rather low birth weights, he was full of encouragement and feeding advice for the mother, made himself available to her whenever she needed to come back and referred her to to the government department of social action who can provide formula for at risk babies to supplement breastfeeding. There’s not really much more he could have done here.
We’ll keep visiting – to encourage the mother, to check on the babies, to pray. We’ll help them get to the hospital when needed. Our kids really want to go see them, to visit and love on the babies they’ve heard so much about.
Personally this one cuts pretty close to home. We have a healthy and quickly growing 7mth old girl and we know firsthand how much support you sometimes need with babies, especially when there are difficulties. I can’t imagine where we would have been if we’d had our firstborn in this context. Seeing little babies too tired to even fight to feed is heartbreaking and I hope and pray we see these two precious children grow in strength and stature over the coming days and weeks. We’re not considering any other possible outcomes.