"And I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ." Ephesians 3:17b-18

Friday, June 7, 2013

The day at the Jinja Pregnancy Care Centre

Uganda Summer 2013
Newsletter #6 / June 6, 2013

Today, we visited the Pregnancy Crisis Center in Jinja. It turned out to be quite an eventful day, and there was a good turnout of both pregnant women and postpartum women. For the morning session, the women went next door for a game and Bible study while Cindy and I watched the babies in the other room. As the babies came in they got weighed and had their temperature taken. There was one family in particular that stood out to me, a mother with a child of fetal alcohol syndrome. The infant was four months old and only weighed 6 pounds, 2 ounces. The infant was very malnourished. She had an extra digit to one hand, and a sacral dimple. Upon assessment, the infant had a poor suck and uncoordinated swallow. The mother stated that she was formula feeding the infant since she was still drinking alcohol. However, the infant would not take to the bottle and acted as if she did not know what to do with it. She did ok on the breast though. This was a sign to us that the infant was not getting the proper nutrition through the formula that was provided for her, and all she was getting was the alcohol through her mother’s breast milk. We spoke to her through an interpreter, and took her aside to discuss the serious issue at hand. It was recommended that she give the infant up to a baby home until the baby was properly nourished and thriving. After some education, the mother decided that it would be best to give her baby up for a period of time. It was later arranged for her to return tomorrow to surrender the infant. Although heartbreaking to be a part of, it is also a blessing to know that we were able to help give this infant a chance at life. I pray that the Lord watches over this little one, and that she grows to be big and strong.
We returned from lunch to have another family with a serious need. A mother came all the way from a local island with her eight month old and two year old. The eight month old baby had received an immunization a few weeks ago, and there was a large abscess noted to her thigh. The mother stated that the baby had been running high temperatures as well. She had already been to the doctor for the abscess, but was only given a topical cream to apply. It was evident that there was a need for a systemic antibiotic. The two year old had a bandage to the back of her head with old drainage down her dress. The mother stated that the little girl had hit her head. Both girls were taken to the local clinic with Cindy and I in tow. The power and water were shut off to the entire city. There was no evidence of hand washing or sanitizing. The doctor attempted to aspirate from the infant’s abscess with no success. There was no sterile field noted. The nurse did not even wear gloves. He wrote for the infant to have an antibiotic and a multivitamin. The two year old received a malaria test, a tetanus shot, and an antibiotic. They could not run any labs because the power was out. The pharmacy stock included what was in a closet, and we had to fish around to see what would work best for these two girls. At the end of the visit, we learned that the two year old was positive for HIV but the infant had not yet been tested.
I left the clinic with a wounded heart. We had to send the family on their way home by foot. The infant was tied to mom’s back, but the overly tired two year old had to walk while mom carried some belongings in both hands. I wish there was more that I could have done, but I know that through prayer these babies will be ok. My eyes have seen more today than I ever expected, and one day at the Pregnancy Crisis Center did not feel like enough. We could spend days on end here with all the needs that come in daily. However, our time here was time well spent because even helping one family is a blessing. I pray that the Lord protects these babies, and provides great health to them and their families.

”For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”   Jeremiah 29:11

Rhonda - as Danielle mentioned above we were at the Crisis Pregnancy Center, which fell right in line with Susan (mid-wife), Danielle (Mother Baby Unit Nurse), & me (Labor & Delivery Nurse). Susan & I started the morning next door with a game (puzzle) and Bible study. The puzzle game that Susan does helps to teach the teenage moms how to work together & encourages them to ask for help – be it from humans, but most importantly from God. There was a woman named Sol who comes in on Thursday mornings & does Bible study so Susan & I enjoyed her Bible study on The Lost Son. Sol reminded them of their previous Bible study on The Lost Sheep & the Shepherd – this was Amos’ devotion this same morning. How wonderful the Lord works to confirm what He wants you to hear & learn from His Word. After lunch Susan, Jen, & I were on our own with the 2 groups of women who came through. Susan did the puzzle lesson & Jen & I were told at the last minute that we would be doing the ladies Bible study. We did it though and twice. We talk to them about a pregnant, teenage, unwed Mary who gave birth to the greatest present the world ever received – Jesus! We made sure that the women understood that God sent His Son to die for our sins and through Jesus (our bridge) we have a place in Heaven. I read them the birth of Jesus from Luke 2. The first group of ladies ask only one question – When on the calendar was Jesus born, what day is His birthday? I explained to her that the calendar was created by man and though in America we celebrate the birth of Jesus in December, we should celebrate this birth everyday!  I also explained that the day He was born was not important, it was the fact that he was born in Human form, that Mary gave birth to Him just as they have given birth to their children and that all children were a gift from God & not a mistake. It was such a Blessing to share with these ladies. We commended them on their bravery – they chose life and not abortion (illegal here & thus performed however they can get it). I ask that all those reading this remember that we are all God’s children and that no child is a mistake and that many are born into difficult circumstances, but by Love, Prayers and Crisis Pregnancy Centers the can grow & thrive. I pray that God Bless us all with the strength & ability to give to others who are less fortunate than ourselves.  

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