First I went yet again to Cochabamba's largest baby home, with the two staff members who "won the draw", to listen to a doctor and three medical students share about the H1N1 virus. Knowing all too well how weak our babies are and how quickly we seem to lose them, it could easily freak me out to imagine this new virus sweeping through. very. very. easily. So the verse most on my mind today? "For I have not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind."
If I'm prepared, I can face anything. Well maybe not ANYTHING, but preparation and knowing what to expect are key. So off and on all day the staff and I have talked over precautions, telling the difference between teething (several getting molars currently), colds, common flu, and something more serious, and wondering why in the world we have to go through this now and WHY does it have to be winter here?! And then where to isolate babies if it comes to that - the house is so full! I think it will be my bedroom.
Here the conditions are so ideal for viruses spreading if you think about (and I hadn't quite so much till now): riding in buses packed with (often sneezing, coughing) people with the windows shut because it's cold, close living conditions (even many of my staff members live in one or two rooms with their whole family), the way we greet each other here (kiss on the cheek, often while grasping hands or touching the shoulder).
Adelaida (our childcare supervisor and nurse) and I asked 90% of the questions asked during the talk. Yeah, we want to know all we can!
Then this evening I talked to our favorite pediatrician for a long time. I needed to ask him for a letter to present in court related to the chicken pox epidemic in the homes earlier this year, we talked about the H1V1 virus, and then I asked if he knew about baby Joel. He did. He said he was called that morning but the baby was already gone so he didn't come in. Then we had a really good conversation. I mean it was terribly hard - remembering all the details again of Wednesday night, with a perfect Joel, and Thursday morning with a dying Joel, was horrible and as soon as I got out his door I was crying. But he wouldn't blame anyone, saying several times, "These things happen. We KNOW they happen with babies." (Yes, but not with MINE.....or it wasn't supposed to happen to mine.) He brought up SIDS before I did.
I asked some of my questions, searching for some way to prevent this, with my thoughts on it (such as making it a regulation that babies ages 0-6 months always sleep in the room with the night caregivers...even though Joel did and it still didn't matter) and he agreed with everything and just encouraged me that we're doing a great job. He said I'm suffering a lot, and to be calmer about it. Yep, he's observant.
I told him how this year makes me want to lift my hands and just...quit. It's just too hard to work with babies. He looked right at me and said "Look. I give my all and do everything humanly possible to save some babies, and they die anyway. Do you think I should stop being a doctor because of that? You all have helped so many babies who arrive in bad shape. And if you quit?" That little speech is still sinking in.... I feel dumb for wanting to quit. He's been in this way longer than I have, this business of trying to save babies.
And because a post without a picture is boring, and I've had too many of those lately:
Our eight youngest babies in August 2008. Aren't they cute? Definite motivation to press on. Two in this picture have been adopted and two more are now adoptable.
Addition, June 6
So interesting this would be the last phrase in my Beth Moore study this morning (Stepping Up):
On this mysterious pilgrimage we will find that when we do meet difficulties and sorrows, they were not meant to stop us but to form the character required for our great harvest in the coming season. Step into your future, Precious One.