I was asked if we had space for a newborn!
I said yes, then was told the details.
The baby, now abandoned, was born with cleft lip/palate and was being fed via feeding tube.
I thought about that for a second: we know some about cleft lip (thanks to twin K), and also about feeding tubes (thanks to the triplets), and are about to have lots of volunteers (to help with surgeries and extra care), and our favorite volunteer nurse Savannah is currently here!
He was supposed to be brought within an hour, but by day's end there was no new arrival. SEDEGES called back and said the "hand over" had been postponed until Friday morning.
But now curious and knowing I had another baby, just in the hospital, I asked for details and went the very next day to visit him. The social worker got me past the security guard, and then while I met the baby and chatted with the doctors and nurses caring for him (what great people!), the same security guard came to announce that a lady had brought a donation of clothes for the baby who was "sick". Apparently, the day before two local news channels had come to interview the hospital staff and learn about the abandoned special needs baby, thus the flow of donations.
I felt much better after visiting, that we were going to be able to handle the baby. First of all, since the night before he was already drinking his milk fine with bottles, no tubes needed. Secondly, they were having a special plaque made for his upper mouth to also help him suction better. Thirdy, he wasn't really tiny or malnourished, as our K had been. He already weighed well over 8 pounds, pretty good in a country where most babies weigh only 5-6 pounds at birth.
Since the baby was born on December 23 (making him 2 weeks old today), hospital staff had played around with different ideas for his name. In the end, SEDEGES won out with the name they chose for his memo. It begins with a M... I like it, and it's always nice when it's not a current (or past) duplicate! :)
This morning I spent a couple hours picking him up with all the proper documentation and instructions. As soon as I got to the neonatalogy room, I scooped him up because he was hollering.....and he immediately settled down and fell asleep. That is, until I had to leave him again to go sign papers with the hospital director! I thought well, there's nothing unusual about this baby...he already prefers to be held! :)
As long as he continues to take milk well, the biggest challenge I can see is the twice daily cleaning of his little plaque, and then returning it to its proper position with some special "glue". When the baby weighs 5 kilos (11 pounds) he will undergo his first surgery.
All we know of the mother is that she just turned 19, is from the countryside, and showed signs of rejection even before he was born. The birth was difficult and when the baby emerged, the cord was around his neck and he needed oxygen and incubation for 6 days. He also had a systemic infection requiring antibiotics. When the mother first saw him, her reactions were even stronger and she refused to hear anything about him, even when staff tried to explain that his condition is operable. On December 26 she left the hospital and didn't return. (We will carry out all necessary investigations.)
Passing him off to the tias this morning! When we got to the house, the very first child to greet us was actually Twin K, visiting from Casa de Amor III for the weekly speech therapy classes. Looking at her, doing so well now after two surgeries, made me think of the long road ahead for baby M, but how worth it it will be!
From there we sat down with the tias in the playroom to introduce the baby to the older children in particular, who were already making faces and all sorts of shocked comments about the new baby's mouth and nose. I explained that baby M was born this way, just as our little girl J was born with different eyes. It will take some getting used to, but we recalled how very quickly they adapted to J's special needs!
(Little boy B only now met the new baby because he had a play day at Casa de Amor II. Once again highlighting how unique every child is, he dashed over to meet the new baby, pointed and declared with his ever present smile "LOOK, the baby has a BEAK!" and dashed off to another room...!)
About HALF of the mountain of gifts we were sent off with this morning at the hospital! More clothes than any one newborn could use, a heap of soft blankets, socks, diapers, baby wash, 3 brands of formula, two diaper bags, and more. What a blessed little baby already!
Addendum: ironically, the mother went to the hospital today looking for the baby, about an hour after I had brought him home. However, it seems her intentions were anything but good, so the hospital was relieved that he was already legally here with us!