After a Doctor encouraged his Mom to quit breastfeeding and she came to us in search of formula for him. Marck was a tiny 6 lbs 6.2 oz baby even though he was 3 months old. Being that malnourished and based on other parts of his story, Marck was a perfect candidate for our formula program.
He and his Mom came yesterday to trade in their empty can for some more formula. This is the third time I have seen them. At first, I'll admit, I was a little upset because formula program day is Tuesday, and this is the second time she has come on the wrong day. Turns out God had a reason for them to come two days late that I was yet aware of.
Yesterday started out like any normal formula program rendezvous, we weighed the baby and documented his weight. After a month he has only gained a few ounces (up from 6# 6.2 oz to 6# 14.2 oz). I began talking with Mom to try and figure out how much he's drinking and see if there is a reason why he's so small for his age. She informed me that she feeds him every 3 hours around the clock, but he just doesn't take much. I asked her to make a bottle in front of me and give it to him so that I could be sure that she was making it correctly and she if he has a good suck. She made the bottle perfectly, but as soon as she gave it to him, he started choking. Just what we were thinking, the nipple was probably too big, so we switched to a premature nipple because his mouth is so tiny. This still didn't help and he continued to choke.
Tori, our nurse who helps with the medical part of the formula program, instantly knew something was wrong. The Mom told Tori that he was sick. Tori listened to his lungs and right away thought that he might have pneumonia. She gave him a breathing treatment, but things quickly got worse. I ran outside and called in Amy, our other nurse.
The next several hours are kind of a blur as we all worked on this tiny little guy for what seemed like forever. By the end of it, he was connected to two oxygen machines, had an IV in his scalp for fluids, a heart rate/oxygen monitor connected to his foot, the occasional breathing treatment, and constant sectioning to remove the secretions coming out of his mouth. We also drew some blood and gave him a shot of steroids. Needless to say, he did not enjoy the torture treatment.
To be honest, we weren't sure if this little guy was going to make it. His oxygen levels should have been about 95, and his were averaging in the low 70's, some times even dropping below that. His heart rate was all over the place. He was weak and refusing to drink.
But through it all I was reminded of a few things.
1. Haitian women are stronger than anyone I've ever met. If this was all happening to Eventz, I would have been an absolute mess. I would not have been any help and definitely would not have been calm. Eventz has been on his death bed before and even though at the time I was not yet his Mother, I was bawling.
This Mom however was so strong and calm. She sat there the entire time, her little boy in her arms, holding his tiny little hands, singing to him to try and keep him calm, and praying over him. It has been about 26 hours since all this started, and she has not yet stopped singing. She knew she had to be strong for her baby, to fight for his life, and she did. There were a few moments where she would turn her head to the side for a few seconds, sniff back a tear, and return to singing. I was amazed by this lady.
2. Amy and Tori are AMAZING! They are both right out of nursing school and are doing work that they should have gone to many, many, more years of school before doing. I have seen them in life and death situations many times, and they are so calm, work so well together, and some how, even though they aren't trained in these areas, know exactly what to do.
3. COTP is overwhelmingly blessed. We have so much technology and medicine here that has been donated. If we didn't have most of this, Mr. Marck H. Finley probably would not be here with us today.
4. My respect for our nannies has grown immensely. None of them know this family, but over the past two days, many of them have come in to offer a word of encouragement to them. One nanny came in this morning and said "God knows. God gave you this child as a gift. He knows." Other nannies have brought food in for them to ensure that they eat or will sit and say a quick prayer with them. When I've told nannies that there is a sick kid here from the community, the first thing they do is bow their heads and pray and then through out the day, ask how he is doing. They love babies so much and truly want to help out those who are sick.
5. God is Good! Until just a few weeks ago, I used to do the formula program by myself. Now however Tori is always available to do a consult with them if the child is sick. Had she not have been there, I would have assumed that Marck just had a normal cold and sent him home. Who knows if he would have made it. Plus, this little guy needed TWO oxygen machines because he was having such a hard time breathing. We only just recently had our second machine donated. Everything worked out exactly in God's time. He had Marck come to get his formula two days late, knowing that he would need intervention that day. He made sure that both Amy and Tori were here to work on him. He provided us with someone who could watch Eventz so I could stay in there with him. And most importantly, he watched over Marck when he was so unstable.
Last night we invited Marck and his family to spend the night at COTP. Ideally we would have taken him to the hospital as soon as we started noticing he might have health problems, but he wasn't even stable enough to make it there. Marck slept upstairs with the girls to get monitored all night and the Mom slept down stairs in one of our special needs rooms which is open at the moment; which is another God thing because we are in the process of moving some kids into that room and had we have done that yesterday, then his Mom wouldn't have been able to stay here.
Marcks stats are much better today. His heart rate is normal and his oxygen has been in the high 80's. We think that he might have a heart condition. There is a team coming down to the local hospital in a few weeks and we will be able to get an ECHO done for him to know for sure. Marck has been connected to an IV, but is retaining all the water and isn't peeing. Amy gave him some medicine to try and help with this.
Again we wanted to take him to the hospital this morning. We disconnected him from the oxygen machine so we could rush him there, but his stats dropped almost instantly. He just can't breath enough on his own and we don't have a portable oxygen machine. We think he could possibly be having either heart or kidney failure but don't know for sure. This would explain why he is so dang little even though his Mother is trying to feed him.
Marck's Mom and Dad have been by his side all day. His Dad told us today that he's tired because he missed his son and wife last night and didn't like sleeping by himself. Marck's Mom is still singing. Her voice is starting to get horse, but she keeps on going. We have to force her to eat because she doesn't want to take her attention off her baby for a second. Marck loves his Mother dearly. I held him for about a minute so she could eat, and he cried the entire time. As soon as I gave him back he was perfectly content! His Grandma is here now as well and is also very attentive to her grandson. Her presence seems to ease Marck Mom's tension that she has been having. Marck has been resting for a while but is still very weak.
There is a visiting pediatrician at the Milot hospital right now and Nick just left to pick her up so she can look at Mr. Marck H. Finley. Hopefully she will be able to offer some good advice on what we can do to help this little man!
He's adorable and in need of prayers. Please pray for this family and for Marck.
For a more Medical perspective on this read Tori's Blog.