Saturday, December 31, 2011
As I was in church on Christmas morning, I had tears in my eyes for so many reasons. First of all, I was just thankful and filled with pure joy to be in Haiti celebrating and remembering the Savior’s birth. I was also missing my little Jean this Christmas season, but realizing that being in Heaven has to be the best place to be on Christmas day! Then, I focused on the fact that I was holding a little miracle…
On October 16th, a young man came up to me after church telling me that he had a son at home that was 2 ½ years old. He said that his friend told him that Mami Heather could help since his son did not walk or talk (the word has gotten around that I love all children that look a little different, can’t walk, and can’t talk…haha.) I immediately told him to bring his son the following day for me to evaluate and see. At 9am, this father arrived with his son. I had never seen a cleaner child in Haiti in my life! I picked him up in my arms, and knew that “crackling” sound oh too well. This little one had obviously aspirated, and needed to be tended to. I brought him and his dad up to the clinic where our nurse, Emily, was. We both knew that this little boy had cerebral palsy, and was suffering from aspiration. We weighed him, put him on an antibiotic, and gently told his father that his son had a condition where he might not ever walk or talk. I watched this father’s heart just break right in front of me. His little Christ-tcherry was all that he had. His wife had a C-section with Christ-tcherry and died when he was 2 months old due to an infection in the incision (a death that could have been prevented, for sure!) What could I do? In front of me was a 25 year old widowed father who obviously loves his baby boy with all his heart. He is educated and intelligent, but will not work because he does not trust anyone else to watch his severely disabled child.
The day I met Papito and Christ-tcherry, I gave them cereal, baby food, and a stroller. I figured the stroller would help keep Christ-tcherry in an upright position to help with aspiration. I told Papito to come to church with his son every week, and that if he did, I would continue to help them. Every Sunday since, Papito has brought Christ-tcherry to church. I have continued to help him as much as I can. On December 3rd, Papito came to the property of Danita’s Children around 3pm to tell me that Christ-tcherry was very sick and struggling to breathe. Blake and I jumped on a motorcycle, and hurried to their home. I didn’t have to walk inside to hear Christ-tcherry; I could hear his labored breathing from outside. I immediately looked at Christ-tcherry’s chest concaving in each time he tried to breathe. Little air was passing through. I picked his limp and tired body up off of the bed, told Papito to grab a few things because we had to go to the clinic across the border immediately. The border was about to close, but I knew we didn’t have any other choice. I knew this child would certainly die if we didn’t go right then and there. In my heart, I knew it would take a miracle from above to breathe life back into this child. I wanted this father to know that we tried everything, and that there was HOPE in our Lord.
We got to the clinic, and the doctor was called. She took vitals right away, and had no way of getting an x-ray until morning. Thank goodness she was compassionate and understanding, and started the IV antibiotics and oxygen right away. I was scared and nervous. I wasn’t with Jean when he passed away, but I could only imagine that this was similar to the same situation. We were dealing with aspirating pneumonia, a high fever, and we were even in the same room of the clinic. I prayed and asked God to be in control of the situation. I pleaded for life and a miracle, but also told God that if it wasn’t the day for that, I understood and would still trust Him with everything! I could see that Papito knew his son’s life was in danger. I could see the worry in his eyes. He didn’t say much. He just held his baby boy tightly, and comforted him as needles were going in and out of his son’s tiny body. After a few hours, things seemed to be settled down, and Christ-tcherry’s breathing was not as labored with the oxygen. I went home for the night, and asked the nurse to call me during the night if anything changed. I would return in the morning.
Christ-tcherry had made it through the night. He was a fighter. I asked Papito if they slept, and he said that Christ-tcherry did. When I asked him if he slept, he said, “No, I could not sleep. All I could do was pray. Mami Heather, he is all I have left.” This is love, this is true love. This father/son love is a rare find especially in Haiti, and it has been such a blessing to me to see. I left the two of them in the clinic by themselves for the day while I went to Haiti. I crossed back into the DR around 5pm, and checked on them. All seemed to be going ok. I ate dinner with some visitors, and then brought food to Papito. I was with Bill (a missionary who was a paramedic in the states) and we both thought that Christ-tcherry had taken a turn for the worse. His breathing sounded horrible, and the oxygen didn’t seem to be helping very much. The doctor had rigged something up to help keep the oxygen in Christ-tcherry’s space to give him all the help he could get. She looked at both of us, and said that it didn’t look good and that Christ-tcherry might not make it through the night.
Bill contacted another doctor in the states, and they both agreed that this was probably going to be it. This could quite possibly be the night for Christ-tcherry to enter the Kingdom’s gates. I left the room because the tears started to flow, and I needed to still talk to Papito and prepare him for what might come. I prayed and just asked the Lord to prepare our hearts and be with all of us through the night no matter what He chose to do. I had made the decision to stay in the clinic with Christ-tcherry and his dad. I didn’t want his dad to be alone if Christ-tcherry died in the night. I wanted to be there for the both of them. Blake and Bill took shifts to be there too. I was sitting on the bed with Christ-tcherry and I read the back of his jacket that he had been wearing for the past two days. In big letters it said, “Forever Yours.” It was so fitting and just a reminder that this little boy belonged to God. He is forever His and that brought so much comfort during this time.
Each hour passed, and Christ-tcherry fought hard! God was holding him tight, and when morning came, I realized that God had performed a miracle. Christ-tcherry was alive and breathing better! Everyone agreed that only God could have done that. Christ-tcherry’s chances of survival went up drastically because he had made it through the night. After a couple more days, he was taken off the oxygen. After 6 nights of sleeping in the clinic with his daddy by his side every minute, Christ-tcherry had received all his IV antibiotics and was ready to be discharged. What a great miracle we just witnessed. His dad was excited to bring Christ-tcherry back home to Haiti where he would show off his son and the good work the Lord had done! The homecoming was priceless! His uncles, aunts, cousins, and neighbors all greeted him with big smiles and laughter.
Christ-tcherry had a check-up at the clinic and is still doing great. He will continue to struggle with all that comes with cerebral palsy and living in Haiti, but he will forever be the little Christmas miracle of 2011!!!