It's official. B ward is full of babies. I could not be happier.
This weekend was lovely. The shifts were busy; not crazy. The patients were cute and well behaved. And I took care of two remarkably cute babies.
Anthony has spent about 50 % of his life on the Africa Mercy. He came to us (I think) on his fourth day of life. He is now just barely over a week old. He was born with a meningocele, which is a protrusion of the meninges (the tissues which cover the spinal cord) of the brain or spinal cord through a defect in the spinal cord. The bones of the spine do not completely form, resulting in an incomplete spinal canal and causes the meninges to stick out of the child's back. In his before pictures in his chart it looked as if someone attached a white, filled balloon to his tiny bottom. Now he has just a small incision along the base of his back.
If Anthony's meningocele was not removed , possible complications include:
Frequent urinary tract infections
Loss of bowel or bladder control
Permanent weakness or paralysis of legs
Anthony is the youngest of six children. His mom is smart and totally in tune with his needs and care. He experience shows. She is extremely grateful for Anthony's surgery.
Throughout the day I stole away moments to simply enjoy Anthony's company. I firmly believe that one of the greatest feelings in the world is a soft, newborn baby pressed against your chest with their small heads tucked into the curvature of your neck. I told his mom I wasn't going to do any work; I was just going to hold Anthony all day.
Lately I have caught myself thinking ahead. Wondering about the future. Missing old friends. I only have three months left. Then I am leaving Liberia and returning to life as I knew it (except that it might not be possible).
But today I realized I have three months left. Three months of experiences I was meant to have. I don't want to miss out on the moment because I was fixed on the future.
Jim Elliot once said, "Let not our longings slay the appetite of our living." Such strong words to live by.
This week my mom sent me some photos of my family that we had taken when I was home. One is hanging on my door right now :). After my shift, I brought them down to show Anthony's mom. She said my mom looked like my sister and that my family was fine. She said Anthony was my son and to tell my mother that she had an African grandson. I'm sure my mom will be happy to hear she has a grandson.
I love just hanging out in the ward and I try to make the most of every opportunity that arises in conversation. As patients and translators gathered around to look and my "fine" family, they kept remaking at how young my mother looked ("she is your sister").
I told them that my mother was young. That she had me when she was young. And then I told them about God's grace. I think about how many young mothers, in my own mother's position, terminated there pregnancies. I told them how God's grace has been on my life since before I was born. About how all we are, all we do, the people we have, the things we know- is all by God's grace.
As I spoke one of the translator's yelled out, "But what if there was no Meggee." Everyone Liberian I meet calls me Meggee, patients and translator's alike. I don't really know why but I rather like it. I think I'll miss being called Meggee when I leave.
There are so many small blessings. So much that I don't deserve.
I am not who I want to be. I do things I don't want to be. My thoughts and attitudes are changing. But God is unchanging. And He blesses, pours Himself upon us, simply because He delights to do so.
I will rejoice in undeserved blessings.