On the evening of Monday May 7th, we got a call. A woman had been delivered of a Ruby at 27 weeks. We knew we had to pay a visit to let the mom know we were with her and would stand by her through the journey. By the next day, we were at the hospital as planned. Mother had yet to recover from surgery but beyond that she was visibly apprehensive. The look was familiar. I didn’t have to wonder what was going through her mind.
Upon learning of the gender of the baby, I told her very convincingly that her baby will be fine. She looked up at me from her hospital bed. I saw a flicker of hope in her eyes. Just why we exist. To give hope.
I repeated myself. She will be fine.
It wasn’t planned but somehow the members of my team took turns to echo this belief ingrained in their hearts that this baby that looked all too vulnerable and helpless would definitely be OK. You see, they know that a certain Ruby born at 25 weeks made it. So they share the belief of TBHI that every preemie CAN make it if given a chance.
Through our conviction, we infused hope into mother and her supportive husband.
Does the baby have a name yet? I quipped. As suspected, the response was in the negative.
Give her a name, I suggested. She’s human. Every human being has a name. Names are for identification. Start treating her like the human she is.
By the time we left with a promise to call on the baby again, we had achieved our primary mission. We reenforced what little hope they had that their little baby is a trouper who only needs all our support to pull through.
The baby has a name now. Miracle, says the father. As consequent from our previous meeting, we came this time bearing gifts; a gift pack (containing diapers, cannulae, olive oil, syringes, cotton wool, hand sanitisers, methylated spirit, adhesive plaster) and cash.
The mother sits on a plastic chair beside the bed; wearing glasses and a bright smile. Her countenance is much better than the last time. Her radiance is infectious and everyone draws from it. The gloom characterised our previous visits isn’t there anymore.
Everyone starts to smile while we listen to her husband ramble out gratitude to the executive director— who presented him with the cash gift— and by extension the rest of the team.
The baby is fighting, still, bravely and adorably, in the blue-lit incubator where she’s riddled with tiny tubes and oxygen. The nurse says that the baby has not been weighed since our last visit so we cannot tell if she has put on more weight.
Our director remarks that the father of the child is a good man. That he has stuck around, taking as much responsibilities as he can, unlike some other men she had encountered who had crumbled under the weight of the same predicament and absconded, leaving a helpless wife to wiggle out of the situation however she can . . . If ever she can.
We file out of the ward with hearts bloated with absolute satisfaction of the fulfilment of our most important commitment. The calm evening air kisses our faces as if in gratitude for a good day.
Written by Petra Akinti Onyegbule and Victor Daniel