Sandra tried to focus her eyes, but they weren’t clearing quickly. She slowly came to…and heard her baby’s cry. She felt something warm up against her chest. She opened her eyes more fully – there he was.
Her baby boy. Lying right there beside her. She could hardly believe it. He was there. Finally. In person. Her baby boy. No, he was not the girl she had been hoping for – but she hardly cared. He was perfect. So cute and tiny.
That breastfeeding thing – that was something that she was going to have to get used to. It is not as easy as everyone makes it look. It made her tired, but she guessed she would get used to it eventually.
The night came quickly. Amy had been there all day, her Mother had told her. but she had to go home for the night and she would be back the next morning. Sandra needed to see her – she needed to thank her. Amy had done so much.
She awoke during the night to screams. Cries of panic.
A mother. One on the other side of the room from her. Sandra had seen her. The mother had given birth to twins. Shouting. Cries for help. Confusion. Chaos. They were saying something about the babies?? Couldn’t find them? Gone?
Her babies were gone. Someone had stolen her babies. Sandra couldn’t comprehend it. Stolen. They were searching….couldn’t find them. Someone said they had seen a lady come through earlier….near the bed. She must have picked them up. No one heard them crying.
Sandra moved her baby a little closer to her body. She said a prayer of thanks. It could have been her baby. She had taken walks. The nurses encouraged walks. She had to keep some strength. And try to help the wound heal from the c-section. The mother was in shock. Sandra guessed the mother would be leaving tomorrow. She had delivered naturally. Now there was no need for her to stay. They had been monitoring the babies – but now…
Gone. Just like that they were gone. That mother’s precious babies. Those babies she had carried for nine months. Had come to the hospital to finally meet. Had been sleeping with and caring for and breastfeeding – loving her twin babies. And twins. Twins are special. They have a special blessing – in this culture, they are blessed. It is special to have twins.
And now they were stolen. She would go home empty handed. Empty. Handed. No children. No babies. The loss was enormous.
And she knew it happened. Always different reasons. Different people who take them. Sometimes barren women visit the hospital. And see the babies. On purpose. They decide to just take one for their own. They can’t have children – so the only option they see is to take someone else’s.
Sometimes the baby just looks cute – “Mine is cute”, Sandra thought. Maybe she was prejudice, but she thought he was so cute. And she prayed that this was not going to be a bad thing for him. Sometimes women come to visit the hospital, admire a cute baby, and then decide to just take it and make it theirs.
Occasionally the family does not want the baby in the family. Perhaps the baby is an effect of rape, or the girl’s family may dislike the boy’s family for some reason – but bottom line, the girls family just does not want the baby. It made her so sad, but it was true. So, they “steal” the baby to conveniently not have it anymore.
But also…many babies die. Many mothers lose their children in this hospital. But there are many other babies still alive and well…they just belong to other mothers. So, like the story in the Bible with King Solomon – a mother who has lost her baby steals another woman’s child. and claims it as their own. Then they don’t have to go home empty handed – someone else does.
Then the worst one. Other times…the babies are used for sacrifice. She couldn’t stand this practice in Africa. It was horrible. And so evil. But it happens. Often.
Sandra shuttered. “What if it had been me? What if I had been the one screaming? What if I had come back from my walk and my baby had been gone?” She didn’t want to imagine. She looked down into his little face. Sleeping so peacefully.
She thanked the Lord that her little one was safely beside her in bed.
The next day…the baby on the next bed died. That baby’s mother had been young, too. Just like her. She watched as the mother didn’t know what to do. She woke up and he was dead. Her baby boy was dead. They didn’t even know what from. Sandra thought she still looked confused. Didn’t really seem to know what happened. The nurses didn’t really know either. He was just dead.
The mother looked so confused. Disoriented. She looked like she didn’t know what to do next. She called the nurse. The nurse came…looked over the baby…then took him away.
She left later that day.
A few hours later…same thing. A baby on the opposite side of the room. Died. “My goodness. How was this happening like this? I thought these babies had been born healthy – just like my little boy.”, Sandra thought.
Sickness. Some kind of infection. And they said maybe malaria, too. but they didn’t seem to know for sure.
That baby was a little boy, too. `
Sandra pulled her baby even closer than before.
Her little one started crying. She woke up to breastfeed…and began to hear the chatter around her again.
Another baby. “Seriously, Lord?”, she thought. Her mom was awake too. She was watching and listening – another baby.
Rumors…she kept catching little bits and pieces of the story. A mother had given birth…and something happened during the cutting of the umbilical cord. The baby contracted tetanus. Quickly.
They rushed the baby to the children’s hospital…but it was too late. He didn’t even make it to the hospital. He died en route.
She shuttered. Thankful. She could only be thankful.
She prayed for these other mothers, these other girls. So many situations, so many needs. So many horrific situations. The sad truth. Reality.
She knew Amy’s heart. Longing to help, comforting, supporting so many of these babies and mothers. Sandra knew from experience. Amy had come so long ago. Way back in the beginning of her pregnancy. God had miraculously provided for all of her needs and the baby’s through Amy’s love, provision, and care. Amy insured that the c-section was done to the best of the doctor’s ability…and Sandra came out perfectly fine. The baby is perfectly fine. She wasn’t lying on the bed worrying like so many of these other mothers. No. She had every need cared for…even as a poor, fifteen year old girl having to undergo a c-section, she had peace. Even in this place that can be so frightening and scary at times…she had known that God was with her, protecting her, providing for her…and Amy was here too.
Thankful. She could only be thankful.