In Loving Memory of the Baby
Finally a day off after ten straight days of working, it just so happens that today is my birthday. Imagine my surprise when I opened my browser to see this:
This will be my third year spending my birthday in Africa. I celebrated by taking a run in the campus after two months of a hiatus from running because of a March stress fracture of my left second metatarsal. This had been present for quite some time prior to an official x-ray two months ago prior to my departure for Liberia, but I stubbornly continued to run through the pain. I defied my Sports Medicine Doctor’s advice of only running three times a week and not more than three miles each time, instead I ran six times a week and four miles each time. But it felt good to run freely again without pain.
My roommate came home after her night shift reporting that when she saw the baby, she could not believe that he was so pink. She gave the baby dextrose and he took about three milliliters. In the best of time, in her opinion, he would have lived if placed in an incubator and given a continuous dextrose drip. But no one would take the baby because of the possibility of Ebola. When she made rounds again in the early morning, the baby was still alive, she had tried drawing blood from the cord but none came, she said the cord was not well formed. She refused to draw blood from the baby, like us she did not wish to inflict more pain on him. The midwife who cut the cord yesterday did not stay to help us, my roommate thought the midwives here lost so many of their colleagues because of Ebola, they were too wary of getting infected.
This miracle fought hard and lived for one day; my roommate did not think he would live much longer without nutrition and warmth. She was distraught that the mother, Watta, did not show interest in the baby which was also my impression yesterday when I found her already clean and eating breakfast while her baby was lying in the dirt next to the outdoor shower, cold and uncovered. I did not wish to pass judgment at the time but find it difficult to reconcile the lack of desire to even cuddle her very own helpless baby.
J. Godpower, Saad’s brother, passed away last night. His name did not help him. He was six years old.
My heart still weeps for the baby.
In Loving Memory of
Sunrise 11/11/2014, Sunset 11/12/2014