It tricks you.
You think you're better. You feel 100% better. Literally 100%. Like go-out-for-a-burger-and-a-beer-for-lunch-with-some-friends better, and then BAM. 3:00PM hits like a freight train. You're in a staff meeting and you start sweating. The sweat literally beads up on your face and you feel it trickle down the back of your neck.
That was my day today. What I SHOULD have done then is go back to bed. What I DID was head out to Bwa Vital and De Izin to do diaper distribution. This was completely unnecessary. The whole process can and does function perfectly well without me. However, there's something self-serving in it for me. It's part pride and part that I just LOVE these babies.
But it's never just an in-and-out thing.
Today there was me the lady pregnant with twins, due in November with HUGE swollen ankles (I have never seen anything like it) and me begging her to go to the hospital to get her blood pressure checked. Then there was the lady who just gave birth this morning in tent 173 who was still cramping and miserable. I checked the cord on the baby (because I am friends with a midwife now and it's like second nature to check to see how the cord was handled). The baby, brand new and bundled to oblivion had about a 6 inch umbilical cord all wrapped up in gauze and twine. Who knows what was under there?
And then there was the new mom in 174 who had a 6 day old baby and was having breastfeeding issues.
And then there was Daphkalene. She's the 6 month old baby with the giant ears that I think is just cuter than a speckled pup. Life is not easy for her because her big sister, Esterline who is 3 has hydrocephalus. Esterline is my only exception to the no-babies-over-2-years-old-get-diapers rule. Her mom has been fighting for her to get the surgery she needs. Today as I passed their tent, the big sister who is about 10 (who-- God forgive me, I don't know her name) said, "Madame Nick. Vin wè Daphkalene." (Gwenn, come see Daphkalene.)
Guernia and Black (our security guard and diaper carrier) had gotten ahead of me while I was talking to the huge-ankle-pregnant-with-twins lady and I so I went off on my own to see Daphkalene. Her hair was all matted with debris in it.
I asked where Esteraline was. And she said that she and her mom went away. I asked where they went. She said they went to get Esteraline's operation. This made me very happy but then I asked who was staying with her and Daphkalene. She said she was taking care of the baby and that a neighbor was helping. The dad comes to sleep in the tent, but she takes care of the baby. Knowing that Daphkalene was still nursing, I asked how long the mom had been gone.
The answer--since Sunday.
Today is Thursday. So I asked when she was coming back.
"Jodia si Dye vle." (Today if God wills.)
I asked what Daphkalene was eating. She said she was feeding her and that sometimes the neighbor helped. I don't know what that means. I just didn't ask. I seriously just didn't know what to do. I was still feverish and honestly my world was woozy. I don't know how I walked away and did nothing. But yeah, I didn't have a solution. I didn't have a solution for huge-ankle-lady. I didn't have a solution for 6 inch-umbilical cord-baby in 173, or breastfeeding-problem in 174.
I just left them all there exactly the way they were when I came. Except that they all had a neatly packed packet of 10 diapers for their babies.
BIG. FREAKING. DEAL.
This place my pride told me I HAD to go today, I was leaving the same way it was when I came.
I am SO inadequate for this job.
So I get home at about 6PM to screaming, fighting, crying children. My staff are mad at the kids who have been disobeying the whole time I have been gone. My head is pounding, my stomach is churning. That burger and beer that was so great when I felt 100% earlier in the day were now revolting and racing to come out me at both ends. I run to the bathroom to be sick and then I just collapse into tears on the bed-- supposed to go out in a few minutes with a group of friends to celebrate a birthday. I call Nick into the room and tell him (beware, I know I was being dramatic, but that is how I felt,) "Nick I feel as if I may ACTUALLY perish tonight."
It's how I felt.
But like there always is in Haiti, there was a job to do and Nick had to leave and the only thing I could think that would make me feel better is someone laying next to me. I called Nia into the room and asked me if she could read me a book. I didn't know what else to do. She picked out my favorite children's book, "Five Minutes Peace" and read it... with all the voices.
Oh. my. gosh.
I love that girl.
I felt like such a scumbag mom just clinging to Nia with tears streaming down my face.
I am SO inadequate for this job.
Nia finished and said, "Now which one would you like?"
I am SO inadequate for this job.
She read some silly book about dinosaurs and table manners and then Dr.Suess' "The Sneetches" which I told her was probably too hard for her because of all the nonsense words. She just rolled her eyes and said, "Mom, I've read it a million times." And she proceeded to read it aloud to me the millionth and first time.
During this time, my two boys (who I was having no idea how I was going to wrangle into bed since Nick was out for the evening) wandered their way upstairs and into my bed to listen to the story. Before long we were all snuggled up together-- the kids fighting of course, but this time fighting about who got to sleep right next to me.
Their snuggles against me were a soothing balm.
Yeah, they skipped brushing teeth tonight, (cause remember, I am totally inadequate for this job) but after some more books, we said prayers together and by the time we were done, Josiah's heavy breathing (almost snoring) made me turn over to see his perfect little eyelashes closed and his lips pursed in an almost-smile in his sleep. I honestly couldn't help myself from reaching out and touching his face. I have never loved him more. My mind flashed through all we'd been through with him... how we almost lost him. And his hot breath on my face now... it was possibly the most heavenly thing I have ever felt.
I just laid there-- smooshed in the middle of three sleeping children. (They all fell asleep in less than two minutes... literally.) And all I could think about was how horribly (physically) I felt and yet how ALIVE and fortunate I am.
And then it hit me.
I realized that God didn't just send HIS child to save me, he sent MY children to save me too...
I just laid there and prayed and told God THANK YOU and that I GET that I am TOTALLY and UTTERLY INADEQUATE for this job.
(And then I wriggled my way out of the middle of them because if you think this feverish mama with a sleep disorder can POSSIBLY sleep in the same bed with three children, you're crazy.)