Friday, February 10, 2012

Baby Jacqueline

This week I have been on the post-natal ward. After mothers deliver on the maternity ward, they come here with the baby for another 6-9 hours to be monitored. If they are fine at this point, they go home. If there are any issues with mom or babe or if the delivery was a c-section, they stay here for a couple days. I went there on Monday not knowing what to except after being on maternity and children's ward for the past 2 weeks. I was orientated to the ward and in the very back of the unit I was shown the special baby unit. Inside, 3 incubators and 2 overhead baby warmers. Inside one of the incubators were 2 tiny babies, one girl and one boy. I knew instantly this is where I would spend the majority of my week. The boy, baby Joel was just over a week old but the tiniest of infants. The girl had no name yet so I lovingly called her baby girl. She had been born only 9 hours before and had trouble breathing and had an IV for feeding. I fed baby girl through her IV every hour, making sure I was diligent and confident with frequent assessments and monitoring alerting the doctor when necessary. On Tuesday, the mother was strong enough to walk to the special baby unit to hold her daughter (one of five I found out!) for the first time. I placed the tiny baby, weighing just under 4 pounds in her arms and couldn't help but smile. I asked her what she had decided to name the baby and she asked my name. Not sure that she understood my question I responded saying my name was Jackie and repeated my question again. "We will call her Jacqueline"said the mother! I was shocked, immediately telling her that was not necessary, she needed a strong name for her fighter of a baby. She laughed and said she loved the name though. The next day, I expected her to forget the whole encounter but when I placed the baby into her arms again, she wanted to reassure herself with the spelling of Jacqueline. I told her then left the room to allow her to bond with her new baby. I couldn't help but have tears in my eyes. From such a simple but extremely honorable and touching act, this mother showed me a side of Zambia I had not seen yet. I will be forever grateful and touched by this moment. Though this tiny baby will never know me, I will never be able to forget her. As odd as it is to use my own name to address this little girl, each time I say it, it puts a smile on my face. Welcome to the world baby Jacqueline, I wish you all the best in the world!



  1. What a wonderful transformation for all involved. A beautiful story Jackie. We are proud of you and so thrilled with the wonderful work you are doing in Zambia.