Monday, April 29, 2013

Hope for the Children: The Nurses~ A Tribute

Hope for the Children: The Nurses~ A Tribute: When I first started at the hospital, my Romanian was very poor. I could speak a little and understood even less. The poor nurses spoke almo...

The Nurses~ A Tribute

When I first started at the hospital, my Romanian was very poor. I could speak a little and understood even less. The poor nurses spoke almost nill. This was a very frustrating situation and added some tension to the situation. At first I thought that the nurses were just heartless. I mean really... who could let children sit in poopy diapers for over four hours or simply prop a bottle and let the gruel run out onto the bed and never burp the baby? Who could be so cruel?

However, as the months and in some cases years went by, I had a change of heart. Who was I to judge so harshly, to think I could change these babies lives single handedly? You see these women were NOT cruel or heartless! In fact, they had struggles probably so much more than most of you readers and definitely more than I. 

Communism is a difficult task master and these woman had all spent the majority of their lives under it. Going to church was a sin, speaking Hungarian on the streets was dangerous, basic necessities sometimes hard to find, bread lines were a way of life. Now that communism had ended and more commodities were entering Romania there was no money to purchase them. They worked for whatever the government paid them in a hospital that was a throwback to the 1940's and crumbling around their ears. They worked with very few supplies. ( Once after I had been very ill and had some leftover, unused syringes, I asked if the ward would like them? They were gratefully snatched from my hands and put to use) The rooms were dismal, gray and like I mentioned before, smelly. And they toiled there year. after year. after year. with. no. change.

After about a year of me working there, I starting to notice a change. I always played my music (for the babies), every visit I put up fresh window and wall clings, (for the babies) I made sure there was ample diapers and wipes now ( for the babies) I bought bright toys and books and walkers and clothes (all for the babies)! Slowly, it dawned on me that whenever I re-decorated or brought something new into the ward that the nurses would all crowd around and ooh and aah! They started humming to the music and then I saw the smiles... the delight on their faces. Their work environment had desensitized them. They had needed to put up a defense over their hearts because there was Nothing for them to do to help the babies in their suffering. They weren't mean! They had just been beaten down and had no hope.

When this realization struck me,
I remember crying. Crying at my arrogance, crying for the lives that they had led and crying for the hope that I saw enter that ward. Very slowly the nurses started to change. They would come into my room ( which they affectionately coined my gradinita~ my preschool) and talk with me, then they would touch a baby while they talked, then pick one up and cuddle it while we talked. Then one day someone came in and asked if she could help me feed the ten babies I had in there! No one had ever offered to help before and I knew that there had been a major breakthrough in their hearts at that point! Praise God!

These women have become friends of mine and I love going "home" each year to visit with them and work with them! They need to be recognized for their sacrifices and their hard work! The hospital is now been repaired and redecorated. It has been modernized for the most parts. There are many foundations involved and many volunteers and the babies are given a better start in life. But the the nurses and assistants there have a happier place to work now and I think that they deserve it! God Bless, Ladies! Binecuventare!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

1,000 Pageviews!

I like numbers~ I like to compare them, add them (especially if working with money) statisticize them (I know that's not a word)  and remember them! Therefore, I have to admit that I am super-excited to see that I have reached 1,000 page views! That might not be a lot in Blog history~ but I think it's pretty cool!

Another thing that is cool is you the audience. Besides the United States, there have been a host of other countries reading in, such as: Russia, Romania, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Puerto Rico, Germany, Finland, the Netherlands and Switzerland!

If you are from one of these countries I would love for you to comment on how you found the blog and why you read it! Thanks for reading everyone!


Friday, April 12, 2013

A Typical Day

My days quickly took on a routine at the hospital. Some days I was with someone and some days I was alone, but there was so much to do that every day became a blur. I felt possessed by the situation; the hopelessness of it. I often would start awake at night from the empty stares of the babies or the sound of their pitiful wails.

Many of the babies were either born with conditions or had "acquired" them from being at the hospital; Failure to Thrive, Reactive Detachment Disorder, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome to name a few. Many of these babies jolted at my touch as if stung, became hysterical in water and left marks on my arms as they clung to me when lifted from their cribs. Lice was abundant and frequently "Mr Clipper" would come in and shave the babies to rid them of the bugs, which only added to their ghetto look. Most of the children had not been bathed since birth. Their skin was scaly and resembled reptilian skin. I would scrub and scrub over several washes and often there was bleeding afterwards. The water would turn black.

In the mornings I would bathe, oil and change the babies into clean clothes. I remember the shock upon being shown the clothes cabinet. It was filled with "rags" for the babies. Tattered onesies and ripped, stained pajamas in all different sizes~ one size fits all style. Some of the pajamas had so many holes that it was almost pointless to put on.

Then bottles would arrive. Large, heavy glass bottles with nipples stretched over the top of the bottle and a large, jagged hole in the top for sucking. The nurses would come in and prop all the bottles while I claimed one child and sat and fed the baby. Feeding became an art of carefully holding baby and bottle at just the right angle for the liquid to flow slowly and evenly. When this did not happen choking, gasping and coughing would occur and baby and I would both cry then start again. Meanwhile, the other bottles would slip from the babies mouths and start leaking onto the sheets. The baby would begin mewing but then give up because it was pointless to get it back. Many times the nurses would come in and gather the bottles, commenting that the babies were not hungry! (After a couple of weeks I made the nurses understand that I would personally feed all the babies and please, do not take the bottles until they were empty!) I have fed 8-12 babies alone several times a day.

Burping was unheard of in those days and still quite often today, but it was torture hearing the babies suffering from gas pains because no one took the time to burp them. So I would burp each one until all had once again settled into silence. After a couple of weeks I brought in a CD player and began playing music in the rooms. Bouncy, energetic music for when they needed to be up and stimulated and soft relaxing music for when they needed to sleep. It was the first time these babies had ever identified different parts of their day. It was so sweet to see their eyes brighten and watch them roll back and forth in their cribs during the "up" hours. Such a break in the monotony!

Holding babies, rocking babies, singing to babies, changing babies, feeding babies, bathing babies and on and on every day... It might not seem like much, but watching their bodies grow fatter and softer; their eyes start to twinkle and their brains start to work is a Miracle for me every year....

This ministry is not just about humanitarian aid; it is about rescuing souls!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Journey part 4

   ....Sitting in that hot, smelly room and holding the tiny frame of one of the babies, was a turning point in my life. I came face to face with real need in this world. I felt it was almost like watching a World War II documentary of the Holocaust and seeing the casualties caused by the disregard for human life. There was definitely a disregard here, but who was the blame has taken me many years to sort out. Right then I needed to concentrate on the child in my arms and the job that I was given.

   I believe Abbey was feeling the same hopelessness because as I looked at her face I could see my heart mirrored there. Being a Type A personality, and not knowing what else to do with nothing, I suggested we go to the local supermarket- the first grocery to open months before my arrival- and purchase some baby supplies. She quickly agreed and we gratefully escaped the confines of the hospital to the air outside!

   We both removed money at the bancpost from our personal accounts and went into the store. There was very little options in those days but we found some diapers, wipes, shampoo and soap. Enough to start us out. With renewed energy, we eagerly returned to our room ready to change our little world! Our babies eyed us with curiosity as we set our things up in the room and decided on what to do next.
   Over the next several weeks, our friend Lauren joined us and we started caring for the babies in our room, as well as in the other rooms. I have never experienced such joy in helping others or such heartache at the conditions we faced. We soon realized that we could not support the babies from our own finances and that is when I sent an email to my supporters. I explained the new route my tour in Romania was taking me and asked if anyone felt led to donate money for baby supplies. Amazingly, within just a few weeks over $700 came in! I was so blessed that others had seen the needs and responded. What a joy to be used in this way! We had enough money to keep the babies supplied for many months and now the real work began!

   Be ready for the posts on a "Typical Day" and "The Nurses"...

Monday, April 1, 2013


   Dear Friends,

   Please pray for Alina, my friend that the ministry pays to work with the babies and distribute the supplies. She works in the Premature Ward and has had the care of one special 3 month old baby for the past several weeks. The doctors examined this little one and the diagnosis was poor.

   Last week, Alina was told the baby only had a few months to live due to, as Alina put it "his muscles were all dead". Not exactly sure what the clinical diagnosis was. If you have never seen a baby dying or had one die you cannot imagine the suffering that goes on in your heart and mind! From my own experience it is something you never can leave behind.

   Today, Alina went to work and found out that the baby had passed away in the night. God has been gracious to this little one to alleviate his suffering, but it is very hard for Alina right now. Please join me in praying for her right now and if you have something special to say to her feel free to leave a comment.