Another baby

The woman stopped Peregrine in the alleyway.

“Save my daughter! Please, someone has to save my daughter!”

Her daughter, a good friend of Peregrine’s, had gone into labor that day. They had tried four different hospitals and been turned away from each one, either because of overcrowding or COVID fears or just excuses. Their fifth try was a private hospital, and there the doctor said her bones were misaligned so there was no room to pass the baby. An emergency C-section was necessary.

And he was not going to perform it until he got 20,000 rupees.

The expectant mother’s own mother pleaded with Peregrine to help. She called me and I said I had the bulk of it in our room. I gave it Peregrine, she gave it to the mother, and the mother rushed to the hospital.

Two hours later, the daughter (the new mother) sent pictures of a beautiful baby boy. Nearly nine pounds, and he looked so healthy! We were overjoyed.

The next day we got new news. The baby was dead. The doctor said he had swallowed too much meconium before delivery.

It was the third person in our lives to have their baby die on delivery in the last two months.

Six years ago was the first time we experienced one of our neighbors losing a baby. It devastated me. I read now the raw emotion of that moment, and memories flood back.

The same thoughts come now as well, the same disappointments, the same struggles. But not the same emotions. The turmoil I felt after that baby’s death was the accumulated pain of five deaths over less than a year, each one adding to the pain of the one before, each one cracking me more and more, the last one being a baby just making it that much worse.

Now, after another six years of the same drumbeat, I think the same things but can’t feel the same feelings. The emotional me is spent. Just before these three babies there had been three other premature deaths in our lives, and as many from our teammates’ circles.

I feel that I feel less very time. It just is.

2 thoughts on “Another baby

  1. ostomacadel

    I identify with the emotional exhaustion of being witness to and personally involved in so many premature deaths. And then there’s the exhaustion of ongoing involvement in the lives of those who lurch from crisis to crisis as long as life persists. It in no way means that you care any less, just that the capacity for emotions has been expended.
    Several times I’ve heard Westerners comment on how majority world people manage to soldier on after the death of a child – they think it means those people love their children less than we do. So far from the truth. Your story is a disturbing personal explanation of what happens when life has already dealt so much of death, that tears and emotional responses wane.
    May Jesus, who is the Life, soothe your soul and water your internal dry land.


  2. Lauren Daehnke

    That story is so heartbreaking. I am so sorry for all the sadness you have experienced. There is nothing worse than losing a child. For yourself, focus on all the good you have done and all the lives you have changed for the better.All those people who have had positive experiences through your teaching, counseling and all the other help you and Peregrine have given wouldn’t have had that if you hadn’t been there.


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