Day 2 with the babies was a blazing success.
I woke up and hit snooze about a million times then recieved a call at 7:40 am from Amanda asking me if I wanted to go shopping with her and one of the nannies. She then apologized for calling so early. She had been awake since 4am. Maybe I don't want one of these babies so soon after all. haha.
I hurried on over to the hospital and guided them to the best supermarket in town. (love you, Carrefour!) There I got to witness what it takes to feed and care for 5 adults and 4 babies for 2 weeks. They bought 8 cases of baby food, 12 bananas, oatmeal, shredded meat, cheerios (not legit cheerios :( ), juice, meat stick things, yogurt, 6 packages of baby wipes, peach slices, chocolate, sanitizer, instant noodles, and a kettle to boil the hospital's mineral water. I had gone to the store with them thinking I would pay for their things, but quickly realized I couldn't afford it. So I bought them all McDonalds for lunch.
We headed back to the hospital where a news crew was waiting for Amanda. She conducted the interview in Chin.ese and I got to talk to the nannies while she was busy. They are so interesting and I am really glad to practice my Chin.ese with them. I think I talked more Chin.ese today than I have in a lonnnnngggg time. They are such cool people. And through those conversations I learned the words for "burp", "scab", and "comfort".
Baby Harrison came out of surgery first and the prognosis was not good. Apparently there are 10 kinds of heart problems a baby can have and he has 2, which is bad. He cried and cried and I had to help hang up the IV bag above his bed because I am way taller then the nannies. I don't like touching that kind of stuff, but it had to be done. It was scary because the heart monitor kept beeping like crazy because his heart rate would sky rocket to the 190's then come back down. Poor baby.
Dr. Xu came to visit and wanted to take me and Amanda to see baby Jessica (referred to as "little Jessica" by Dr. Xu, haha) in the ICU. I didn't really want to go because hospitals/blood/anything in that area freaks me out but I thought I couldn't pass up the opportunity. I think my blood pressure was higher than any kid in there!
We donned the plastic shoe covers and the robes and then headed in to the packed room. There was only one bed available out of 20. Sweet baby Jessica was knocked out and recieving blood and plasma transfusions. All the babies in the room were heart patients. Needless to say, it was heart breaking. The families were all packed into the hallway waiting for news, meanwhile Amanda's babies have no family. She and the nannies are their family until they are given permanent homes.
Little Jessica's recovery will be about a week they said. I was happy to be there because my other good Chin.ese friend, Christina is the head nurse of the ICU. I loved seeing her in her element. She is so good at what she does. Her ability to keep a level head and run the unit was amazing to witness. I would break down surrounded by that much pressure of 20 little hearts under my control. But she does it with grace and care.
Amanda and I went back to the room where we just hung out the rest of the afternoon. I held baby Matilda and the nannies took turns caring for baby Harrison. Baby Thomas was in surgery all afternoon. This evening they were having a meeting about what is next in the treatment for Harrison and Thomas. Apparently, it's not good. But Amanda believes in the expertise of the head heart surgeon (my friend), Dr. Li. He is one of the top heart surgeons in Ch.ina. I'm so honored to be surrounded by such talented people.
I have a list of things to take into the hospital tomorrow. I am making mashed potatoes tonight for the babies, books for Amanda, my laptop since I have a VPN and Amanda can't access her gmail account now that Google has pulled out of Chi.na, and I am going to Papa Johns to get a pizza for them for lunch since they do not have one in Xian where they live. (I for the record, have never been to one in Chin.a-it's really expensive, but when I told her there was one here she got really excited so I put it on the menu for tomorrow).
I am completely floored how in my Chin.a life there has been the presence of orphans since the month I moved here. I have done nothing to deserve these opportunities and I do nothing helpful except hang out and buy things for people. Today Amanda asked me to come back tomorrow because I, "make her life more interesting." She needs companionship from someone with the same ideals, language, and experiences living as a foreinger in this nutso place. I am happy and thankful to be that person for a few weeks.
We were in a taxi and I was explaining how Florida is, "oranges, old people, and Disney World" and she was telling me about South Africa, though she has not been back since 2001. I loved that moment of sharing. Those are the moments that keep me here and remind me that there is something to be learned here that I cannot learn in the states, at a university, or in a book. I feel like this week is a timely gift. I needed reminders of how great it is to be here. I think I had forgotten in the past few months. The babies always give me focus and remind me not to be so selfish when I dream of home. There is work to be done. There are heart surgeries to fundraise. There are nannies to feed. There are people who run foster homes to encourage.
Here are some photos from the day:
Me and Dr. Xu with baby Jessica in the ICU:
Me and Amanda ready for the ICU in our sexy get-ups:
Matilda loves to talk on the phone, this kept her entertained for a good 20 minutes!:
Baby Jessica in the ICU:
What I hope my family portrait looks like one day (jk, maybe). Head nurse Holly, me and baby Matilda, and Dr. Xu:
Head nurse Holly with baby Harrison right out of surgery:
"Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven."
-Henry Ward Beecher
I have never asked for anything greater than this: please remember the babies while they are recovering, and the nannies and Amanda as they work tirelessly in uncomfortable circumstances (sharing 3 beds amongst 4 babies and 5 adults) to bring care to the orphans.
Walk slow. xoxo.