Friday, 24 August 2012

For unto us a child is born

Three hours ago a little girl was born.

She weighed 1.7 kgs at birth.  A month premature, but we ever happy to welcome this child into the air-breathing world. 

She is Carla's child - and the last 48 hours were a kind of living hell for Carla and all who were helping her.

When Carla started to have labour pains she was taken to the government hospital where Carla had been registered for her delivery.  And where our staff and Carla's mother had taken her a number of times for her antenatal work.

But the doctors at Chhatrapati Shivaji Hospital in Kalwa refused to take her.  They said she was premature and they did not have an incubator.  That Carla is HIV positive played a big role.  They told her to go to the Civil Hospital - the other main government hospital in Thane.   In the middle of the night, Carla's helpers took her there - only to be told that she could not deliver there because all her papers were from the Shivaji hospital.

Carla's helpers were in a fix.  They then did what we do in India.  Went to a local politician.  Woke him up.  He came to the Shivaji hospital.  Shouted at the doctors.  Got her 'admitted.'  

But not quite.  The whole next day the hospital took revenge.  They lodged a 'complaint' against Carla.  Told her to produce the father of the child.  Carla's mother had come from Mumbai to help her in this. But the hospital authorities demanded that the father come. 

Utter madness.

In the middle of all of this our staff and Carla's helpers were trying to see that the child will be delivered.  Carla's labour pains were intermittent (mercifully).  Somehow she was finally admitted.  All of yesterday this raged.

In the middle of this episode - when two of our social workers were with the authorities - arguing Carla's case we got a call from an organisation who works to free underage girls from prostitution.  They needed a male witness from Maharashtra.  The police and female witness were ready for the raid to begin to free 2 girls.  Did we have anyone.  It was with a terrible sinking heart that I said we did not - as the very two who could have gone were fighting with the hospital authorities to get Carla properly admitted - and we just did not know how long it would take.  By God's grace the organisation were able to get someone else.  When it rains it pours.

This morning Carla finally gave birth.  At 5.30 AM.  A 'normal delivery.' The news of the little girl's birth is such a joy for us.  Its been a long, long haul for Carla. 

And for this little girl.  So many times this girl was so close to being aborted.  So many self-destructive thoughts have gone through Carla's mind.  So much rejection of mother and child from Carla's widowed mother and the few who are 'in the know' about Carla.

Will Carla decide to face the future with her little girl.  Or will she as she has said so far - give the child up for adoption and 'go back' to her home? 

Huge questions.  We have been through so much with Carla so far - and will deal with one day at a time.

Right now the baby is with Carla in the hospital.  Soon Carla and daughter will be discharged.  We expect that they will come back to the Jeevan Sahara Kendra Care Centre for at least a few days before the next steps are taken.  Pray for our nursing staff who are currently looking after a very sick HIV positive man whose fever is just not abating - possibly because of multi-drug resistant fever.

Since the child is premature we need to work hard to keep her alive.  But we believe that this girl will thrive.  And it is our fervent hope that she will not have the HIV that her mother has.  We are giving the medication daily to the child - and had switched Carla to a second-line therapy because her initial medications were not working.

Do say a prayer for this little girl will you?  And for Carla.  And for all who are working to help her.  Thanks.

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