I spent my day caring for 29 babies in the NICU. It was interesting learning how to care for such tiny babies. I got to feed them and hold a few. We feed them formula in a cup every three hours. Some of the mothers come in and breastfeed but many of the babies are too weak to feed naturally. I also learned that baby boys can lactate. I saw a nurse actually removing “milk” from one of the boys. I was somewhat horrified at first, but the doctor said it’s from the mother’s hormones and it stops after the first two days or so. The babies share incubators and heat lamps that were mostly donated from the US. The babies in the incubators are so tiny. I knew babies could be that small, but I have never seen or held a baby that only weighs 2.2 pounds.
One little boy is completely healthy, but his mother doesn’t want him. She told the nurses to call a social worker. I know I haven’t walked a mile in this mother’s shoes, but I don’t know how you look at your baby and decided you don’t want it. I held him most of the day. He is starved for human contact and love. The nurses and doctors are severally over worked, so the babies are only held or touched if they are being fed or checked. Most of the time the mother’s have to work or care for their other children – leaving the NICU babies in the care of the nurses.
Side note – as I write this I have just gotten out of the “shower” and by shower I mean a bucket of water filled by opening 500mL pouches of water. The running water here has been cut off. We are not sure when it will return or if it will return and the house’s personal tank is empty. Please, pray that the water returns quickly. I can easily live with out electricity here, but running water is a different thing. Mostly we need to be able to flush the toilets.