I’m just kicked back on the bed playing with Cindy Lou and thanking God for saving this beautiful baby!
Cindy is almost five months old. She came to us as a struggling newborn who was thin and wheezy. Her mother abandoned her at birth, maybe because she was so obviously unhealthy. We don’t know anything about her mother and can only guess as to why she left her.
Cindy was placed with us at only a few days old and was almost immediately hospitalized for a few days. She was treated for pneumonia (which she didn’t have) and a lung infection (which she didn’t have). She constantly struggled to breathe and had a really hard time eating; she would choke and cough and wheeze and scare us to death!
We took her to an Ear, Nose, Throat Specialist in Eldoret and found out that her problem had absolutely nothing to do with her lungs. The problem is with her trachea. For some reason, it didn’t fully develop before she was born so was a bit soft instead of firm, like it’s supposed to be. Because of this, it would kind of collapse in on itself, blocking her air passage and making swallowing milk extremely difficult. The doctor told us to keep her propped up on pillows, in an inclined position and watch her closely. He basically said, “If you can keep her alive, the problem will eventually correct itself. She’ll grow out of it.”
We brought her home and instructed the aunties about her special care; keep her propped up on pillows, watch her closely, don’t let her cry for long, feed her slowly, etc. What I didn’t realize at the time was that Cindy was so weak that crying for food was just too much work. And drinking from her bottle absolutely wore her out, so she would just take a couple of ounces then act satisfied. She’s a finger sucker, so would find her fingers and go to sleep.
One day, I was working in my office when our social worker came in with Cindy. She said, “Mama Carla, some of the aunties are concerned about this baby because she doesn’t look good.” She opened up Cindy’s onsie and I was shocked at how thin she was! I said, “This baby is starving!” The social worker said, “No, Mama Carla. She eats until she’s satisfied. There must be something else wrong!”
This happened on a Friday. I decided to take care of her myself over the weekend, so I could take her to the doctor on Monday, and be able to give him a complete report on how much and how often she was eating, whether or not she would vomit it up, whether or not her bowel movements were normal, etc.
By that evening, I had figured out the problem! It was so much work for her to eat, that after about an ounce of milk, she was exhausted! Also, because of her trachea problem, she would swallow huge amounts of air while eating. Her tummy would blow up like a balloon until she would burp, then it would just deflate and she would drift off into an exhausted sleep. She had to be encouraged (forced) to take more than an ounce or two of milk at a time and the whole feeding process could take more than an hour. It was really touch and go for a while!
We moved her into our room, making her a bed in a laundry basket next to our bed. She constantly squeaked and wheezed. If I woke up in the night and couldn’t hear her, I would panic! I remember one evening, I was talking to my daughter on the phone and Cindy was lying on the bed next to me. Sarah said, “Is there a bird in your room?” It was Cindy squeaking!
Cindy has slowly but surely improved each day! She no longer has to be convinced to eat! She no longer struggles to breathe…just a slight squeak sometimes. She still has to burp like a sailor in order to deflate her stomach and sometimes forgets to let someone know when it’s time to eat, satisfying herself with her fingers instead. But she is so strong now! She has such a good appetite! She has a beautiful smile and loves to tell stories! Honestly, you would never know what a rough start she had! God has saved her and I know He has an awesome plan for her life!