In the month of July Joyful Motherhood enrolled 8 babies (5 orphans and one set of triplets) and 3 women (1 severe anemia, 2 peritonitis). Nurses made 167 visits to women and babies total. There were two deaths this month, Jonathan died at 4days of age due to a respiratory illness and Loveness died at 11months. Loveness experienced severe oxygen deprivation during delivery and throughout her short life she struggled to feed orally, her growth was poor, and she did not meet developmental milestones. Loveness was tenderly cared for by her family at home with the support of JM though she had multiple hospital stays during her life. She died during a hospital readmission from a respiratory illness. Fourteen healthy babies and 5 women were discharged from the program.
Baby Admission Story
When 25-year-old Dalitso realized that she was pregnant for the second time she allowed hope to replace all lingering grief and fear. Dalitso’s mother, however, watched her daughter’s belly grow with increasing anxiety. Dalitso had extremely high blood pressure during her first pregnancy and had delivered by c-section. For reasons that remain unclear, her firstborn died within hours. As the months progress in her second pregnancy, Dalitso’s blood pressure again began to climb and eventually she was referred for an urgent c-section several weeks prior to her due date. On June 4th she had a c-section at a private hospital, where her family believed she would receive the best care. On the 6th she returned home with a healthy baby. At her postpartum visit on the 13th, nurses noted that her blood pressure remained high. She was given medications, instructions on how to take them, and went home to convalesce. Dalisto returned for a second postpartum visit to the clinic on the 6th of July. By then she was in critical condition and was promptly referred to the reginal hospital where she was admitted to the ICU. Dalitso died on the 19th of July. Hospital staff referred her family to Joyful Motherhood to receive support for her baby, Divine.
Mother Admission Story
At 18, Mitiuzanji was newly married and felt ready to start her family. She attended prenatal visits at a rural hospital several kilometers from her home and knew she would be safer laboring in the hospital rather than at home. When her contractions started she went to the hospital, but her labor progressed slowly. After more then 24hrs with strong contractions she received a c-section. At some point during her labor and her perfect baby died and so instead of hearing cries of a vigorous newborn, the theater was silent as clinicians lifted a beautiful stillborn from her body. Mitiuzanji returned home after three days with nothing but grief to hold and nurse. At home, instead of improving her pain worsened and within a week her belly swelled again as though carrying another baby. She returned to the hospital was sent to the regional referral hospital in critical condition. During an exploratory laparotomy there, the attending clinician noted that her uterus so was severely infected that it needed to be removed in order to save her life. Eighteen-year-old Mitiuzanji underwent a total hysterectomy. Joyful Motherhood nurses met her in the hospital and offered their services. Her health was stable when enrolled, but she is acutely aware that life is forever changed. Her husband left her and her depression is deep. There are wounds that will never heal, but the nurses will follow her, monitor her health, and help her, her family, and community find another way forward over time.