12th May 2018. Time check: 3:30am. Another night duty! I pitched my eyes across the expanse of the room with very sleepy eyes, after penning down IV Vitamin K 1mg stat, on the drug sheet of the fresh baby I had examined.
“Give 192 mls of 10% plain dextrose in a fifth of Normal Saline and monitor the respiratory rate of the baby.” The ecstasy I felt after winding up the yellow folder in the palms of the nurse, could not be compared to the fufu I had taken in the afternoon; which still sauntered on my taste buds and tonsils with jest.
I moved towards the exit… then I saw it! A baby wrapped in a cot sheet, being humped into the emergency workplace. This zapped me back in; with the intention of seeing to an early discharge.
The night had been a busy night. Everyone was tired! Working for 7 hours straight! non stop Our cortices had been denied the opportunity of spatially recognizing the chairs in the room. We had seen a triad of twins, sixplets? preterm babies and babies in respiratory distress. The place was so full that it emptied the little space remaining. The coolers had been conditioned to malfunction for just a day; so the place was as recalescent as a microwave.
“Place the baby on the working table” I said, reaching for the glucometer. Then I saw it – this baby was pink! I had to hide my palms momentarily not to display my own pallor. I checked the airway – which was as patent as the entrance to the emergency room. Baby was breathing unconstrained, with good inspiratory and expiratory effort. His chest moved with oscillatory pirouette; dancing to the harmony of a regular rhythm. I had never heard a chest as crystal clear as his; envisaging how perfect his lungs were, with a scapel blade in my hands.
His heart lubbed and dubbed- doubling every time the second hand nodded. Stunningly, my stethoscope refined its colour, just to match his pink body. It divulged its attachment to the preemie; pledging its allegiance.
The glucometer, after having a taste of his blood, followed his 2 second heart beat and embossed 5.1 with a huge smile. At a very low birth weight of 1.28kg, he looked active; consciously moving his limbs with a normal activity. The newborn reflexes, which signified his bond to infancy were present, except that for suckling – bespeaking his need for maternal attachment.
Carrying the baby was a nurse in scrubs, in the accompaniment of a tall dark man I presumed to be the father of the baby. To my surprise, the man turned out to be the ambulance driver.
After my initial assessment, the only problem I identified was the weight of the baby: 1.28kg. From head to toe, the baby was just fine.
“This baby was found in a dustbin” The nurse said. The little dopamine I had left animated my mood, when the pen had thought of falling from my hands.
The baby’s mother was alleged to have dropped the baby in the dustbin; stationed in one of the washrooms found in the hospital. After the incident, she came to lie on the bed unflurried and unruffled– like nothing had happened.
The reporting nurse discovered the baby when she visited the washroom some minutes afterwards, where she detected the baby; by the tenor of his cry. She immediately washed the baby and rushed the baby to our location, while the mother was sent to the police station for questioning.
The baby was admitted, started on intravenous fluids and antibiotics. The antibiotics were given because it was presumed the environment he found himself, after birth was septic.
But then, he was the cutest thing I had seen in a while. The specialist during ward rounds, even had the intendment of adopting the baby.
Then the fortunate happened…
His mother appeared at the hospital the next day in tears. Just in the nick of time.
Apparently, she had experienced her ‘menses’ a month ago. The subtle complaints of intermittent abdominal pain brought her feet to the hospital. Little did she know she was 7 months pregnant.
This story did not make sense. Therefore I probed further. She was a 24 year old high school graduate, who had 2 children already, with a man with whom she was cohabiting.
She left her country of origin with the hope of landing and securing a job in Ghana; with the little education she had. Little did she know all her knots were tied.
She earned 5 cedis everyday which could not cater for her in-and out fare, to the workplace. I would draw your attention to the fact that she needed breakfast, lunch and supper.
Then, she met her savior who savored her exuberance by admitting her to a brothel. Her escapades at the brothel would not be narrated today.
Back at the hospital. The baby popped out into the water closet as she emptied her bowels. She assumed the baby was dead, judging from its size and dumped the baby into the bin.
She tried to draw the attention of the nurse who was deeply rooted in the dial of her phone, but she was dismissed with a wave of the hand. Lying on her bed, she waited for the nurse who was duty comatose but then…she slept!
She lurched into awareness when she noticed two men standing close to the bed in police apparel. She was sent to the station for questioning, as her baby was brought to our unit for assessment.
The next day, the 24 year old woman felt remorse for what she had done, after being extricated from the arms of the law.
It was a sight to behold, just to see such a tiny baby in between the breasts of his mother for warmth.
Time check : 6:06pm