Kisakya Mukama (God’s Grace)

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“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27

Happy new year! Thank you for all your prayers and support in 2016. The year ended with a busy period but I was able to get away and enjoy a welcome few days of rest and recovery over new year.

God’s Grace

As we came to the end of 2016 a few of the nurses and I were reflecting on some of the joys and sadness we had had on NICU over the year. On boxing day we lost one of our previously tiny babies who had been with us 6 weeks. She was due to go home the next day, but choked on a feed at night. We had lived with the mum through ups and downs and were all devastated. The same week we waved goodbye to baby Joshua who born weighing 860g and went home 50 days later weighing a much healthier 1.5kg.

There is one story I want to share with you from December that has been an encouragement to us and I hope will be to you too. Baby Nazziwa came to us on day 2 of life with breathing problems. There was no air getting into the right side of his chest so we did an xray. That showed that his liver was in his chest, reaching all the way to his arm pit and squashing his lung almost completely and pushing his heart over so his left lung was squashed too. This is called a congenital diaphragmatic hernia and if you say those words to a baby doctor they tend to get nervous! These babies in the UK will have at least one consultant at the delivery, need immediate interventions and high tech equipment and even then many die. Having a right sided hernia with the liver involved is especially bad. Despite all that this little one was managing to breathe, even if a bit fast, and was breastfeeding. We were amazed. Miracle 1 was that despite having almost no functioning lung he was alive and had made it to Kiwoko.

We sent him to see a specialist in Kampala who was willing to operate on him. Given that this was 6 days before Christmas and that getting to see a specialist is hit and miss at the best of times this was miracle number 2.

Then there was the issue of money. The surgeon would only operate in the international hospital since he felt the baby’s chances of surviving in the government hospital were zilch. The international hospital (IHK) wanted 5 million shillings (£1000) in cash as a deposit before admitting him and despite phone calls and pleadings from me they would not budge. They are not used to having people from the village there!! So miracle 3 was that a very persistent and caring nurse who had accompanied the baby and his mum refused to leave and eventually the intensive care doctor saw the baby and overruled the finance people on clinical grounds. Here it got a little scary. The doctor phoned me and said he would admit the baby if I would guarantee the fees would be paid. The total cost was going to be at least £2500 but possibly much more. I felt that God was asking us to trust him. He had already accomplished the impossible so would we trust him to provide the money? A charity I have links with said they would consider his case if he survived, but we would be left with the bill if he didn’t. Did we believe that God was sovereign? Would we trust our Heavenly Father to provide our daily bread regardless of whether the charity paid up or not? We went ahead and guaranteed the money would come, trusting that God was in control. I wish I could say that trust never wavered on my part! There were moments of anxiety, especially as the bill started climbing, but my nursing colleagues’ faith was strong and they kept reminding me that God would provide.

Baby Nazziwa had successful surgery on the 22nd of December and was put on a breathing machine.  The question now was would his lungs re-expand? Would he be able to come off the machine and breathe alone? Would he get any other complications? Waiting was hard. I would much rather be in the middle of things than watching from a distance! 5 days after the operation he came off the breathing machine, and 2 days later we brought him back to Kiwoko. Miracle number 4.

Miracle 5 was that we had found a friendly person in finance who allowed the baby to leave IHK based on receipts of money transferred, even though it had not yet arrived in their account. 4 public holidays were not helping us get the money to them. The total cost came to 18 million shillings (£4200). The dad was telling me how that was more money than he has earned in his entire working life. I chose not to point out that it’s also a significant chunk of my annual budget and I would be living off posho and beans for a year if the charity failed to pay up!! Instead we talked of God’s provision and care.

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On returning to Kiwoko the baby continued to do very well. He came off oxygen, was feeding and growing and he went home last week.
He has been named Kisakya Mukama which means
God’s grace.

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The same day the charity confirmed that they would pay the money in full. The charity is a UK based Christian charity set up to help children whose families can’t afford to pay for their treatment. It is called Willing and Abel.  See http://www.willingandabel.org.uk for more info on their great work.
This has been one of the highlights of my year. So many parts of this story were out of our control and relied on God doing the impossible. We felt God ask us to step out of the boat and trust him in this relatively small way, and when we did he let us be a part of this story. Our faith has increased as we have seen God come through, and his name is being glorified as these parents share the story in their village.

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