It has taken me so long to get my thoughts on paper. The last 5 months have been the most difficult, heart breaking and busy months I’ve ever had in Haiti. We have had more sickness, more deaths, more trauma than I have ever experienced in my life. It wrecked me for a while and it wrecked our whole staff. The things that happened during these past five months have been difficult to digest, and even more difficult to write about. But after lots of prayer, encouragement and healing, I think it’s time to write again. Over the next few weeks I really want to share with you the grief, the tragedy and the joy that these last months have brought.
Beginning of June 2015
One of the girls on our American Staff called me some what frantic because she was not understanding a woman that was feverishly knocking on her gate. As she handed the phone to her, it was a Wednesday in the early afternoon. I could hardly understand her through her scattered thoughts and coded sentences. Finally, I heard a few things and left my office on Bellevue Mountain and began running….”Baby…”…..”in a hole.”…
I called out to Dan, who works with our construction crew, and asked him to come with me to drive down the mountain. My eyes stayed glued to my phone in case it rang again. I was so focused on my phone that as I felt the car stop I thought we were there and was about to run out. I looked up and realized we were stopping to pick up two of our teachers from Respire Haiti Christian School, Marie and Claude. They are an amazing and sweet couple that has been married for 8 years and fosters one of our 16-year-old students. Briefly saying hey, we continued driving as they hopped in the back seat and as my eyes stayed glued to the phone.
As we pulled up to the staff house, my heart began pounding and I jumped out of the car. I saw a woman a little bit frantic explaining again, that she heard a babies cry in a hole last night. “Last night!!!??” I felt like screaming at her, WHY DID YOU WAIT SO LONG TO CALL ME!? But instead, I took a breath and began jogging….this way?… I questioned, as she shook her head yes. I ran off in that direction. I arrived at a hole right off of our street. I turned again and she shook her head yes. As I slowly approached the hole, it was AT LEAST 18 feet down; I hesitantly glanced in it, but all I saw was a cardboard box. My heart dropped and I could feel my face flush. I shook my head thinking, if there IS anything in there, there is NO way it is alive.
I took a step back and saw that Marie and Claude had followed me and Dan was not too far behind. Claude immediately grabbed a stick. As he stuck a stick in the hole, he began trying to flip over the box. After a few attempts, he finally flipped it over. What I saw next is an image I will never be able to erase from my memory.
As the box flipped over, it was surreal. My eyes blurred as I saw a black trash bag and the tiniest arm sticking out of it. I could feel the vomit rising up in my throat. As I turned away, I couldn’t believe that someone would do this. It felt like time slowed- as I blinked back the tears. Not knowing what to do next, we all stood for a moment praying, crying and in shock.
After a few minutes of staring in the hole, Marie yelled, “Its breathing!!” My heart jumped as we all looked again. Dan yelled back, “No, it’s not breathing, that’s the light.” Again my heart sunk, as my hands shook. Then a minute later her husband Claude said, “Yes! Yes! I see it! It is breathing!” I squinted my eyes so tightly to concentrate trying HARD to see any movement. Nothing.
My mind raced about what to do next. Then, both Claude and Marie said it again emphatically. “L’ap Respire!” (in English “It’s breathing!”)
I squinted more and then I have no idea if I really saw a breath or just really wanted so badly to believe the baby was breathing. I yelled at Dan, “I think they are right! I think they are right!” I began to think about getting in the hole, I opened my mouth to yell “I’ll go down” and before I knew it Dan was down in there.
As he bent down, he pulled off the black bag to expose a baby white with blue lips- he removed another bag from the legs and lifted the baby up off of the ground. Right as he did this, he heard and we saw her GASP for air. As he lifted the baby over his head, I yelled at Marie to sit on my legs so I could bend down into the hole to grab the baby. As I leaned over the edge and the top half of my body completely lowered into the hole. I reached as far as I could and divinely in this 18 foot hole we reached each other. I grabbed the baby and swung myself up. Standing carefully, I began to quickly run-walk down the road. As I yelled for help, not a soul was in the road, this NEVER happens…there are ALWAYS people on our street…my heart was beating so fast and I was breathing hard holding this precious baby so close to death. I turned to look behind me and no one was there, not Claude, Marie or Dan. (I found out later they were trying to get Dan out of the hole).
As I looked down at my hands, they were covered in blood (I know Zack <my brother>, I should have had gloves on, but we were not expecting this.) and I wondered why the baby was so heavy. As I felt something hitting the front of my shirt as I walked, I realized that there was a cord attached. Also rolled up in the shirt was something that looked like a heart. As I put two and two together, I realized that this baby’s placenta and cord were still attached and had hardened. I quickened my pace as I yelled at the staff house to come help.
The baby wasn’t wrapped up well but instead was just sort of stuffed in a shirt and trash bag. Juggling the baby, the placenta and the cord I finally made it to the Staff House. Even though it was only two blocks away it felt like an eternity and the whole time I was yelling out-loud for this precious soul to not die (and I’m sure a few other choice words). Beth, one of our nurses, showed up minutes later as well as another one of our nurses Junie, and calm as cucumbers they began doing their thing cutting the umbilical cord and cleaning her/ checking vitals. As the baby’s temperature was only 93 degrees, Beth immediately grabbed her when they were done and put her in her shirt to warm her up. Her sweet swollen face and white hands were tell-tale of this….14 hours in a hole.
Within minutes Marie and Claude brought me aside and said with full confidence, “Megan, she is our baby, we know it.” I looked up at both of them and could feel the Holy Spirit moving. They KNEW it was not by accident that we picked them up in our car on the way to rescue this baby, they KNEW that God had planned this out. This sweet couple has been trying to have children for years. They are the most loving, caring and gentle couple. They love the Lord and have been trusting Him to add to their family.
I’ve played this scenario over in my head a hundred times- seeing Claude flip the box over, seeing no movement, no breath or sound, hearing Marie’s sweet voice asking God repeatedly, “Why didn’t they just give me the baby.”, while we were trying to get her out of the hole. I’m obviously no doctor, nor can I make sense of why this happened but I believe in a God who performs miracles because of our and through our Faith. And I believe because of Marie and her husband Claude’s FAITH that baby is alive today. I will never forget both of them crouched over the 18 foot hole praying loudly and repeatedly saying, “Respire, respire, respire.”.
I believe their faith rescued that sweet baby, the sweet baby that they have now named Faith and who they have adopted as their own.
Now, she is SO LOVED– not abandoned. After being in an 18 foot hole for more than half a day, she is alive and in a loving family.
What the enemy intended for evil God has redeemed for Good. Jesus was with her and this IS a miracle. In fact as my sweet daughter Jessi said, she never was alone, she never even touched the ground because Jesus was holding her.