I saw Anicette and her mom on Friday. I walked past the sign on the infant feeding room, a poster that has a picture of Anicette smiling and fat on it taken right before her surgery last November. My heart jumped as I saw her mama, but so quickly that feeling turned to sickness when my eyes caught sight of Anicette. 4.2 kg at 14 months. She was the most malnourished child I have ever seen, that I have ever touched. Her smile was gone, her eyes didn't shine the way I remembered. Her cry made me nauseous. It was clear she was near death, and we all felt the pain of the situation.
All the nurses who knew her could hardly believe what we were seeing.
We suspected last year that she had some sort of metabolic disorder. We knew she wasn't absorbing nutrients, not gaining weight despite regular feedings. Whatever the case, it doesn't seem important now as I think of her story.
Anicette died yesterday. She was on our little A ward, surrounded by a ship with people who loved her. Her mama I'm sure wept in the arms of my friends who are carrying a burden too heavy to describe. I got the news from Ali who knew I should hear about the details while I am traveling this week.
Its so surreal, too much to understand right now. In these cases you have to switch from extreme joy, pure hope, to death. Its not something I will ever get used to, I pray I never do.
My mind keeps wandering to Ani and her mama. I know in the deepest corner of my heart that she is with Jesus, restored to perfection, crowned with beauty, and peacefully laying in His arms. She doesn't know hunger anymore, she will never again feel the sting of pain.
For us though, for us its hard.
Please pray for her mama. She is 4 months pregnant and we learned she lost another baby before Anicette who also 'couldn't eat'.
I read through some of my blogs about Anicette as I reflected on how such a tiny baby can impact my life in such astounding ways. This pretty much sums it up:
"She cooed and smiled, giggling as I kissed her belly and her cheeks over and over. That baby is seriously the most amazing gift of joy I have ever been given. She has been my comfort on so many days this year. She is one of the most beautiful children of Jesus I have ever seen and I love her with everything in me. My chicken little." Dec 4, 2009
Her full story is here.