How true these words became to my heart and soul during my recent trip to Haiti. I had my trip all planned out for April 15 - 26. I knew what I was going to do, where I was going to go, and what I was going to accomplish. And guess what? God had other plans.
When I called Steeve for our daily afternoon "Bonjou. Bonswa. Orevwa!" phone call (thanks, AT&T for raising your rates. Not!), he told me that Manoucheka had been admitted to a local hospital with symptoms of pre-eclampsia. In addition to my concerns for her and the baby, I have to admit I also thought, "Oh! I'll get to meet that sweet baby while I'm there!" Little did I know that That Sweet Baby would become the focus of the entire trip.
Tuesday Manoucheka was transported by ambulance to Zanmi Lasante in Mirebalais. That is a story in itself, and a part of the larger picture that God painted through this entire experience. God was in control of every detail of Caleb's arrival.
Wednesday I arrived at the airport in PAP, and soon after Wesly accompanied me north to Mirebalais where Steeve and Manoucheka were. Steeve and I were thrilled to see each other after 48 hours of worried phone calls. We snapped this photo with my phone, and I've since told Steeve this is The Photo we need to remember when we're having a disagreement in the future. We were so happy to see each other.
Thursday a group of us headed back to PAP. The doctor assured us Manoucheka was not going into labor any time soon. They were just keeping her to monitor her blood pressure; however, by Friday afternoon, it was evident they had done something because after Manoucheka received a medication, active labor began.
We went back to Mirebalais Friday evening and found Manoucheka in the throws of hard labor. It was hard to watch and hear. She was in so much pain, and it is nothing like it is here in the States. Let's start with the fact that there is no air conditioning and there is no privacy as the patient beds are one right after another. Being there with her made me realize that no matter how intense labor is in the United States, we have NO IDEA how good we have it. NO IDEA.
Manoucheka labored well into the night, and about 2 a.m. she was taken in for a c-section. About 2:30 a.m. Caleb Steven Derard made his grand entrance into the world. Steeve and I were able to see him and Manoucheka just minutes later. My first thought upon seeing him? "He's huge!" And he was. We are told Caleb weighed about 11 lb. at birth.
Caleb's birth was rather dramatic, and the next morning I listened to "Be Still" over and over and over. It was as if God was reminding me of what was important. And there was that word "faithful" again. He is faithful. Always.
Caleb and Manoucheka came home on April 20, one week after their ordeal began. But they weren't home long before we began to realize Caleb was going to have a few challenges. First, Manoucheka noticed that Caleb's foot was turned. Then, I noticed that Caleb wasn't exhibiting normal newborn reflexes. That Wednesday, April 22, God sent us to just the right pediatrian, Dr. Nathalie Theard, in Petionville. She had referrals for Caleb's foot, and she also asked me to text her over the coming days regarding his reflexes. She is an amazingly caring physician.
By Friday, April 24, we had many questions about Caleb's health, and not many answers as of yet. Steeve, Manoucheka, Caleb, and I drove around the PAP area trying to find an orthopedist based on Dr. Nathalie's referral. And, I just got completely overwhelmed. Completely. Like crying overwhelmed. Like "Steeve, you just have to pray before I can even drive this car" overwhelmed.
Rick, Jared and Ethan were headed to PAP via Atlanta, and I messaged Rick and told him I just didn't think I could return to the States on Sunday, as planned. I asked him to see if we could change my flight.
That is a story in itself, but to make it short, it comes down to these facts: 1) Delta changed my ticket at absolutely no cost to us at all, 2) the only date Delta could change that ticket to was the very date I told Rick was my absolute "I must be home by then" date, and 3) God knew that I needed to stay 8 more days . . . Not just to help Steeve and Manoucheka, but for me to learn more about the character and the provision of MY God.
There are still some questions about Caleb's health, but he's under the care of Healing Hands for his orthopedic issues. The newborn reflexes are now being displayed, though not as strongly or as consistently as we would want if everything were "perfect."
But this is what I know.
In the end, staying until May 4 allowed us at Haiti Awake to do the "big thing" I had thought would be the focus of my trip - moving Federick's children into their new home. I love those 17 children that live under Federick's care.
However, what I learned on this trip is that there are many children in Haiti, there are many needs in Haiti, but one little guy most definitely has my heart.
And his name is Caleb Steven Derard.