This I believe
Praying for milk for a baby
One evening as I walked the halls of the floor where I worked, I was paged to go to the nurses’ desk. When I arrived there, there were two young girls waiting for me. The secretary, with a disapproving tone in her voice, told me, “these two girls are here to see your patient in 48.” I looked at the clock that hung on the wall. It was near 2300. I told them that because of the advanced hour. I could only let them stay for a few minutes because my patient needed her rest. The patient they had come to see was a young lady who only spoke Spanish. She just had a baby a week before. She was admitted to the hospital because of very high blood pressure that developed post-partum. She had been forced to leave her baby in the hands of neighbors since she did not have any relatives in this country. Apparently, the father of the child had been abusive to her, and she had decided to raise the child alone. The apologetic voice of the young girls now facing me brought me back to them. Pleadingly, they asked that I give them a few minutes with my patient. They said they were there for a very important matter. I told them they could go talk to her for a few minutes. As soon as they walked toward my patient’s room, the secretary judgingly commented: “These people! They have no rules! No wonder they end up in the messes that they end up in! Look at the time for two young girls to be out.” I did not respond to anything. I was concerned by the distressed look on the young girls’ faces. I was hoping that whatever matter they needed to discuss with my patient would not disturb her.
The young girls came out of the room five minutes later, looking distraught and holding a small baby bottle with a white liquid in it. They asked if I knew how to get some baby formula for my patient’s baby. My patient had been depressed and failed to even try to pump some milk out of her breast as she had been instructed to do while away from her baby. I felt a sinking feeling in my stomach. I saw in my mind the week old little baby. I could almost hear his cry of hunger. I looked at the obviously distraught girls. My empty hands had nothing to offer that could be of any help. I approached the secretary and asked if there was any way we could help. She said, “No, the baby is not our patient.” I protested, but I was told again that the baby’s care was beyond our reach. I offered the girls the only thing that I had. I asked if I would offend them if I prayed for the situation. I did not know if they believed in God, if they believed as I did. I believe that there is a being somewhere that cares for us. Through the years I have learned that it does not matter what people call their God. God is God. Some think he was a prophet and call him Buddha, Mohamed, Jesus, or Jehovah. Some believe that his name should not be uttered or written, and therefore write his name G-d. I believe that there are many ways to what we call truth. At this moment, in this place, I just knew from my nursing experience that prayer was comforting to most people. So, I prayed. I said, “Dear God, here is this baby and this mother. We need some milk for this baby and we need it tonight! We do not care how you help us with this, but we need an answer tonight! We are thanking you in advance for the answer.” Meanwhile, I asked the girls to phone the pediatrician and ask if he could call in a baby’s formula prescription. The girls left, and I went back to talk to the mother; I tried to give her some emotional support by telling her we were trying to help her.
A few minutes later, her room call light came on. I went to see how could I help her. She was sitting up with the pump on her breast, pumping the large amount of milk coming out of her breast. I stood by her in awe. As I helped her transfer the milk to the plastic containers to save it, I recalled how heavy hearted I had walked away from those girls after my prayer. My mouth said the right words, but my spirit had doubts. I continued filling the small containers to send home to the baby. With a heart full of hope and thankfulness I walked away toward the refrigerator. I have learned that there is always hope. In our darkest moments, light always finds its way to us. I believe that just when I think my hands are empty and I think there is nothing I can offer somehow hope comes along to fill my hands.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.