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Archive for January, 2012

Photo by Kit Carson.

Her neighbors told her that she should leave her baby girl to die.

What was believed to be a severe reaction to a vaccine left her three-month-old child with little to no control of her extremities and frequent body tremors. Her firstborn could barely breast-feed and refused the inexpensive powder formula she had.

She prayed and prayed that God would send someone to correct her daughter’s physical problems, but no Cambodian doctor would commit to long-term oversight of her care. Ten months later, she had developed a system to slowly but surely breast-feed a child whose tongue seemed to have a mind of its own.

Photo by Courtney Cain.

Then a university student from America studying occupational therapy came to her home. The student was referred to her by her local pastor and a couple who operated an orphanage nearby. She started doing weekly exercises with her daughter to improve her mobility. Soon, she started to move her head from side to side and reach for her toys, something that was impossible before.

But that wasn’t enough. The Pediasure drink that she gave her was effective, but would cost three times the mother’s monthly pay. There were other hospitals she could go to, but the transportation and medical costs were too extensive.

A year later, she wasn’t producing enough milk for her baby and options were running out. She weighed less than a pound more than her birth weight. Thankfully one week, the couple said they were able to help arrange a hospital visit so she could have some long-term care. But with such corrupt practices in Cambodia, quality care was a long shot.

Photo by Kit Carson.

When the couple left that night, they paused outside. After a few minutes, they came back into the house because they said they had an urge to pray for her daughter again. The next morning, the baby woke up, saw the powder formula and reached for it, craving it and crying all at once. For the first time in her short yet painstaking life, she was drinking regularly. It was a miracle!

The hospital visit was arranged and the doctors were able to provide a specialized nipple that would be easier for her to feed from. They educated the mother on how to better care for her child. Doctors told her she will never fully recover from what the vaccine did, but she was on her way to living a functional, healthy life.

Photo by Laura Kebede.

Seven months later, she went from 2 lbs to 15 lbs and could focus her eyes on her mother, reach for her when she needed help and was much more aware of her surroundings. One mother’s faith and some help from a few people made the difference between life and death for one baby girl.

Follow the original story:

1. “The Baby”

2. “A Small Plea for Martha”

3. “An update about Martha”

4. “Praise to God for Martha’s recovery”

5. “So far in 2012”

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