It comes in spurts, but sometimes it seems like we have no lack of premature babies in our hospital. Oftentimes they are with us only a few days teetering between this world and the next. Other times these little kiddos stay for weeks on end until their mothers despair of their ever being able to go home. Sometimes we have to double and triple bunk them in incubators.
As best as we can piece together the story, Enok was born as the sixth child into a very poor tribal family in the Hill Tracts. His mother was not well during her pregnancy, Enok was delivered prematurely, and his mother died three days later. Unsure of what to do with his small tribe of motherless children, Enok’s father did the only thing he knew to do… give away his two youngest to an orphanage. By God’s providence, they were accepted into a Korean-run, Christian orphanage just outside of Chittagong. The orphanage sought medical care for Enok at several medical facilities in the city before pleading with us to take him. When incubator space became available, he was transferred to us.
I have to say it was very hard not to fall in love with him. He is so cute. Unlike most of our sleepy preemie babies, Enok was quite alert. He would peer back at you through the glass of the incubator box. He had a nice shock of whispy hair that just stood straight up.
So we were all a little sad when three days into his admission at MCH, we had to call the orphanage and tell them that Enok had a very serious complication requiring a pediatric surgeon [something we did not have]. A transfer was arranged and this time Enok got into a private hospital in Chittagong. Nearly a week later the orphanage was again begging us to please take Enok back. Even if we could not give the surgical treatment, they still wanted him to come back to our hospital.
We agreed, and in God’s perfect timing, our full time surgeon was back in Bangladesh for some special meetings related to the hospital renewal project. He graciously agreed to take time from his busy schedule to do the necessary procedure on Enok.
The long and short of it was that Enok had developed a pneumothorax (collapsed lung) with a pneumatocele. By surgically inserting a special tube into his chest, that lung could re-inflate itself over a few days’ time. Bear in mind that by this time Enok weighed a hair over 3 pounds… and part of that 3 pounds included a bulky bandage on his chest.
Enok did splendidly. His lung re-inflated itself. His hospital stay was not without some ups and downs but after a few weeks we begrudgingly had to let him be discharged. In fact, if we didn’t let him leave, he was going to eat us out of our supply of formula. He had a voracious appetite! When we finally exchanged the dropper feedings for a bottle, we sort of got the feeling he was glaring at us, asking the question “Hey, guys! What took you so long? I’m starving!!!”
It was a happy and a sad day to see him go. I am thankful that Enok is going to live in a place with several dozen brothers and sisters who will help look after him. We pray that Enok will thrive physically and spiritually. We surmised that Enok had been named for the man Enoch, mentioned in Genesis. Enoch was a man who walked with God. We pray that this little tyke will grow up to live like his namesake!