Still Stretching: Francisca’s Baby – Part 1

The last 5 days have been quite an adventure, and God continues to stretch me. But I’m becoming more okay with all the stretching because, even though it is uncomfortable, it is a stretching of my heart that is only making more room for Jesus and space for others to enter. My family has jokingly called me “Stone Heart” for years, because, as some of you know all too well, sometimes I’m not the most sensitive of people. The other day I was joking with Erik about it and he said, “do you really identify with that name? Maybe you should pray about that.” I hate when he says that…”maybe you should pray about that.” Well, I have taken it to prayer a little, but honestly, mostly I just asked the Lord to reveal His truth in my heart and to help me to love as He loves. I often pray for God to break my heart for what breaks His and to give me His eyes to see, His ears to hear and His Heart to love the people with because I know that my ability to love is so inadequate. So I know this stretching is all coming as an answer to these prayers.

Last Friday evening we had a knock at the door around 8:30pm. It was Chemo’s sister. She had all 4 of Francisca and Chemo’s kids with her, and she said Francisca had already had the baby…7 weeks early. It was a boy and everything was good as far as she knew. Francisca was waiting for us to come see her. It was already late, and the hospital was an hour away so we decided to try to go as soon as we could on Saturday, not knowing anything about the hospitals visiting hours or rules. Erik and I were supposed to be giving a marriage prep talk to a couple from one of our ranchos in the morning, but it ended up not happening, so after lunch the Schumanns and our family loaded into the 15 passenger and headed to Saltillo, hoping that the kids would take their naps on the road. We had a few other errands to run and ended up arriving at the hospital right at 5. Chemo was sitting outside so we asked him how Francisca and the baby were, but all he could tell us was that the baby was bad.


Natalia and I went in to check out the situation. We entered the waiting room that was packed with people, and got in the end of the line of people who all seemed to be pushing their way into the hospital to visit their family members and friends. Natalia said it felt like we were in a DMV instead of a hospital! It was all a bit overwhelming, but the lady in front of us in line was really nice and assured us we were in the right spot. I noticed a sign on the wall with rules and visiting hours. There were only 2 hours a day that people could enter…10-11am and 5-6pm. Praise the Lord, we came right at the right time! I also noticed that it said no shorts allowed and I was wearing shorts (it was over 90 degrees outside!), but they came all the way to the knee, so I prayed that they wouldn’t give me any trouble.

The line to get into the hospital to visit moved pretty quickly, and we finally got to the “check point” where they told us where to go when someone stopped me and said, “you can’t go in…you have shorts on.” I of course pointed out that they at least were long shorts…”look, all the way to the knee”…and then started pointing a finger at the dude down the hall wearing shorts…”look, he has shorts on, and he’s in here.” Praise God, Natalia was a little more composed and started pleading with him saying that we were Catholic missionaries and had come all the way from General Cepeda to see our friend. I think her argument was a little more moving than mine was, so a man that worked at the hospital told the security guard that he would be in charge of us, and he walked us over to where Francisca’s room was. Thank You Jesus!

Francisca was in a room with about 5 beds that were divided by curtains. When Natalia and I walked in, she got really excited and tried to sit up, and then we saw her grimace in pain. She was lying on dirty bed sheets that had come loose from the mattress, so most of her body was just on the plastic of the mattress. She had had a C-Section 36 hours before and had been prescribed pain medication that they didn’t have at the hospital. She and Chemo had no money to pay for it, so she was waiting for us to get there to be able to buy her the pain medication. Francisca told us that she had still not seen the baby and all that she knew about him was that he was not doing well. It was hard to tell whether she just didn’t understand what they had told her, or if they hadn’t told her anything at all. She handed Natalia the baby’s hospital bracelet which she realized was because Francisca can’t read it. So she told her that the baby was born at 6:38am on August 14th and he weighed 1.82 kilos (about 4lbs). Then she looked at me sadly and said, “I won’t be able to have any more…this is my last baby.” Apparently they told her that it was too dangerous for her to have any more children so they went ahead and cut her tubes. I was not really clear on whether they got her consent, or just went ahead and did it and told her after the fact.

I tried to get some information about the baby, but since I was clearly not a relative, they did not want to tell me anything. They did say that if Francisca or an immediate relative wanted to walk to an information window they could ask about the baby there. I asked the nurses for a wheelchair to take Francisca to the information window, but they also weren’t in a hurry to give us one, so Francisca kept saying she could just walk…with no pain meds, mind you.

Now, I have to say that being a missionary I have been in lots of foreign hospitals and this was by no means the worst. It was clean for the most part and the staff was fairly friendly, but in a government run hospital in Mexico, things just don’t operate the way that they do in the States. I was trying really hard to understand what the normal procedure was and not let the ugly American in me come out. I also did not know how much of this was just because Francisca, due to her lack of education, did not understand what to ask or what she was being told.

Our hour was running out, so we went to get the medicine from the pharmacy across the street, told Chemo to go in and see Francisca and were at least able to find the Neo-natal Unit where the baby was. Francisca was the only one who was allowed to enter with a robe and a mask on, and they only let her see the baby from afar. He had cotton around his head and a little stocking cap on in the incubator.   We had already stayed past the visiting hour, so we had to leave her there and told her to call us to let us know what was happening with the baby.

We didn’t hear anything on Sunday until about 9pm when Chemo showed up at the door to the mission house saying that they were back home, and Francisca needed more medicine. The baby had to stay in the hospital. So we told him we would buy the prescriptions and head to their house as soon as we got our kids settled in bed.

When we got there Francisca was lying on the bed still in a lot of pain. We gave her the first dose of her antibiotic and painkiller and I set the alarms on her phone to go off on the hours she was supposed to take her medicine. I kept asking her what the doctor had told her about how much she should be doing or not doing, what they said about the baby, and how often they were supposed to visit the baby. She said they told her that she didn’t have to come back to see the baby until Wednesday…Interesting. She needed to go to the hospital in General Cepeda to get her stitches out the next day…Hmmm? And that she needed to get the baby’s paperwork done at the local hospital so that he was covered under the insurance or they would start charging them….Okay. I told her I would come in the morning to check on her and we would go from there.


~ by martinsonmission on August 19, 2015.

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