Still Stretching: Francisca’s Baby – Part 2

Monday morning when I got to Francisca and Chemo’s house, I started asking questions again, and since I have never had a C-Section, I wanted to make sure she was doing what she needed to be doing. So I went to get our friend Rita who is one of our Mexican missionaries. She has had 4 C-Sections and has also been helping Francisca to learn how to sew, so Francisca knows and trusts her. When I showed up at her house, Rita was in the middle of cleaning day with her girls. There were piles of clothes all over the place waiting to be washed. I hated to even ask since I could see she was busy, but I needed someone who had experience with the Mexican hospitals and with C-Sections. Rita did not hesitate for a second. She wanted to help, and she told me what to get to put clean bandages on Francisca’s incision.

When we got back to their house, I just kind of sat back and let Rita investigate. She started asking Francisca questions and we found out that no one had helped her to bathe while at the hospital, and she still had the original bandage on her incision that was now stuck to her skin. (Apparently it would be expected that a family member would come in and help you to bathe, but we didn’t know that.)  Rita clarified that she did not need to get her stitches out until Friday, which is what I had suspected. She told her she needed to bathe and change the bandages, so we talked about whether or not to take her to the mission house, but Francisca was still in so much pain that we didn’t want to have to move her much. Then, before I new it, Rita had Chemo heating water outside over a fire and she and I were helping Francisca to bathe in a little metal tub in her tiny one room house.

Now, let me clarify here…I am not a nurse for a reason. I have lots of friends and even two sisters and a brother-in-law who are all nurses, and I am so glad they are because when it comes to medicine, medical situations, cuts, incisions, stitches, you name it, I do not know what I am doing. Not only that, but I tend to get queasy and want to pass out when I’m even around them. So to say that this was a stretch for me is an understatement, and at the same time, I should say that God has repeatedly put me in this kind of situation to pull me out of my comfort zone, help me get beyond myself and to help me see Christ in the helpless and hurting person in front of me. (Working in Calcutta with the Missionaries of Charity was a crash course in this kind of stretching!) So here I was, in Francisca and Chemo’s dark, stuffy house with all kinds of unpleasant smells, helping to bathe Francisca. Praise God for Rita! She was awesome, and while I was having to fight the urge to pass out, she was not skipping a beat. I also had to marvel at Francisca and her total humility to allow us to help her in this way. I was humbled and honored by how much she trusts us.

We finally got her clean, and re-bandaged (with a kotex pad instead of gauze…whatever works, right?) and after battling to find her clothes in the mountain of plastic grocery bags filled with random clothes, we left her saying we would get her Tuesday evening to help her bathe again so that she would be fresh and clean to go to the hospital to see the baby first thing Wednesday.


Well, as with most things here, our schedule never goes exactly as planned. Tuesday morning as we were just waking up, Chemo showed up at the door saying that the hospital had called the night before. They were upset that no one had come in to check on the baby on Monday, and they needed to come first thing Tuesday so that the social worker didn’t start investigating. I called Rita to see if she could come with us, and of course, she dropped her plans for the day and said yes.

So, Natalia and I loaded up Raeleigh and the babies, picked up Chemo, Francisca and the kids, and Rita and 2 of her daughters and we all headed to Saltillo, not really sure what to expect for the day. After stopping to pick up diapers, wipes and soap for the baby (in public hospitals here you have to supply your own) and a few pizzas to have a picnic lunch with the kids while their parents checked on the baby, we finally arrived at the hospital. Rita went in with Francisca and Chemo to see what information she could find out. She told them she was the “political aunt”, there for support and to help explain to them what was going on with the baby. Praise God, they allowed her to stay and hear what was going

The baby, who they have decided to name Jesus, is in intensive care. He is now stable, but they have no idea how long he will have to stay in the hospital. His lungs are underdeveloped and he has been unable to breath on his own, but other than that he is fine. He has gained some weight and is now eating pretty well. Francisca and Chemo have to visit the hospital at least once a day to check on him, but only Francisca is allowed to enter to see him.

After the hospital visit, we ended up dropping them off at Francisca’s sister’s house in Saltillo. They were planning on staying there at least until the weekend and taking taxis back and forth to the hospital each day. Wednesday, Rita and Gallo would come pick them up and take them to the hospital to get all the paperwork for the baby taken care of. As I was leaving, Francisca grabbed my hand and whispered, “gracias” as tears welled up in her eyes. I gave her a hug and told her I loved her and that I would be praying for her and the baby.

So wow…so many things have been running through my head and my heart from these experiences in the last few days. There were many times in the last few days that I thought for a second…”I really don’t want to do this,” or…”I don’t know how to do this”…but I realized, “if I don’t do it, who will?” My response to Francisca when she grabbed my hand to thank me kind of surprised me, but the more I have reflected on it, the more I realize that this is the lesson God is teaching me through Francisca…how to love where it didn’t seem likely or possible at times. She really has become a sister and a friend through all of these crazy experiences. Last year I knew Francisca deserved to be loved. But this year Jesus is teaching me how to do it.

They are in need of so much.  The only one who can change their situation and give them each a future and a hope is Jesus! Please keep Francisca and Chemo and each of these precious children in your prayers, especially their little Jesus.  (They told me today that he is off the ventilator and breathing on his own!  Praise God!)


~ by martinsonmission on August 20, 2015.

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