Take It From Me: Miracles.

November 30, 2012


I just had a dear friend of mine, Heather Ruttan, who actually traveled with us to Vanuatu send me this story of an experience she had in Vanuatu. She wouldn't confess this herself, but because of her key part in this story, lives were saved! If you plan on reading it prepare to grab a kleenex or two. 
"When I was 16 I lived in Vanuatu with my two best friends Rachael, and her sister Shaina, and their family. The 6 months I spent there have altered the course of my life. I learned so many things that year, but I think the most significant to me is that sometimes things just happen, and other times, they happen for a reason.

One night just as I was about to fall asleep, Rachael's Dad Dan came and woke me up. "Heather, there is a Dispensary Nurse on the phone, and she is speaking in french. I need you to translate for me." I was a bit annoyed that she had called when I was about to be going to bed, but other than that this was not that strange of a request. I often accompanied the doctor when we went to visit the Dispensaries, (nursing outposts for the people who couldn't travel all the way to the hospital) and helped with the translations. 

When I was growing up, my parents decided to enroll me in French Immersion. I was a pretty average student, I stuck to the lower middle of the class, and I didn't have a great love for french either. I don't know why I stuck with french as long as I did, but in looking back, I think it was for this night.I answered the phone to find a panicking nurse, practically yelling at me in very fast french. Oh, and there were medical terms. Lots of French medical terms I had never learnt in school...After a bit of confusion, and me saying "Plus lentement!" (more slowly!) many times, we were able to communicate. There was a woman who had gone into labour, but her baby was not oriented properly. 

Babies are supposed to come out head first, and instead, this baby was twisted so that a hand and foot were trying to come out at the same time. This is very dangerous for both the baby and the mother. The nurse told me that she was trying to turn the baby, but could not. The only hope for this mother and child was a c-section. She pleaded with the doctor to come to the dispensary as fast as possible, because there was not much time left for either of them. They would both die if they continued on in this way.

Here are the problems we faced: We had no idea how to get there. We'd only been to this dispensary once and that had been in the daylight! -We had not enough fuel to make it there and back. The boats that bring supplies (including fuel) to the island where we were living, had not been to the island in 3 weeks, and there was no fuel left on the whole island. Even the hospital had gone through the last of it's emergency supplies. We couldn't just sit and do nothing however, so we woke the hospital staff, and told them to get the Operating Room ready for us, and that we would be back in 2 hours. 

As we started driving, I wondered if we would end up stranded in the jungle, with a dying woman and child. I think we were all wondering how this could possibly work. I had the frantic nurse on our cell phone to keep us updated, and direct us the best we could, but she was little help. She told some local boys to go wait on the road where we were going to be driving by to help us find the turn off since it had no signage (not that we would have seen the signage in the pitch dark of the jungle anyways). We drove and drove and still we found no boys. We reached a landmark that we recognized from the only time we had been out this way, and knew we had gone to far, and turned back. We went more slowly this time, scanning the bushes, and finally we found them. They hopped into the bed of the truck and rode the rest of the way with us, banging on the cab's roof when we needed to turn. 

By the time we reached the Dispensary our gas gauge, which had started off at 1/4 full, was now below the 1/8 mark. We had used over half the fuel. Despair started to settle. How could we help this lady now? On the other hand, how could we not try? She was sure to die if she stayed, but there was a faint sliver of hope she could still live if we somehow made it to the hospital. We decided not to look at the gauge any more until we arrived. We just drove and drove and drove. To our great surprise we made it, and the needle on the gauge never moved. It was as if we had traveled all that way on the fumes or something. I can't explain it. 

Dan operated on them the rest of the night until the sun came up. Both mother and baby lived, and She named her baby boy Daniel, After Doctor Dan. He was completely healthy, and very big. We saw him and his mother quite by accident some months later, and he was the fattest baby I have ever seen! We all hugged tearfully and she gave us a gift of some produce from their garden in thanks. 
You see every now and then, there is a happy ending. They are sometimes few and far between, and we do not always acknowledge them as we do the tragic tales. But there ARE things we can't explain, where everything aligns and works out impossibly well. Times where someone who barely spoke french (and definitely not medical terms in french!) was able to translate, times where everyone pulls together and helps out so things run perfectly, and times when your gas takes you farther than it should. I can't explain these things, so I have learned to just call them miracles."

Heather Kay

If you are interested in the Vanuatu Christmas Project please read about here!

1 comment :

  1. Wow. What a touching story. That is truly an account of a miracle.

    I had a cousin who had a baby in the breech position and her baby ended up sick and had to stay in hospital for over a month because oxygen was cut off. The fact that baby Daniel not only survived the delivery but thrived is truly a blessing. What an ordeal all of you had to go through getting there!! Thank goodness that you did though. What a beautiful little boy. :)

    This is so well written and touching to read. I just wanted to let you know it really moved me reading this. Thank you for sharing.

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