I Want to Stay with my Baby

[1] I got a beep. My beeper was running. I found out a doctor wanted me to talk with a patient in the Labor and Delivery Unit.

[2] I walked into the unit, read the chart, talk with the in- charge nurse. Then I entered the room, accompanied by a Spanish translator.

[3] A woman lying on her back looked at me with teary eyes.

[4] I call her name M. How are you doing? She was crying and said, “I have a lot of pain.” I am sorry, I reply. I am very sorry for what happened. I look at this full term pregnant 38-year-old woman in her seventh pregnancy. She has just found out that the baby died in her womb.

[5] “I don’t understand,” she asks me. “I don’t know why this happened to me. I don’t know why.” I say, I am sorry. I really don’t know why. I wish I could give you the answer.

[6] My heart sinks. I know that you had a lot of expectation for this baby. Do you know if this is a baby boy or a baby girl? Have you given your baby a name?

[7] “Yes. It’s a baby boy. We gave him the name Michael Angel.”

[8] I say wow! That is the archangel’s name. You must have had a lot of expectation for this baby. She responds with a sob. I am a chaplain here on call tonight. I wonder, whenever you have your baby delivered, would you like to have a baptism for your baby Michael Angel. She says “yes, yes,” between all the tears, while her husband stands at the corner of the narrow and dark room.

[9] “I just want to stay with my baby. I just want to stay with my baby.” I wonder how she is going to handle this fetal demise before delivery. I wonder how does this special one compare to her 6 other children at home. I think about how vulnerable her husband is standing in the corner, helpless.

[10] When I walked out into the waiting area, I see a young couple waiting to get into the Labor and Delivery unit. They told me they are going to have a baby boy. This baby boy’s name will take after their uncle’s name. That name for the baby will be the name of a leader, a hero of this Arabic family.

[11] What is the difference between ethnic parents at this point? I don’t see any differences in expectation from a pregnant mother for a child through naming it. At the same time, I see other patients. They delivered their baby. After 30 days, they ship the baby back to their homeland in China. The mother stays in the USA to work to earn money. I don’t understand how they can give up their baby for such a long, long time. What is the ethic here? Is it the money or the mother-child relationship? Which is more important? Or, is this a basic survival skill in a foreign land?

[12] This is New York and, this is my community. We have a lot of people who look alike; a lot of people are marginalized in terms of culture and ethnicity. But there is one similarity, we need to be loved and to love is to extend this care to another. There is uncertainty and adjustment for life to help accomplish the American dream in a foreign land. I think it is the ministry of Jesus Christ that is represented to us. Jesus Christ himself becomes the foreigner of this land. He knows us. He contributed himself to walk with our alienation to God’s promise. Jesus embraces us, guides us, and empowers us. He does things for us, even dying on the cross.

[13] What does that mean to us today as a church and as a Christian?

[14] May God help us to make faith in action be a part of living. Amen.