Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Meet Baby Cathyline...

About 2 weeks ago, life here changed. I met Baby Cathyline.

My sweet friend Kristi Ray was here in Uganda for an unanticipated 5 months. She was waiting for Visa’s to take her adopted daughters back to Austin. Two days prior to her departure she stopped at the bank to get some cash. As she was walking up to the ATM she saw a young woman with a bundle in her lap. She felt like the Lord said to her “the baby”. She went on with her task ignoring the prompting, but as she was walking out of the ATM she heard it again, “the baby”.

Earlier that day, in our bible study, we had been discussing the importance of listening to the Holy Spirit. A place like Uganda can be so overwhelming. There is so much need, so much! But you can’t help everyone…so you just pray daily for discernment and try to listen to the Spirit. In her attempt to listen to the prompting, Kristi walked up to the young lady and said, “The Baby?”

When they young woman opened the bundle Kristi saw a beautiful little baby girl. But she could tell something was wrong, and when she took a closer look; she saw that the baby’s right leg was black & shriveled. Kristi immediately scooped up Cathyline, her mom Betty, & the Jjajja (grandmother) and headed to the hospital. She called me from the car & asked me to meet them there. That was the day I met Baby Cathyline.

Side note: When Kristi found them they were on the way to a witchdoctor for a “healing”. This baby would have been dead within a week. Or another child’s life would have been sacrificed in the process. The Lord is sovereign!!

To make a long story not so long, this sweet baby was/is SICK! Her leg was black from dry gangrene, thought to be from some vasculitis. She was terribly infected & malnourished when we found her. Her body started consuming her own blood products as a result of the infection. And without a doubt her leg would have to be amputated- Week 1

Last week the surgeon took Cathyline to the OR to clean her leg. After the surgery he felt he would only have to amputate her foot, what an amazing praise!! We were so thankful! On Friday, however, the doctor wanted to talk to me about a CT scan. The CT revealed that Cathyline has a vascular bundle called an AVM in her brain & has an area of stroke nearby. –Week 2

Healthcare in Africa is quite an amusing institution. I know many of you might say the same about healthcare in America as well. I get it; I’ve been on both sides on the examination table. But at home, I can assure you that there is a method to their madness. Here in Uganda…it’s just madness.

Just today, I was asked to drive from the hospital where Cathyline is admitted to another hospital across town so that I may personally book the baby’s ultrasound for tomorrow, because her hospital doesn’t provide that extensive of services. (And the other hospital is not answering their phone) So when I finally make it, after a few wrong turns, I can’t book the appointment because the radiologist that is “really good” at this particular study is out of the country. And the backup radiologist that is “ok” with the study has turned off her cell phone at 4pm on a workday. Uganda!

All that being said, I feel pretty comfortable with the care Cathyline is receiving. I have been able to talk with the doctors daily. They have taken my concerns seriously & have acted as swiftly as any African institution can…which is pretty slow. But I am thankful that we have her in a good place.

It’s so funny to me, God’s personal story he has written for each of our lives. I drive to the hospital everyday for 10 years to take care of kids. I get burnt out & need a break. I leave my job. I move halfway around the world to do something different. And I drive to the hospital everyday to take care of a kid. Who knew?!?

I truly have enjoyed so much of this time. Betty is so grateful and we are becoming sweet friends. I have prayed with her, talked her through difficult diagnosis, and giggled like a little girl with her these past few weeks. And sweet baby Cathyline is just that, a beautiful, sweet, and precious child. They both have more strength than I could ever possess. Our lives will forever be connected & I am thankful for all they have taught me.

I also have to be honest with you and tell you that much of this time has been difficult as well. I take care of people; that’s who I am, that’s what I do. But I am discovering more and more everyday that my heart, mind, & soul were so much more depleted that I could have even imagined. So some days, that compassion that usually flows so naturally from me is nowhere to be found. And I don’t want to drive to the hospital everyday and take care of a kid.

I am slowly beginning to believe in what everyone else around me seemed to always know. The Lord brought me to Uganda to be with Him. Period. I am here to be with Him, to rest in Him, to fall more in love with Him, and to be refilled by Him. He has literally emptied me of everything I could possibly give and put me in the middle of a place where need abounds. And “my take care of people” spirit has no choice but to rest. It was always Him in me anyway.

I ask that you pray for Baby Cathyline & Betty in the weeks to come. It is going to be a long road. She is having her amputation today. Pray for protection! Pray for healing! I ask that you pray for me as well, that the Lord will give me compassion when I need compassion. That the Lord will give me patience when I need patience. And that I will continue to be drawn to Him daily…..

International Hospital Kampala, Pediatric Ward

Baby Cathyline, 1 year

Her sweet little feet

Betty, Mother & Friend


  1. So many needs near and far!! God's blessings and care on you and the people He puts in your life everyday!!! He does have a GREAT plan for you!! Love you!! "Miss" Dianne and family

  2. Thank you for taking care of this little sweetheart, Em. I love to hear all of your thoughts about rest and being HIS - what rest there is in just being HIS.

    I love you friend

  3. You are amazing, Emily!!! Kristi is so thankful for you and your care for Cathyline. We are praying for that sweet baby girl and for you as you vTr foe her. Love you! Miss you!

  4. I just want to tell you that I love you and miss you. I pray for your time in Uganda and love to read your heart. HUGS.