When we first met one of our new clients, our concerns for her health and the health of her unborn baby were at the forefront of the management of her case. For the safety and confidentiality of our clients we do not use real names and so for this story I will use the name Sophy. When clients first enter our program at Mother’s Heart, we accompany them to RACHA for general prenatal checks. It was this checkup that confirmed what we suspected from our preliminary screen. Sophy’s blood pressure was high. She was suffering from a condition called “preeclampsia” which basically means “before seizures” . Our staff began praying immediately for Sophy and her unborn baby. Pre-eclampsia is a diagnosis given to women who suffer from high blood pressure during pregnancy which untreated can ultimately result in dangerously high blood pressure, seizures, and death. It occurs all over the world regardless of age, culture, or ethnic background. Our Nurse Midwife, Sreytouch, continued to monitor Sophy closely over the following weeks. When Sophy was only 33 weeks pregnant, she developed complications from the preeclampsia and her baby was delivered by emergency C-Section weighing only 1.15kg. Sophy’s baby boy was admitted immediately to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit here in Phnom Penh. He was placed on a ventilator, feeding tube, and I.V. Our staff continued to pray for a miracle that his lungs would be healthy and mature enough to sustain his breathing. God’s grace and answered prayers quickly followed. Sophy was discharged from the hospital a week later. Her baby boy continued to gain weight daily and after a few short weeks became independent from all the tubes and IV’s. He is thriving wonderfully and was discharged from the hospital just 4 weeks later. Thank you to everyone who prayed for Sophy and her son.
At Mother’s Heart, one of our goals is to assist the girls and women in our program in obtaining access to either vocational training or job placement. One of the biggest barriers to these opportunities is transportation and the cost that surrounds it. However, a bike can change a life in a poor country. Yet for millions of people on the lowest incomes, a bicycle is financially out of reach. Bicycles help to ensure that the girls and women in our program are empowered through improved access to food and water, employment, healthcare, education and social opportunities. This month, Mother’s Heart received a generous donation of bicycles from the Cambodian Bike Project. Thanks to their donation, 7 women in our program will now receive a bicycle to assist them with both affordable and sustainable
You may not recognize this word, but for a young Cambodian woman trying to feed her baby it is a very important technique. BorBor is a simple Cambodian term which means “rice soup” or “porridge”. It’s a process which consists of adding more water to the rice when cooking it so that it is a thin consistency so that the texture is such that babies can eat it.
It is not uncommon for many babies and children in Cambodia to become stunted in their growth due to micronutrient deficiencies. Once the mother stops breast feeding, foods high in calcium along with vegetables high in vitamins are frequently absent from the diet due to poverty and a lack of education. Malnutrition remains a serious problem for Cambodian children specifically Vitamin A and iron deficiencies.
This month, Mother’s Heart, held an afternoon workshop for all our mother’s in the program on how to add more nutrients to the BorBor which makes it more healthier for the baby than just rice alone.
Mother’s Heart staff taught the women how to chop up cooked vegetables like carrots and green leafy vegetables which adds vitamins like Vitamin A, B, and K and iron.
We also taught them how to chop up and cook chicken to add protein to the BorBor. Once the chopped and minced ingredients are added to the rice porridge, it then becomes a nutritionally dense baby food!