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28 Days of Impact: Baby Harriett

 

 

The flutters of movement, then the obvious kicks from the life beating inside of me. I was afraid. Afraid of the unknown. The uncertainty of whether I was ready to become a mother, unsure of how to care for myself and the life that waited to arrive. I sang to her in my tummy each day. Willing her to respond to the sound of my voice. And when she did, I breathed a sigh of relief.

When I saw her face for the first time, I instantly felt an overwhelming sense of responsibility. It was now mine and my husband’s job to provide the best care for our firstborn daughter. We checked for ten fingers and toes and celebrated the life of our child…until Day 3.

After we were released from the hospital, we took our little one to her first pediatrician appointment on the third day after her birth. Our hearts sank as we were informed that she must be readmitted into the hospital for jaundice. We were crushed as we walked into the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) to hand over our precious baby.

Only four short months ago, I was reminded of that feeling when I met Baby Harriett during a life-changing trip to Uganda, Africa with the United Nations Foundation’s – Shot@Life Campaign.  I held her tiny and frail five month old body in my arms during a visit to her home shared by her Grandmother Rosemary, father Brian and his sisters. As she rested in my arms, it reminded me of holding my little girl for the first time. You see, although Baby Harriett was five months old, she was as light as a feather, the weight of a newborn.

Baby Harriett’s mother, Sheila, left the care of her daughter with Rosemary and Brian to further her education to become a nurse. Although commendable, Sheila’s choice left little Harriett severely malnourished due to the lack of breast milk.  Sadly, this beautiful child was also left without the proper newborn vaccinations she should have received at birth.

Baby Harriett and I in Fort Portal, Uganda. (Photo: Stuart Ramson/UN Foundation)

I joined friends of mine from Shot@Life as as we watched Baby Harriett receive her vaccinations, health screening and birth registry provided by UNICEF Uganda during Healthy Family Days after their church services. As I observed the healthcare workers measure Harriett’s tiny little arms, I gasped as her nutrition was confirmed to be in the danger zone.  I cried as they placed the needle in what very little meat her skin had to reduce the impact of the painful vaccinations.

I felt the pain of Baby Harriett’s tears as they fell from her eyes which had just moments before shown with brightness. I wanted to hold her again to console her and somehow help her understand that all of the pain was to save her life! She was being given the gift of a future that so many other children don’t receive.

Just as I had the privilege of taking my firstborn daughter to the NICU to receive care 10 years ago, I still have the choice of both of my girls receiving vaccinations. NEVER has this choice been more important than after I shared that day with precious Baby Harriett.

Each time my girls hit a milestone, I think of Baby Harriett and what her life will be like as a result of the gift she was given that day.

The impact of vaccines on the lives of children around the world is incredible. Now, you can help sustain the impact by sending an email to your member of congress. Welcome your members to the 113th Congress and ask them to make sure that global health and vaccines are a priority in the new Congress. Take action and make an impact!

This story comes from the UNICEF Uganda and is part of Shot@Life’s ’28 Days of Impact’ Campaign. A follow up to Blogust to raise awareness for global vaccines and the work being done by Shot@Life and their partners to help give children around the world a shot at a healthy life. Each day in February, you can read another impactful story on global childhood vaccines. Tomorrow, don’t miss Jim Lin’s post! Go to www.shotatlife.org/impact to learn more. Follow the conversation on Twitter via #vaximpact. 

Happily married mother of 2 fabulous daughters. CEO & Designer of Shootie Girl™ Custom Rhinestone Apparel. Former government and global software giant manager turned work-from-home mom and National Director of Social Media and Blogging for a national non-profit moms organization.
Shootie Girl
 

28 Responses

  1. I love how you bring in your own experience of becoming a mom for the first time to this post. So touching.

    And such an important cause. Thanks for raising awareness!

  2. You have a heart of gold, my friend. What a great story to share. Thank you.

  3. Jen Burden @WorldMomsBlog

    Lovely post, Lashaun! I will always remember our time in Uganda and how much you connected with baby Harriett. So glad to be working with you to give more kids a Shot@Life!

    Jen :)

  4. What a wonderful and moving story. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I so wish I could have met her too, but I love reading her story, interwoven with yours.

  6. Nicole melancon

    Absolutely beautiful LaShaun!!!! Thanks so much for sharing!

  7. ~j.

    In my dreams, we all return and meet up with Harriet to find her to be a healthy, grown, happy woman.

  8. LaShaun,

    It was so nice to meet you during the conference and I am so enjoying my Shootie Girl shirt – I’ve worn it several times already. I am so pleased that they send some of our Champions out into the field – I think it is eyewitness perceptions like this that have the biggest impact and are the most memorable. I think these stories tie in to our hearts and our lives.

  9. What a sweet story. I can’t believe that tiny baby is 5 months old. Prayers that she will improve and grow strong and healthy. It would be nice to see updates on some of the kids’ progress. Thanks for sharing.

  10. roy

    ARE WE PROMOTING POISON for OUR CHILDREN?

    • No we are certainly not promoting poison but instead working to save the lives of children and to give the option to parents who would not otherwise have the choice. For children like Baby Harriett and others I met in Uganda, receiving vaccinations is a clear matter of life and death.

      • roy

        In the name of good intentions harming an innocent life is not nice. I understand lack of education and understanding on the part of patients is leading to this vaccination. Please check this website for further information. Maybe you do not know that studies show that VACCINES are POISON and what they contain is mercury, aborted foetuses…check the contents of vaccines and their contents then maybe your eyes will open up. Ignorance cannot be an excuse to be blind.

  11. You are a special woman to have a heart so big that your hands stretch overseas not only to hold precious Harriet and be moved by her story, but to fight for her needs as well as others all over the world. You are a blessing, and may many lives be saved.

  12. Thank you for sharing your story. Wouldn’t it be nice to follow baby Harriett’s story. I’d love to hear updates on how she is doing.

  13. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article.
    I will be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info.
    Thanks for the post. I will definitely comeback.

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