Wadagens…a true Angel tonight…

photo4We received a call about 12 days ago from the cardiologist in Haiti asking us to bring Wadagens to a hospital in Petion-ville.  We learned that a team of French doctors were coming to Haiti to do open heart surgery.  This was the first French team but we learned that it was the 6th Heart team to do open heart surgery in Petion-ville!  I was so surprised to hear this, but they have all of the equipment at this hospital and had been doing surgeries for quite some time.

We needed 4 people to go give blood.  They would not even consider him for surgery until we had 2 units of blood ready for him.  In Haiti, we have to take 4 people to give blood for them to give us 2 units of blood.IMG_0264

Wadagens had a hole between his ventricles and according to the echocardiogram, he had a stenosis of his pulmonary valve.  He only weighed 10 Kg (22 lbs) and he was the smallest heart patient done in Haiti. At first, they said they would not do surgery because of his size, but then the surgeon chose him because his operation was supposed to be fairly easy. 

Wadagens has had several severe episodes of respiratory problems since he’s been at GLA.  He was an abandoned child and I’m sure that he was abandoned because of his fragile health issues.  This surgery was an answer to prayer because we could not easily get a passport for Wadagens to get the surgery outside of Haiti because he was abandoned.

photoWhen the doctors did his surgery, they later told us that he would not have lived to see 4 if no surgery was done.  His heart was enlarged, the ventricle was quite large and thick and he did not have a pulmonary valve!  They constructed a valve for him in the operating room, thinned down his ventricle and closed the hole he had between his ventricles.

They kept him in the hospital 4 days because he was very congested after surgery and his ventricle was “lazy” and not beating quite as efficiently as they would have liked.  But by the 4th day, Wadagens was ready to come home!

When we returned on Saturday to see the doctors and have an echocardiogram done, Wadagens was walking all over the place!  The doctors and nurses were so pleased with his progress.  He still had a very loose cough, but was doing great!photo2

Our nurses, Rebecca Udermann and Britany Smith, were with Wadagens every step of the way.  They took turns staying with him after surgery and he had been sleeping in their room since he came home.  In fact, we were talking about putting him back in the nursery after the weekend because he was doing so well!

Today his 8th post operative day, he and Frantina were so cute as she held his hand and took him around the office.  I guess he ate a very good lunch.  His cough had changed during the night from loose to very tight which concerned us a little bit.

Today, our pediatrician was here and went over to see him and thought he looked very good but felt he needed a different medication to help with his cough and breathing.  As she’s telling me this, Rebecca comes running in and Wadagens had fainted in his crib.

Shortly after coming into the house, he stopped breathing.  We breathed for him for a short time and he started breathing again, but never woke up really.  Everyone worked for 1 hour and 45 minutes trying to save him.  Losing him was not acceptable to any of us!  photo1

As a nurse, it affects you when you lose someone you have been taking care of in the hospital, but not quite like in the orphanage, because YOU are the mother of these children.  They are yours.  We stand in the place of their mamas to be there to kiss them when they fall down, hug them when they need assurance or just a little bit of love, and to keep ourselves between them and danger.  So when we lose a child at the orphanage, we grieve like a mother, because we ARE their mamas.  Even if it’s just for a short time, our role is as  their ‘MOM”.

So tonight, our hearts are breaking just a little bit.  There is a coffin with a beautiful little boy in it a short distance from me right now.  We had a nice little service for him tonight with most of the staff here.  His life deserved that recognition from all us tonight and we were able to share our thoughts and our grief for Wadagens.

Tomorrow, we will dust ourselves off and go on and work our butts off to save the next sick child, but there will be a spot in our hearts forever for a child who liked to make funny faces and tonight is truly an Angel in the arms of God!

39 comments (Add your own)

1. Missy Dollahon wrote:
My heart is breaking with you. I am so sorry.

Wed, December 19, 2012 @ 11:16 AM

2. Tracy Fick wrote:
Our hearts are broken...thank you for loving him & taking such great care of him. You are all angels, too.

Wed, December 19, 2012 @ 11:30 AM

3. Sarah wrote:
Praying with and for you all.

Wed, December 19, 2012 @ 11:34 AM

4. Melissa wrote:
Seems like the only words I can say is "I'm sorry." It seems so pitiful compared to the pain you go through every time you lose a child. Thank you for being " mama" to all those children. You are the true meaning of a " hero".

Wed, December 19, 2012 @ 11:49 AM

5. georgene assur wrote:
I am so very sorry. Wadagans was one of my favoriites when I visited GLA last summer. May God comfort all of you in this terrible loss.

Wed, December 19, 2012 @ 11:52 AM

6. Debi wrote:
So very sorry for your loss. You are aware, I am sure, that "thinning the ventricle" and closing the VSD both put him at very, very high risk for heart block; especially the myomectomy. Combined with a constructed pulmonary valve (which would be, even in the best surgeon's hands, an incompetent/regurgitant valve) and his respiratory issues, he was unfortunately high risk for loss of cardiac output and sudden death. But you loved him, and he knew he was loved and cared for. Thank you for loving him so much and making his life a good one.

Wed, December 19, 2012 @ 11:58 AM

7. Doris Tullock wrote:
Paige - SO SAD to hear this news. Knowing what a caring, loving person you are my heart breaks for you & you & everyone involved with this little angel. But we know he is in loving arms now & no more pain.

Wed, December 19, 2012 @ 12:12 PM

8. Robyn wrote:
We loved him though we never got the chance to meet him. My sweet 6 y/o daughter picked Wadagens for our family to sponsor specifically due to his health challenges, because as she described it, "Wadadgens needs our prayers." We were so privileged to pray for him and thank you for sharing so much about your journey with him. We cry with you but also celebrate that he is in the presence of our Lord today.

Wed, December 19, 2012 @ 12:28 PM

9. Karen Miller wrote:
I am sorry that you lost your precious "son". How lucky he was to have his time with you. God bless...

Wed, December 19, 2012 @ 12:51 PM

10. LaureAnn wrote:
May the Lord give you all peace and comfort. He will wipe away all your tears someday soon, and I know you will hold this sweet boy again in heaven. What a blessing that he was so loved; even though he was abandoned, God set him in a family. He is so good!

Wed, December 19, 2012 @ 12:52 PM

11. Keri Halliday wrote:
So sorry to hear this news - praying The Lord will strengthen your caring arms and heavy hearts today. Much much love to you all. It's so clear to see the passion and the real love for the precious angels in your care. Wadagens had the best people looking after him while God allowed him into your home. God gave you special hearts for this special service. He promises to help you through this.

Wed, December 19, 2012 @ 1:22 PM

12. Sakile wrote:
So sad . . . and so sorry.

Wed, December 19, 2012 @ 1:24 PM

13. Traci Brooks wrote:
I am so proud of you for stepping up and being a mother to these children. Remember God is in control and He will guide you and give you the wisdom, strength and comfort you each need. He had such a beautiful smile. It shows that he died knowing he was loved and that is what matters most to a child....love. thank you for being that love In my prayers and thoughts

Wed, December 19, 2012 @ 1:57 PM

14. Marguerite Lauzon wrote:
Broken heart, poor soul underwent such suffering, but thank God for all the love her received at and because of GLA. He went knowing that people loved him dearly.

Wed, December 19, 2012 @ 2:39 PM

15. Dawn Tyrrell wrote:
We are so sad to hear this news. He was a beautiful little boy, and we were praying for him. We will continue to pray for you all and the work you do. Thank you.

Wed, December 19, 2012 @ 2:47 PM

16. Sarah Leitner wrote:
I was listening to this song as I read your post Dixie... I thought it might help. Meet me here Lord Here I will wait only for you Rest for my soul Peace for my life Come only from your And I fall in your loving arms lift me higher, higher, high up above All of our cares that this lowly world brings Lift me higher Now I surrender all that I am , giver of life Here I am now, down on my knees Down on my knees And I fall in your loving arms Lift me higher, higher, high up above All of our cares that this lowly world brings Lift me higher In a secret place I will worship In a secret place I will bow down In a secret place I will worship you Lord (x2) And I fall in your loving arms Lift me higher, higher, high up above All of our cares that this lowly world brings Lift me higher I totally understand how hard it is to lose someone you love. My grandma died on Saturday december 8th and because of university finals I couldn't be with my family. It is so hard but i've found that as hard as it is during Christmas season, it's also really joyful because what a great time to go and meet your saviour. There are lots of poems for this season and I want you to look up one. It's called "My first Christmas in Heaven" It was read at my grandma's funeral by my little sister, I thought maybe it might help.

Wed, December 19, 2012 @ 3:05 PM

17. Donald Hersey wrote:
We met sweet Wadigans while there earlier this month. Such a beautiful little boy. He will remain in our prayers, as he has been since we met. insert tears here

Wed, December 19, 2012 @ 3:26 PM

18. Kayla wrote:
Oh I am sorry to hear this. I know his face from your last newsletter and though he looked so healthy for a heart baby. Just sad...

Wed, December 19, 2012 @ 3:36 PM

19. margarita wrote:
we are praying for all of you who are taking care of weakest. may gpd give you strength and keep you in his hands.

Wed, December 19, 2012 @ 3:53 PM

20. Amy Wiles wrote:
From the moment I saw him, I told everyone that I needed to adopt him. He reminded me of my oldest son and he tugged at my heart. I am so unbelievably sad.

Wed, December 19, 2012 @ 5:01 PM

21. Kimberly Garner wrote:
Dixie, I don't know how you and the staff at GLA keep it together and carry on. You have one of the most rewarding, but toughest "jobs" in the world. Just know that there are many people out here today praying for you and the staff and children at GLA.

Wed, December 19, 2012 @ 7:03 PM

22. Holly wrote:
Praying for you and your staff as you heal from this loss. What a precious boy! Thank you also for being "mama" to those who are waiting for their forever "mama". I know that as I wait for my sweet J and L, it helps me immensely to know that you and their other caregivers love them the way that I will when they are finally in my care. Thank you, truly, from the bottom of my waiting heart!

Wed, December 19, 2012 @ 7:25 PM

23. Katie wrote:
When I went to GLA in May, I held Wadagens. He was so sweet. In fact, I have more pictures of him than any of the other children I held! I know that he is with Jesus in paradise right now. The whole staff is incredible and I am so blessed to say that I was able to come there. I know that you all are working your best to be "mama" to these babies. God bless you all.

Wed, December 19, 2012 @ 7:37 PM

24. Dave & Ruth wrote:
Like all the rest say: thank you so much for being such a loving mama. our prayers are with you all.

Wed, December 19, 2012 @ 8:43 PM

25. Pam Taylor wrote:
Precious child, you flew into God's arms. He allowed those of us who knew you to love you. I am sad. But, I smile knowing that you are with the other little angels. God's littlest angels are welcoming you. God is smiling and calling you to his side. Christmas this year will be with Jesus. What a wonderful gift for such a tiny man. You are whole there. No more pain, no more hunger. I look forward to seeing you again one day. Until then know you were loved by simple folk such as myself. HUGZ God bless all of you. I know somewhat the pain of a death of a baby. Loving them is an honor. Watching them go is not part of our plan. But, God's plan is the one we must focus on. He has called his son home to be with him. That is how I function when I think of the children I have seen go to heaven in my life. I think of them with God. I am human. I could only love them so much. But, God-- his love is one that we can only imagine. It is stronger than anything we have experienced here on this planet we call home. The babies that you love and lose are in a place where the presence of God is with them. I weep with you. I will pray for you. I have witnessed your love and commitment to all of the children you care for. Blessings be on all of you during this blessed season. I wish I could come and give you all a big hug. But a virtual one is all I can send at this time. HUGZ Merry Christmas. MAy 2013 bring you love, joy, and laughter. :)

Wed, December 19, 2012 @ 8:44 PM

26. Kelly D wrote:
((((((DIXIE))))))))))) I grieve with you and am praying for the entire GLA family!!! Love ya!! KD

Wed, December 19, 2012 @ 9:33 PM

27. josh hardin wrote:
I'd say I was jealous of the fight you are fighting but it's stories like this that makes me realize I'm not. Y'all are truly a special group to fight day after day for those kiddos. You are truly a hero and as much as it saddens me as a father to hear about your lose, it helps to know that you are there and those kids are being loved. Keep fighting!

Wed, December 19, 2012 @ 10:28 PM

28. Anna wrote:
Praying for all of you at GLA ever since I heard the news. I was recently at GLA as a volunteer and fell completely in love with sweet little Wadagans! My heart is breaking knowing I will never again hold my sweet boy in my arms. But I am so full of joy and thanksgiving that he is instead cuddled up in the arms of Jesus tonight, free of pain and suffering! What a grand Christmas he will have this year! Am thinking of all of you at GLA constantly as I know your hearts are broken. Praying for strength and courage for all of you as you go on with day to day life at the orphanage, saving lives and loving on one child at a time! So proud of what you are doing in Haiti!

Wed, December 19, 2012 @ 10:45 PM

29. Donna wrote:
I feel so very sorry for Wadagens. He was a special, strong little boy in everything in endured is his short life. Thank you to you all there at GLA for all that you did for Wadagens! May God comfort you and give you peace for all you did to care for this little angel. May God Bless you all for all you do there at GLA for all those little angels!!

Wed, December 19, 2012 @ 11:54 PM

30. SarahB wrote:
My heart aches with you. Thank you for being the hands of Jesus to the sweet children.

Thu, December 20, 2012 @ 12:16 AM

31. Sharon Wilkens wrote:
I pray every morning for all of you, and especially for you and John. The Lord has given you wonderful gifts in the ability to love and care for these children like you do. John and I are so thankful you have been brought into our lives through Samuel. Now our hearts are with you. This world is a hard place and I am looking forward to heading home and being with all of those who have gone before us. That sweet little boy is home and healthy. All of you loved him home. Bless all of you.

Thu, December 20, 2012 @ 3:18 AM

32. Sonya wrote:
My heart breaks for all of you as you say goodbye to sweet Wadagens. Thankful that he is no longer struggling and is safe in the arms of Jesus. And thankful he was cherished, loved, and nurtured in your care. Praying for all of you as you mourn for another of your children.

Thu, December 20, 2012 @ 4:19 AM

33. Mary Cargill wrote:
Praying for the GLA family. Dixie and all, I mourn with you. Wadagens was so blessed to have you in his life and you were so blessed to have him in yours. As a mom, your worst nightmare is losing your children, and you at GLA, lose your children even after all that you do and all of the love that you give. My heart aches for you. Thank God, no more pain, no more stuggles for dear Wadagens and for your love in his life. Thank you for all you do for the children of Haiti!!!

Thu, December 20, 2012 @ 8:43 AM

34. Carolyn Vucsics wrote:
Thank you for being Wadagans family. My prayer is that you will be upheld by God's hand while you grieve, all of his mamas and his nana. I am praying that God will bless you richly for the loving care you give these beautiful children, and bring joy to you, knowing how you showed God's love to your wee boy.

Thu, December 20, 2012 @ 10:51 AM

35. Grace wrote:
Sorry you lost such a loving and a precious son. He's now in the loving care of our good Lord.Thanks you for all the tender care. Wadagens rest in peace Amen

Thu, December 20, 2012 @ 11:25 PM

36. Bob and Jill Cutler wrote:
Hi Dixie and gang-So sorry to hear about Wadagens. It hurts so much to lose a special child like him. I don't know if you remember Samantha. She was the first heart patient we tried to help and she was proposed by GLA. She died suddenly on Boxing Day-the year and date of the Sunami in Thailand. Many years and children later I still feel deeply sorry that Samantha died so young. We think of you often at GLA and especial love to John and Dixie this Holiday season.

Fri, December 21, 2012 @ 1:48 AM

37. Jan Schaaphuizen wrote:
I was very touched reading about Wadagens and all your amazing efforts 24x7 to give what is needed for all the children. Its in our heart hard to accept, because the pain of loosiing cuts like a knife. Pray for you all God will have mercy on you and take away your pain. So wish you Gods blessing for now and every 24x7 in future.

Sat, December 22, 2012 @ 5:56 AM

38. THERESE wrote:
DEAR DIXIE AND STAFF I M VERY SORRY FOR WADAGANS THAT GOD TOOK HIM IN HIS ARMS.HE IS TRULY AN ANGEL BUT YOU AND YOUR WHOLE STAFF ARE REAL ANGELS TOO.I M GRIEVING WITH YOU ..AND I KNOW THAT YOU HAVE DONE EVERYTHING TO HELP THIS LOVELY CHILD.BLESSINGS AND A MERRY CHRISTMAS

Tue, December 25, 2012 @ 1:04 AM

39. Letia wrote:
Our hearts break for your family there and that sweet boy. We surround you all in strength for the work that you do.

Sun, December 30, 2012 @ 4:14 PM

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