Monday, November 25, 2013

The day I met the moms and babies at Fabella

This post is brought to you by NIVEA Baby.

Just before my birthday, NIVEA Baby took me and other mom bloggers Jackie Go of Go, Jackie Go!, Neva Santos of Manila Mommy, and Jemimah Mendoza of eSuperMommy, to Fabella Hospital. I confessed to you before in this blog post that I was afraid to go because I knew I was going to get my heart broken. But off we went on that early morning and I actually am glad I went.

At Fabella, we were told by NIVEA Baby not to cry or feel sad when we meet the moms. We can't make them feel like we're sorry for them. We should give them dignity. I didn't really feel sorry for them. In fact, I was surprised at how happy I felt when I saw the babies. They made me want to have more babies! I wanted to scoop them all up and inhale their newborn scent and just coo and gaze and kiss them. Mwah mwah mwah! Of course I didn't (I forgot to bring alcogel so I didn't want to spread my germs), although the moms were happy to share their babies.  

Okay, this is going to be a photo-heavy post so I'll just do captions!

Meeting the moms and babies
Very steep and high stairs! Imagine if you're heavily pregnant or you just gave birth! Well, there are a couple of elevators but those are mostly used for those in beds and wheelchairs.

Dark and sad hallways. This leads to a ward. Flickering lights, too. Very Silent Hill. Except it wasn't silent in this hospital! Why? Because it was filled to the rafters with moms and babies!

New moms lined up to have their babies checked. I know that this sight may induce feelings of sympathy but, dear readers, there were soooooo many babies, I could smell that fantastic newborn scent everywhere! The air was just redolent of new baby smell! I was so happy!

New mommies with new babies. Well, these aren't their first kids. More like their third or fourth or fifth. They confessed that they had no money and that life was hard but I love how they just smiled for the camera!

That's Mommy Jem with other new mommies. And all the moms were breastfeeding! Hooray!

Super young moms with their first babies. They were too in love with their newborns to talk to me!

Mothers and babies share beds, usually two moms in one bed so they mostly sit up so their babies can lie down.

Babies left on the bed by their moms during visiting hours. Visitors aren't allowed inside the maternity ward. Too crowded. And it's safer and more secure this way. But I just found it sad—for the moms, dads, babies!—that the moms have to leave their kids while they go out to entertain their visitors.

Lunch time! While the hospital provides three meals a day, visitors supply moms with much-needed water and snacks. Diapers and other essentials are passed on, too.

New arrivals! So many moms and babies are wheeled in! Like, there was a line!

Look! A family planning desk in the ward. The moms told us that they get counseling and are offered ligations.

Fabella Hospital has a good breastfeeding policy. It was so encouraging to see all the moms offering their breast to their newborns!

Things that still need improvement

See that big black speaker above the TV? Well, during visiting hours, the speaker blasts the announcement of the visitors. "Visitor for Bed 143! Visitor for Bed 246! Visitor for Bed 321!" Non-stop for two hours! They have to come up with a better way of announcing visitors! I was appalled for the poor moms and babies who are subjected to that booming voice every minute for two hours!!!

The moms need change of gowns. Many of them still walked around in bloody gowns (see mom at left). The hospital also needs more fans. Ventilation is one of the issues NIVEA Baby will address.

It's nice that there are trash receptacles at every corner. The problem is the ward is so crowded that these trash cans are right beside the beds. There are moms and babies sleeping on those beds!

Speaking of beds, the beds need to be replaced. They are rusty, with paint peeling off. I don't even know if that's lead-free paint. NIVEA Baby wants to replace the beds but Fabella says they have a budget for that. Hmmm.

Bathrooms need to be happier-looking. Okay, that's just me being spoiled but I need bathrooms to be a place I can be comfortable in naked, especially if I had just given birth and I'm bleeding everywhere. To be fair, the bathrooms smelled clean. I guess that's what really matters!

Screens need to be replaced. Mommies shouldn't have to worry about flies and mosquitoes bothering their babies!

This is their lunch. It's not much—just a cup of rice and a small piece of meat—but it smelled really good! I'd love for the moms to have soup, like malunggay soup, to warm up their tummies and stimulate milk production, and maybe a piece of fruit, too. The moms also told me that water is scarce. You have to buy water from the mineral water dispenser and it's P5 a drink!

What NIVEA Baby has done
This is the breastfeeding room. It's still being renovated but even in this state, it's already a vast improvement! NIVEA Baby will add a window to brighten up the place. There will also be more air conditioning units and nice comfy benches so that mommies can nurse happily.

The most important thing that NIVEA Baby accomplished is improving the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). They donated much-needed equipment, improved the sanitation areas, added storage, improved the ventilation.

There's still much that needs to be done! Here's one of the head nurses telling us that what they need is space, too. NICU babies should be about a meter apart. This is to prevent the spread of infection, but they have so little space and so few beds that what they do is if these two babies have pneumonia, they'll share one bed. It's heartbreaking.

What we moms can do
In my previous post about NIVEA Baby's project with Fabella Hospital, many of you asked how to help. Back then, NIVEA Baby told us that there's no need to purchase any of their products since they already have a budget for this project (although I would super encourage you to support NIVEA Baby just because of this amazing cause!). What they need from us is to spread awareness of the plight of our fellow moms and their newborns, and to donate items that the mothers, babies and even the hospital needs.

I don't yet have a list of these essentials, but I imagine them to be water, diapers, sanitary pads, toilet paper, cloth lampin, baby clothes, etc. NIVEA Baby hopes we can still find it in our hearts to dig deep into our closets and wallets to help give the moms and babies at Fabella a happy Christmas.

Stay tuned!

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  1. Aray. Sumakit yung butt ko nung nakita ko yung mommy na naka suot ng may blood stain na gown. :| Ang cute talaga ng babies! Na i-imagine ko yung amoy! :D I will wait for your next post about Nivea Baby! Mas na-encourage ako mag donate! :D

  2. I cousin had a bad experience with Fabella hospital, but it's good to know that Nivea and mommies like you make a difference. :)

  3. I would repeat the comment I did for your Nivea Post, that I am just so proud that Neo uses Nivea Baby because this project shows that Nivea has a big heart :)

  4. So heart warming. Way to go Nivea Baby! :)

  5. Oh my! I felt sorry for the new moms. If only I have millions of money, I'd really want to renovate their space as soon as possible. Oh my calling government officials....

  6. My sister was born in Fabella Hospital in 1977. My parents used to tell us that she was swapped in the hospital. I can believe it because she is mestiza. Anyway, I haven't been there. The babies break my heart.

  7. Hi Mommy Frances, I am very happy that I've met you in person together with other Nivea Baby Mommy Blogger partners. I totally agree with your post here about our visit and you've captured beautiful photos :) .


This is all pretty new to me so please feel free to share your mommy wisdom!