Monday, November 30, 2009

Farewell to a Friend

Many of you keeping up on the blog or coming by for a visit are aware of the fondness I have for my regular night nurse Joanne and my deep sadness that tonight is her last night before she returns home and to her husband in Africa. I feel confident I speak for all her patients when I say how unique and wonderful she is as a nurse and I want to share with all of you how she affected the lives of me, Brian and Braden as well as how she continues to affect the lives of mothers and children in some of the most impoverished areas of the world.
I have said a few times a big part of this journey is mental/emotional, and unlike anyone else, the nurses are with you 24/7 during this process. As expected the nights can at times be the toughest, and the nurses you encounter affect your ability to cope with those moments. Throughout many of the "normal" nights here Joanne took the time to get to know us and helped pass the time exchanging stories about our families and life journeys. Even more critical was how Joanne has been here for me during some of the scarier moments, whether it be a scare with vitals, or just nightmares, she offered a calming energy that eased me through to get to a better place.

But my tough moments pale in comparison to what Joanne will do once she returns to Africa where she spends her time working on a non-profit she started, African Mothers Health Initiative. Due to the local environment, access to technology, and healthcare costs, the mortality rate of both infants and their mothers is extremely high after birth. Joanne's non-profit works hard to better the chances of survival by primarily raising money to supply formula as well as doctors and nurses to these families. For example, right now they have one nurse covering 82 babies via bicycle transportation and they desperately need funds for more staff as well as a better vehicle in order to quickly provide more care.

There are few, if any, organizations like the African Mothers Health Initiative, addressing these specific problems and due to the impact Joanne has had on us over the last 34 days, we felt compelled to raise awareness of this situation in Africa with all of you and hope you will take a moment to visit their site and learn more about the cause.

Thank you for letting me share a little about Joanne, as she is a person leaving a permanent fingerprint on me and my family. Braden is doing great. We are only 4 days from another huge milestone of 28 weeks!


  1. People come into our lives for reasons. . . obviously Joanne is one of those people and has made a huge impact on you, Braden and Bettsy. Here we are just a few days shy of the next monumental milestone -- 28 weeks. She was here to help you get through the really scary parts from 22.5 weeks til now. Thank goodness.

    Who knows what 27.5 weeks on will bring? Maybe more NB?!

    Love you tons. <3

  2. YAY Joanne, a special woman who will be missed terribly.

  3. So thankful that Joanne has been a part of this experience for you all. She sounds absolutely amazing!

    Enjoy your evening,

  4. It is wonderful to see a testimonial about an astonishingly dedicated and selfless woman such as Joanne written by another remarkable woman herself. I am so proud of you for taking the time to share your care for her and her passion in life. Braden is a fortunate little boy to have had Joanne's support and a mommy just waiting for the beginning of your adventure together. I love you.

  5. Julia-I am so thankful that you have had Joanne in your life for these few weeks. God will bring another angel for you!

  6. What a wonderful testimonial to your friend, Joanne. She has made a beautiful difference in your life and was a wonderful support person to you. I didn't get to meet her, but I love her for taking such good care of you.

  7. Wow, how inspiring. We'll say a prayer for Joanne, and continue praying for you, Betts and Braden.

    Time to plan our next visit. Until then, keep the updates and posts coming! - NG