|   Posted: November 15, 2022

Each week this month, we’ll share a child development center staff or volunteer’s story and celebrate the reasons we’re so grateful for their work with children in the field. This week, we’re thankful for Survival staff members like Ina and Yuni, who helped save this mother’s life after a difficult birth left her fighting for survival.

Grateful for Survival Staff Like Ina and Yuni

Each week this month, we’ll share a child development center staff or volunteer’s story and celebrate the reasons we’re so grateful for their work with children in the field. This week, we’re thankful for Survival staff members like Ina and Yuni, who helped save this mother’s life after a difficult birth left her fighting for survival.

Photos and story by Vera Aurima
Barbalinda holds her baby, Adiva

The sun shone brightly in Sabu as Barbalinda, 31, was cooking and washing clothes for her family. She gingerly went about her normal daily routine, occasionally rubbing her belly, as she was heavy with her child.

Thirteen days from now, she reminded herself, she would be holding a lovely baby girl.

But after her husband left to tap palm sugar in the field, Barbalinda felt intense pain. It came without warning. She paused, collected herself and sat by the door of her house alone. She held tightly to the door and, after 15 excruciating minutes, she gave birth!

Barbalinda was delighted to welcome baby Adiva to the world! It was a miracle, but Barbalinda was struggling, bleeding profusely.

“I started to feel dizzy and weak. I could feel my lower body was wet and cold. I felt so much pain in my stomach,” she says.

Calling Survival Staff for Help

Thankfully, her father arrived, shocked to see his daughter’s condition and the baby already born. As Barbalinda was registered with the local center’s Survival initiative, her father immediately tried to contact the Survival midwife. After failing to reach her because of a weak phone signal, he ran to the beach, where his call went through.

Survival staff Yuni and Ina soon arrived with a midwife and an ambulance. The midwife couldn’t stop the bleeding, so they immediately carried Barbalinda to the ambulance and took her to the nearest clinic.

The health workers there couldn’t stop Barbalinda’s bleeding either. Baby Adiva was examined, declared healthy and sent to stay with her grandmother. But the health workers gave Barbalinda an IV and drove to a bigger hospital. Because of bad road conditions, the 12-mile trip took an hour and a half.

“I was distraught when I saw Barbalinda’s condition. Her blood gushed out and soaked the floor of the ambulance. I didn’t stop praying,” Yuni says.

At the hospital, Barbalinda lost consciousness. Her entire body was swollen, and she was diagnosed with a retained placenta. If she didn’t receive treatment quickly, she’d likely suffer infection and life-threatening blood loss.

The doctors ordered her taken to another hospital in the city, eight hours away by boat, for a procedure. But Barbalinda’s husband and mother-in-law declined and instead decided to take her home. In Sabu custom, an important family decision should first be discussed with all the elders of the family.

Advocating for Barbalinda

Barbalinda holds Adiva while the pastor and staff stand behind

At the child development center, Barbalinda holds Adiva in front of Ina (left), Yuni and Godlif, the pastor.


Yuni and Ina decided to check on Barbalinda at 4:00 a.m. the next day. Accompanied by the church pastor, Yuni and Ina met with her family, hoping to convince them to take the ailing mother to the city hospital. Sadly, the family still didn’t agree.

After pleading their case, Yuni, Ina and the pastor realized there was nothing more they could do. With heavy hearts, they left the home.

Just moments later, Barbalinda’s father-in-law chased after them. He caught their attention and told them, panting, that the family had finally agreed to take her to the hospital.

The father-in-law later confessed, “At that time, our primary consideration was the cost — we had no money to take our daughter to the hospital. Even just the transportation was very costly. But the staff from the Compassion center assured us that the transportation and hospital costs would be covered by them. We felt ashamed, but we knew we had no choice but to surrender and leave this matter to Yuni and her team.”

Finally, at 8:00 p.m., Ina, Yuni, the pastor and several other members of Barbalinda’s family took her to the port. With her husband and mother-in-law, she boarded the boat for the city of Kupang.

An ambulance and several medical personnel were waiting for the family when the boat docked. Barbalinda was rushed to the hospital but continued to bleed so profusely that the procedure had to wait.

Meanwhile, Adiva was cared for by her grandmother. Ina ensured her health was regularly monitored by a midwife and that she received nutritious baby formula milk since she could not breastfeed.

Receiving Life-Saving Care

After three long days of waiting, Barbalinda entered the operating room. In just 30 minutes, the procedure was complete. After a grueling wait that seemed like an eternity, Barbalinda woke up one hour after the surgery.

The grateful mother recalls her ordeal. With tears in her eyes, she says, “I couldn’t talk when I woke up, but my heart jumped with happiness when I saw Yuni, my husband and my mother-in-law. At that moment, I knew God had answered my prayer, and he had given me a chance to live and be healed.”

Barbalinda and her family

From left to right: Barbalinda’s father-in-law, Barbalinda, Barbalinda’s mother-in-law and Barbalinda’s husband all admire baby Adiva.


Barbalinda, extremely weak from blood loss, stayed in the hospital for two weeks under the watchful eyes of the medical staff. But finally, she returned home to Sabu. She wanted nothing more than to hug baby Adiva for the first time!

“I could have died if I had not been helped by Compassion. I am grateful that the Survival staff convinced my family to let me go to the hospital, even though I initially believed my family would not allow it,” she says.

Transforming Lives — and Communities

Barbalinda holds Adiva

Sabu people hold strongly to their local beliefs, and many are restricted by poverty. But Barbalinda’s family now knows they have a strong support — the center staff will advise them, guide them and help cover the costs of medical treatments.

“The Survival initiative exists not only to help mothers and babies, but also to change the way of thinking of families and communities and help them to see a better way. We are grateful that small changes are starting to appear in our society since we partnered with Compassion,” says Ina.

Yuni’s overwhelming emotion was relief that both mother and baby made it through and can now begin to take the first steps of life together.

“I am thrilled to see Barbalinda’s condition is improving. More than that, I’m delighted that we managed to convince her family to save her life and her baby,” says Yuni.

Thank you, Ina and Yuni, for your commitment to the mothers and babies in Sabu and for all the ways you’re allowing God to use your gifts to release children (and mothers!) from poverty in Jesus’ name!

Donate to Compassion Survival

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