We all have stories to tell. We might not all be able to put pen to paper, but I strongly believe that we are all storytellers in our own right. Today, I share mine with you, so we can maybe get to know each other a little better…
It is said that being a mother is a feeling like no other. I have always been curious to know how it felt when a baby kicks and turns inside a woman’s tummy. I got to experience God’s magic. I used to say that the baby’s movements were hugs and kisses from her to me.
I found out I was pregnant on the 3rd of September 2018. I had missed my period and I thought I should buy a pregnancy test just to make sure that my planned pregnancy was really happening.
I got home, quickly did the pregnancy test and indeed, my Hope was on her way. I was so excited, I couldn’t wait to break the news to my significant other. I will refer to him as the Father.
So the Father came and I presented the pregnancy test to him. He was over the moon, I think he was more excited than I was (he was already talking to the “baby” at that stage). But something else happened that night.
I received a phone call, informing me that a friend of mine who had just given birth a month before passed away. It was a bittersweet moment. I was so shocked I couldn’t even cry. Nevertheless, death is a mystery and no one can ever understand how God operates.
During the first trimester of my pregnancy, everything seemed to be going well and I looked forward to having a full term pregnancy but then again, God had other plans for me.
I gave birth 3 months before the actual delivery date because I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia. When I was admitted to hospital the goal was to try to control my blood pressure but the headaches, the dizziness and the blurry vision continued which called for an emergency C-section.
I was too scared! I never imagined that as a first time mom, I would have to go through all of that and give birth to the tiniest human being I have ever seen in my entire life.
I nicknamed her Peanut! The way she was so tiny and looked fragile, I was afraid to pick her up. I didn’t know where to touch her. I remember how I used to cry every day because it was stressful.
Of course I would hear people talk about their experiences, but I never thought that I would go through the same. I looked forward to the 38-40 weeks of full term pregnancy where I would be ready to push.
I wanted that experience, but unfortunately, I had to be popped. I gave birth to Hope on the 4th of March 2019 at 21h10 and she weighed 1.460kg.
Her name was given due to the circumstances surrounding her birth. It literally means “Hope”. We gave her that name because even though I had a life-threatening pregnancy, I safely delivered her.
She couldn’t breathe on her own at the time of birth as her lungs were not strong enough but we remained hopeful.
Overwhelmed with feelings of anxiety and uncertainty, there was a point where I thought I would walk out of the hospital empty handed… without my baby.
I really did think of that, but God, the magician kept his promises. It was a devastating experience but I had to be strong. I had to be strong for the both of us.
They say babies can sense your emotions. They fed off that, so I had to be optimistic, even though she was in an incubator attached to machines …
I remember I had to sing for her, change her nappy, bathe her and feed her like everything was normal.
Immediately after she was safely delivered, I never really got to see her, let alone hold her. I only got to see her after 3 days.
I was glad the Father was there and that even if I didn’t get to see her, at least he did. It is every mother’s fear to go home with the wrong baby!
On the third day, I was told that I could go see my Hope. My Hope and I were in different wards, which made the walk unbearable as I was in pain due to the operation from three days earlier.
But, I was excited! I was going to see my Hope for the first time. Determined to see her, I took a shortcut to her ward not knowing that trouble awaits me.
One word: Monkeys!
The hospital that I was in is one of the hospitals notorious for monkeys roaming around, and even getting through patient’s windows if they are left wide open and stealing their food.
South African Hospitals
I have no idea why South African hospitals are havens for monkeys but anyway…I was with two other girls (who were also going to feed their preemies), those monkeys jumped off a tree and started chasing us.
To answer your question, no… I didn’t have food or fruit with me because I was going to the Preterm-Unit.
We started running and screaming… It’s funny now when I think about it but I didn’t find it funny then. Patients from other wards opened their windows and told the monkey’s go away but it fell on deaf ears.
Someone yelled for us to fight the Monkeys. I thought to myself, this person must be out of their mind. Why would I want to fight a troop of monkeys? My surgery is three days old. Why would I want to get into that kind of fight?
However, I do watch Animal Planet, I know how those animals roll… I am not about that life. That would be fighting a losing battle.
To cut a long story short, a security officer heard us screaming and came to our rescue. If my memory serves me right, I think I cried after we were rescued.
Those monkeys were terrorists, if they were not chasing patients, they would enter the patient wards through windows and take their fruits or food inside lockers.
Our First Connection
When my Hope was discharged from ICU we then had to go through one more step before we could be discharged. ]
We were admitted to the Kangaroo Mother Care Unit, where we stayed for a month. Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) or skin-to-skin care, is a simple, easy method of caring for newborn infants where the mother uses her own body temperature to keep her infant warm.
KMC is particularly useful for nursing low birth weight infants (infants with a birth weight below 2. 5kg). KMC provides the infant with the basic needs for survival, that is mother’s warmth, stimulation, breast milk, love and protection.
A Month of Bonding
Imagine having to sleep in a sitting position for a whole month.
The baby had to be in the Kangaroo position 24/7 so there was no way you could lie down with her on your chest. I could only take her out of the sling wrap when I had to go to the toilet or if I needed to feed her or change her diaper.
I was so glad when we were discharged. Even though I was still very scared to be out of the care of doctors, I knew that being discharged was a validation that everything was in order.
The one month I spent in hospital felt like a year. The only thing that kept me going was my Hope, who really fought the good fight.
A Journey Ends, Another Begins
However difficult this journey has been, I went through it like a BOSS… because it was mine to go through.
I know there were lessons to be learnt in all of this and a message. God was saying to me, that he keeps all his promises.
He was telling me he is more than capable and that if we seek his protection, he will be more than willing to do just that. I learnt that above all, prayer is everything!
We all go through something in life. Whether it is losing a loved one, losing your job, divorcing a spouse or breaking up with a lover.
It is all too painful to bear. You might ask yourself “Why me?”
But then ask yourself this, “Why not you? If not you then who?”
No one deserves to go through painful situations. But I strongly believe that we go through life’s adversities in order to learn something. Count all the challenges you overcame, how have they shaped you?
Are you becoming someone you are very fond of?
Are you learning?
Whatever it is, go through it, cry if you must and allow yourself to feel whatever it is that you need to feel. God hasn’t forgotten you!