A mother whose baby was delivered by emergency C-section on 17 December at only 25 weeks while she was unconscious and on ventilator support due Covid-19, met her baby boy for the first time at Netcare N1 City Hospital in Goodwood, Cape Town, on 4 January.
Their meeting followed after the hospital had to search for the mother, who spent Christmas mistakenly assuming her baby had been born too early to survive.
“When they showed me my baby, I was crying because I was so happy, I just couldn’t believe it. He is alive,” Nosipho Nkantini of Eerste River, a professional nurse, said.
“It was like a miracle, and I have decided to name him Oyena, which means ‘the one chosen by God’.”
In early December, when she was about halfway through her pregnancy, Nkantini developed symptoms of Covid-19.
“I went for a pregnancy check-up, and I suddenly felt very short of breath. I had a rapid Covid-19 test, and it came back negative. Still, I couldn’t breathe and it was terrifying. I couldn’t have X-rays or certain treatments for my symptoms because I was pregnant. My second Covid-19 test came back positive.”
She lost consciousness soon after arriving at the hospital and was placed on a ventilator.
“From then I can’t remember anything until I woke up days later, when I was told that I had suffered complications and my baby had been delivered by emergency C-section,” Nosipho said.
“They told me my baby is in the NICU, but I was so overwhelmed. Apart from the fact that I was still very weak recovering from Covid, I previously lost a baby who was delivered at 28 weeks, so I was extremely traumatised imagining this happening again.”
How she was reunited with her baby
During Nkantini’s emergency admission, her contact details and next-of-kin information was outdated and reaching her after she was discharged became tricky.
The festive season added to the difficulties as they reached out to doctors and their staff – many of whom were on holiday – in an attempt to get hold of her.
Social worker Ronel Grobler was enlisted to assist in tracking her down.
“We were very concerned about Nosipho, and when all else failed we contacted the local police, who promised to assist us in the search,” said the hospital.
Meanwhile, Nosipho was convinced her baby did not make it.
“When the police arrived at my home, I thought they were coming to tell me that my baby had died. I could not believe it when they told me my baby boy is fine and he is waiting for me in the hospital. It was such a big relief, and afterwards the police said, ‘we didn’t mean to scare you’.”
The baby had tested negative for Covid-19.
After Nosipho completed her isolation period for Covid-19, she was finally able to see her baby for the first time on 4 January.
“I was so happy but at the same time it was very difficult not being able to hold him at first. The staff in the NICU were saying he’s a miracle baby, and we hope that he will soon grow strong enough so take him home.
“I am so grateful to all the doctors and the hospital staff who cared for my baby and I, and for bringing us together. As a healthcare worker myself, I am especially thankful to all who are on the frontline of caring for people with Covid-19, and I owe my life to them,” she said.
Edited by Vhahangwele Nemakonde