Older mother’s surprise baby dies suddenly in the night

2008-02-04 00:00

The baby born to a 55-year-old woman in the France township last year has suddenly died aged two months.

The 2,8-kg baby boy came as a surprise to Miriam Dingalibala, who thought she was long past child-bearing age and had last given birth in 1988.

However, the lively little boy soon won his mother’s heart, despite the fact she and the baby’s father are both sick, unemployed and often rely on neighbours for sustenance.

Witness readers rallied around the family, offering milk, clothes and money for the baby’s upkeep.

Dingalibala said that at Christmas and New Year, many people brought food and clothes for him.

But yesterday morning, the distraught Dingalibala said she awoke to a cold baby. He had been fine at bedtime the night before. When she woke up to prepare the baby for a visit to the clinic, she found him dead still.

“He is normally very sensitive. If you touch him lightly he wakes up immediately, so I knew something was wrong,” said Dingalibala.

After trying to shake the baby awake, she ran to call a neighbour for assistance.

They discovered that the baby’s fontanelle (soft spot on the baby’s skull) had caved in and the baby had discharge coming from his mouth.

Dingalibala said the baby was sick after birth, and was diagnosed with TB. However, she said he was given medication and was very strong, with a healthy appetite.

Dingalibala does not know when or how the baby will be buried because she can’t afford the R170 bill expected by the mortuary for a postmortem.

sphumem@witness.co.za

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