Tiny preemie was a real fighter

2014-12-18 00:00

A MICROPREMATURE baby girl born at 660 grams would normally perish soon after being born, but she proved them wrong.

Nozibusiso Gabela, also known as Gabby to the nurses, was born on March 9 at just 24 weeks and severely premature. She spent 171 days in ­ the neonatal intensive care unit (Nicu).

Sister Marlene Naidoo, Nicu manager at the Richards Bay ­Netcare’s The Bay Hospital, said babies that are born at this gestational age only have a 50% to 66% chance of surviving.

“Miraculously she survived the life threatening complications associated with micropremature birth,” said Naidoo. “Now, nearly 10 months later, she is a beautiful and blossoming baby girl.

“Micropremature infants are at a greater risk to develop short- and long-term complications.

“These include breathing difficulties due to an immature respiratory system, cardiovascular ­disorders, a compromised immune system, ­hearing and vision difficulties, and neurological problems.

“Not all premature babies experience complications. Generally, the earlier a baby is born and the lower the birth weight, the higher the risk of complications,” she added.

Naidoo said that saying goodbye to Gabby was a bittersweet moment. “We are happy to be a part of this little fighter’s life.”

Gabby is healthy, happy and a good 3,95 kg ­according to her mom, Sibonisiwe Gladness ­Gabela.

Gabela said when she first laid eyes on her new-born baby girl at the hospital, she was horrified.

“She was barely the size of my hand, I was scared to hold her and afraid for her life.

“After she was born, I did not return to hospital for three days and then I thought, how can I neglect my child and returned to find her just as small.”

Gabela said that her fragile child was very sick and tiny when she was born.

“I used to travel three hours from Nongoma to see her every day, I was so afraid that I could hardly sleep.”

The mother said that she feared for the life of her child.

“There were many times the nurses believed that she would not make it and they told me to pray and that God would help us.

“They encouraged me to hold and speak with her and that made her a little fighter, she became stronger.”

Gabela said Gabby now loves eating and playing with her toys.

“She really wants to crawl so she is trying,” she said.

• raisa.soodyal@witness.co.za

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