What happened with your unborn child?
When I went for my 20 weeks scan I was told that there was something wrong with my unborn child’s heart. There was an abnormality in her heart. My doctor then called another doctor for a second opinion and he also confirmed that there was something wrong with the baby’s heart. The specialist then advised that we terminate as the baby could be brain damaged or the child will die soon after birth. They said that the pregnancy did not look good at all. We asked to seek a cardiologist’s opinion and not only take the two doctor’s opinions.
How did this affect your family?
This was our first child with my husband and it was very stressful for the whole family. The news came around Christmas time and we decided to go home and spend time with the whole family so that we can decide what to do. Our families were very supportive and they carried us through this difficult time. They said that even if the child was brain damaged they would support us no matter what. We were very scared more than anything else and my husband was the pillar of my strength during this time. We did not know what to expect.
What carried you through this time?
Faith carried me through this difficult time. Some family members advise that we go to a sangoma as they suspected witchcraft and we decided against that. They believed that this was due to bad spirits and jealousy but we had faith in God. We prayed and pleaded with God to save our child. I wanted to go on a fast but due to my pregnancy I could not. Another doctor mentioned that he would rather be conservative as there was a normal heartbeat and what if the child survived; he still believed that the child will survive.
My daughter is born
After my daughter was born through a C-section I did not have a chance to bond with her, she was immediately taken into the intensive care unit and that was painful. There was a team of specialists ready for the unknown. A mother next to me had friends coming to see her child but I did not have my child with me, my child’s crib was empty. I did not see her on the first day. While I was recovering and waiting to see my child my husband took pictures of her and that is how I got to see how she was. I managed to hold her in my arms on the third day and we went home. Doctors said that she had aneurysm of the left ventricle and they said that it is more dangerous if it is on the left than the right side. It is a rare condition and the cause is unknown.
The journey towards her healing
The doctors wanted to operate and close the hole but that was going to be a risky procedure. We went home and at nine days she was admitted back in hospital and had a minor operation to check how big the damage. She stayed in hospital for a week. She had to go to hospital every week and afterwards had to get a special injection that cost R9000 every month for the first six months of her life. Only a small percentage of children in South Africa are getting that injection. We were also disappointed by our medical aid which only paid 70% of the costs due to some plan which they said we did not belong to but the health of the child was very important and we made a plan. We had to pay the bill of the ICU, the small operation, the injections, later we received the huge bills and we went to the credit bereau but have since recovered from that ordeal.
What do you say to other parents in the same situation?
Try and get more information about the condition the child is suffering from. Get second, third or even fourth opinions before you make the final decision. I had 5 doctors advising me on my child’s condition unfortunately this is not cheap but we had to do it and the support of family is very important.
How is your daughter now?
My daughter is now a healthy two-year old and is a bubbly child, I thank God that I made a decision not to terminate my child. All of the things that were said about her have not happened. My faith in God helped me get through all of this. Her name is Esihle Isipho (beautiful gift) – my beautiful gift from God indeed.
Read more by Masanda Peter
Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.
Would you be able to carry a high-risk baby to term?