United at last, Nosipho Nkantini holds her tiny baby boy, Oyena, for the first time some three weeks after he was born prematurely at 25 weeks gestation by emergency caesarean while his mother was unconscious on ventilator support, fighting for her life due to Covid. Picture: Supplied
United at last, Nosipho Nkantini holds her tiny baby boy, Oyena, for the first time some three weeks after he was born prematurely at 25 weeks gestation by emergency caesarean while his mother was unconscious on ventilator support, fighting for her life due to Covid. Picture: Supplied

Mom reunited with baby delivered by C-section at 25 weeks while unconscious, on ventilator support for Covid-19

By Chulumanco Mahamba Time of article published Jan 14, 2021

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Johannesburg - An overjoyed mother whose premature miracle baby was delivered by emergency C-section while she was unconscious and on ventilator support for Covid-19 has been reunited with her baby boy.

Nosipho Nkantini of Eerste River in Cape Town, Western Cape, had an emotional meeting with her miracle baby on January 4 in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Netcare N1 City Hospital in Goodwood after the hospital had to search for the mother.

“It was like a miracle, and I have decided to name him Oyena, which means ‘the one chosen by God’,” said the new mother who spent a heartbroken Christmas mistakenly assuming her baby had been born too early to survive at only 25 weeks.

The nurse in the public sector added she cried happy tears when her little miracle was given to her about three weeks after he was born on December 17.

It was in early December when Nkantini was about halfway through her pregnancy and started to develop symptoms of coronavirus. She said she went for a pregnancy check up and suddenly felt very short of breath.

“I had a rapid Covid-19 test, and it came back negative. Still, I could not breathe and it was terrifying. I could not have X-rays or certain treatments for my symptoms because I was pregnant. My second Covid-19 test came back positive,” she said.

Nkantini was transferred to Netcare N1 City Hospital but soon after her arrival she lost consciousness and was placed on a ventilator in the hospital’s “red” zone dedicated to the care of Covid-19 positive patients.

“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.

“They told me my baby is in the NICU, but I was so overwhelmed,” she said.

The new mother said she had previously lost a baby who was delivered at 28 weeks and was feeling traumatised imagining this would happen again.

Nkantini was eventually discharged, while her baby remained in specialised life support and care, however during her emergency admission, Nkantini’s contact details and next-of-kin were outdated.

“We were very concerned about Nosipho, and when all else failed we contacted the local police, who promised to assist us in the search,” a spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, Nkantini was in despair at home and too terrified to call the hospital because she was convinced Oyena had died.

“I could not bear to have my worst fears confirmed. Christmas without him was terrible, I was so, so stressed,” she said.

Nkantini’s anxiety went into hyperdrive when the police arrived at her home and she thought they had brought bad news.

“I could not believe it when they told me my baby boy is fine and he is waiting for me in the hospital,” she said.

Once her isolation period was completed, the new mother was finally able to see her baby on January 4.

“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 he will soon grow strong enough to take him home,” Nkantini said.

The Star

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