My pregnancy was normal for the most part. I had morning sickness, cravings and the tiredness that comes with any pregnancy. Things changed on December 31, 2014 when I was 31 weeks, I couldn’t feel the baby move. Everyone including my mom told me not to worry and that at this stage of pregnancy this sort of thing happens.
Two days later there was still no movement, at this point I was in full panic mode. I went to see my doctor and after a scan he told us that Omolemo had something called Gastroschisis (where the stomach stops forming and the bowel and/other organs form on the outside of the body). He then referred us to a Radiologist who confirmed this.
The heartache and stress we experienced from this stage was unbelievable. I couldn’t believe this was happening to me, I didn’t understand why but the love and grace of God pulled us through. After a lot of struggle with my medical aid and doctor who turned out not to be a gynaecologist but a general practitioner, we had very little time to find and secure a doctor who would deliver my baby But, Modimo Omolemo Thandolwethu Khang was born by C-section on 4 February 2015 at Lesedi Hospital in Soweto at 9:30am and he weighed 2.5kg, after I went into labour.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet him on his first day on earth because he was rushed to Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) as soon as he was born. He had to be put on a breathing tube right away as he was struggling to breath. He was later taken to theatre for his first surgery, where part of his intestine was cut out because they didn’t develop fully. The next few weeks were challenging, stressful and draining. Omolomo’s intestines were placed in a surgical bag to keep moist and the doctor advised that he would perform another surgery in a few days to place his intestines back into his body. This surgery happened when he was one week old.
He looked so fragile, but we were relieved that our son was holding steady. A week after the surgery the doctors decided he was ready to be introduced to milk slowly. But Omolemo’s troubles were far from over, two weeks after his second surgery he started vomiting a lot of the milk he was drinking and the doctor suspected that there was a blockage that had to be removed.
After numerous x-rays were done, they could locate the blockage and after Omolemo turned one month, he was taken back to theatre for the third time to remove the blockage. We were not able to hold Omolomo until he was 5 weeks old but we prayed and sang hymns to him every day.
On April 22, 2015 Omolemo was discharged, he was in hospital for 11 weeks before he was ready to come home. I can’t remember a time in my life when I prayed so much, the ups and downs that come with having your new born admitted in NICU require a lot of strength and faith. It is extremely difficult to understand when you are going through the middle of the hurricane, but once the storm passes you can see that it made you so much stronger and reflective as a person. I would never trade a moment with my son. Omolemo is like the sun; he brings warmth, light and unconditional love.
Now 2 years old, Omolemo is completely recovered from his Gastroschisis. His life will always be a reminder that faith and trust has power.