‘Let me go check and see if he’s alive’. Those were the words spoken by one of the nurses who was in the delivery room for the birth of our second son. How did this day become Saturday the 16th of January 2016 when we expected it to be the 16th of March 2016?
Let us begin at the start of this particular weekend which was 7pm on Friday, 15th January. When I got home that evening, I spent time with my wife (who was 7 months pregnant at the time) and my first born son who had just celebrated his 3rd birthday on the Monday of that week. As my day started at 4am every morning, I was usually ready for bed by 10pm. My wife on the other hand is a night owl so I kissed her goodnight and left her in peace. I remember her coming to bed at around 2am and as she was climbing into bed, she mentioned that she had some abdominal pain. We assessed the situation and despite the discomfort we didn’t think it was too serious and would attend to it later if the pain persisted.
I woke up at 4am to start my day with some meditation; thinking at length and at depth on the word of the LORD. I usually start my session by singing 3 worship songs but that morning was different as I took out my high school hymnal and sang all my favourite hymns. After my worship session I meditated on the following verses: “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfil?”
“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”
At about 6am I went back to our bedroom to find my wife awake and seated on our bed. She said that she was still in pain and to which I suggested, “Let’s call the OBGYN”. My wife was concerned that it was still a bit too early to call our OBGYN and would do so at a reasonable hour. She was in excruciating pain and yet she was being so considerate towards our OBGYN. The best thing we could do while we waited for time to pass was to embrace each other and worship the LORD. At 7am I popped out to the Sasol Delight! to buy some bread so that I could make our 3 year old son his scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast. On my way back from Sasol I had this feeling that we should go to the hospital. When I got home my wife had managed to fall asleep so I took that as a sign that the pain had subsided. An hour later my wife woke up, called our OBGYN and he advised her to go to the maternity ward at Olivedale Clinic for observation but did not seem too concerned. We took a decision to go to the maternity ward after our eldest son’s swimming lesson. As my son and I were at the gate heading to his swimming lesson, our nanny came out running and screaming to me to come back as there was a situation with my wife. I proceeded to run back into the house and found my wife crying, clutching her stomach and in a great deal of pain. As soon as I saw her, I grabbed the maternity bag that we had already packed in preparation for the 16th of March and with the assistance of our nanny, we got my wife into the car and headed to Olivedale Clinic as fast as I could drive.
Upon our arrival my wife was admitted into the maternity ward and the nursing staff on duty began examining her and monitoring the foetal heartbeat. During the examination I noticed that my wife’s tummy did not look like the well-rounded pregnant belly I had become accustomed to over the last 7 months and it was at this point my wife screamed out in pain (she had been in pain the whole time). The nurse dropped everything and ran out of the ward to make a phone call. When she got off the phone she informed my wife and I that she suspected my wife had just suffered a Uterine Rupture and that my wife had to undergo an emergency C-Section. Uterine rupture is when the uterus tears and can result in the baby being expelled into the peritoneal cavity, which is the area that contains the intestines, the stomach and the liver. A uterine rupture can be a life-threatening childbirth complication for both the mother and the baby as it can cause major blood loss or haemorrhage for the mother and the baby can get suffocated. The situation was so serious that the nursing staff did not have the chance to prep my wife for the procedure. We had to move fast as the OBGYN on call was already waiting in theatre. My wife was panic-stricken and I heard her say to me, “ Lundi, I am scared! Pray for me.” So I prayed, “Heavenly Father remove the spirit of fear in Yolo’s heart and keep her eyes focused on you. You are in control – Amen!” We arrived in theatre and the OBGYN and the medical staff rushed to my wife’s assistance and I was told to go get changed into scrubs.
I changed into scrubs and as I was making my way to my wife and the medical team I realized that I needed to call family to let them know about the situation. I called my mom first and then my brother in law. “Sbari, Yolo and I are at the hospital and we have this situation……..” and that’s when one of the nurses signalled to me to step into the theatre as they were delivering the baby. I cut the call with my brother-in-law mid-conversation and rushed to my wife.
I was never ready for what I walked into. As I walked in, the OBGYN laid our son on the table. I noticed his skin was leprous, white as snow and his body appeared lifeless as if there was no blood in it. Next, I looked over to where my wife was. Instead of seeing her beautiful face, they had covered her with a white sheet and this reminded me of the body bags I saw on the show CSI. I was hit with confusion. What is going on here?! As I was still trying to figure out what I had walked into, one of the nurses offered me a seat. As I was sitting down, the paediatrician took our son across the room into a corner. The nurse who had offered me a seat returned and asked me “Do you want to take pictures?” I was confused by this as my new-born had appeared lifeless! I asked “Is my son even alive?” To which she responded “Let me go check and see if he’s alive”.
That’s when I realized that I was in the middle of an invisible war and I remembered the lessons I had learnt from a book with the same title by Chip Ingram. My key takeaway from the book was that the devil uses overwhelming circumstances, situations and events to keep our eyes off The Most High God. That’s when I decided to keep my eyes above my current experience and focus on Messiah by reminding myself of his word from that morning’s meditation; ‘God is not human, that he should lie – Does he promise and not fulfil? And he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature’. I decided to get up from the chair and go see what was happening to my son. As I got up from the chair I was mouthing the following lyrics from Hillsong Worship – ‘Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me.’ I prayed, “Lord let this boy be alive when I get there”.
When I made it across the room to where my son was, the Paediatrician had an apparatus held to my son’s mouth which seemed to be pumping air into his lungs. “He has a faint heart beat but he’s not breathing on his own”, he informed me. As I made sense of this, I overheard the OBGYN telling the medical staff that my wife was losing blood-a lot of it. That’s when I turned to my son and said to him, “Ave’thandwa! I cannot lose you and your mom today – breathe!” As if he had heard my desperate plea he yelled out his first cry and started breathing on his own. Relief! As the Paediatrician and nurses took Ave’thandwa to the neo natal ICU, I followed (on the way to theatre, my wife had instructed that no matter what happened, I would remain with our son). The last words I heard as I walked out the theatre were the OBGYN saying, “We’re doing better mom”. That gave me enough hope to hold onto that my wife would pull through.
It would be another 45 minutes before I saw my wife again. My wife had been put under general anaesthetic to deliver our son as there had not been enough time for a spinal epidural due to the urgency of the medical situation. She had not been conscious to witness the birth of our son and the chaos that had ensued in the theatre. As I was telling her the story, the OBGYN knocked on the door of our maternity ward suite and stepped in. I recall her words,”Mom and Dad, we have just witnessed a medical miracle. What just happened is not supposed to happen! The reason you were in excruciating pain is that the baby had ruptured your uterus and he was lying in your abdomen.” She went on to tell us that had we arrived at the hospital any later than we had both my wife and son would most likely have lost their lives. My aunt, who is a medical doctor and whom my mom had called to our aid walked into our room soon after the emergency OBGYN had left. As she walked in she exclaimed, “Bantwana bam (‘My children’ in isiXhosa), time of admission is 09:15 and time of birth is 09:29 – what happened here?!” What happened is that we had just lived through a miracle! My wife and I shared the testimony of God’s mercy, grace and awesome deeds from that morning.
Our second son’s name in isiXhosa is Ave’thandwa uThixo kweli Khaya (YAHUAH is so loved in this home) but as a five and a half year old, he reckons his name is Ave’thandwa uYesu kweli Khaya (Mashiach is so loved in this home). HalleluYah 🙌🏽