It’s 1:45 a.m. June 8, 2023. It’s been more than 24 hours since I was wheeled out of the delivery room with nothing but a blurred glimpse of my beautiful miracle baby boy.
All the other mothers around me are either asleep or are sitting in the quiet with their babies beside their bed. But there is no cot or baby next to me. Instead, I sit with a hospital pump attempting to get some milk expressed and getting more tears than milk it seems……
More than 24 hours have gone by since I was awake, but I remember my legs warm and numb, my face cool and tingling in the operating theatre. I felt the pulling and tugging, I heard Dr Elias say “hello cutie” in the gentlest tone and then there was silence.
I know my heart refused to beat at that moment, and the anaesthesiologist gently rested her hand on my forehead as if trying to get me to calm down. I heard in my mind the voice of another doctor who said to me a few days before “Marcia, this is not what we wanted to see. These scans look completely different to what we were seeing up to two weeks ago. I’m seeing fluid around his heart, and maybe even around a spot behind his head. If he’s born with difficulties, they won’t bother to put him on any machines or anything. They’ll probably just leave him to go. Let’s make arrangements for you to come in tomorrow for a counselling session with Paediatrics….”
I saw myself as I walked out of the hospital that day, dazed, walking down the hill in the pouring rain, crossing the road on both sides of the dual carriageway, and heading up the hill to the car park where my husband looked at me confused and shocked.
“Marcia, what happened? Why would you walk through the rain? Why aren’t you saying anything? Why’d you take so long after you called me to come pick you up?”
Here I am now, after what seemed like an eternity, I heard the silence of the room filled with the tiniest little gurgling followed by his whimpering cry. THANK YOU, JESUS!
Tuesday, June 6, 2023 and Aleem Rapha Mohamed made his debut. The prayers of literally hundreds of people ANSWERED.
My mind went back to the meeting with Paediatrics, when I said to that doctor, “My son is a fighter, just like me. I’ve fought for him and with him for 38 weeks already. I’m not giving up. He’s not giving up and I’m not allowing anyone to tell me that they’re giving up on him in the last week. I’ve done my research; I’ve spoken to the parents of the international Trisomy Foundation. All you’ll have is a DNA screening test – NOT A CONFIRMED DIAGNOSIS. Doctors took an oath to save lives and I will accept nothing less for my son. All I’m asking, all we as his parents are asking is for him to be given a chance – pleeeeease.”
Dr Voisin looked at us and assured us that Aleem would in fact have a well-qualified team awaiting his arrival and they were going to do everything in their power to save him, the same way they would any other baby.
The neonatologist that I had been asking about for weeks, I was finally told, is stationed in POS General Hospital, and can be accessed if required. Another victory for my prayer warriors.
He is here – almost four pounds, his name even bigger than him it seems. ‘Aleem’ meaning ‘strong and wise’, ‘Rapha’ from the Hebrew name Raphael meaning ‘the one who is healed’.
This same child that was labelled ‘Incompatible with Life’ and who they said wouldn’t even make it past the first trimester is here 39 weeks later. The heart that they said would be weak came out beating stronger than ever. This tiny human that they said wouldn’t have any signs of life once he left the womb came out and breathed on his own.
My recovery after surgery, because of unforeseen terrible scar tissue damage from before, has been slow and painful. One blood transfusion so far and still battling low blood count and high blood pressure.
I haven’t been able to get to the NICU and Aleem can’t leave to get to me. But, as much as my heart aches to get to my baby, as much as I look around at everyone else with their babies, I am still overwhelmed with gratitude.
God brought us the mountains, but he continues to take us over them. Aleem’s challenges are very real and I’m fully aware that this is my biggest test becoming a TESTIMONY.
From Day one, I said man and doctors can say anything from a place of science, but MY GOD is always the one with the final and most important say. I have continued to receive favour in the form of earthly angels reaching out and showing up every time, and as my body continues to heal, my spirit is being poured into.
I hope that later I will be strong enough to get to the ‘red man’ on the other side of this building and remind him that while he may be all alone in the incubator, he is surrounded by the most amazing village that continues to pray for him.
He’s got sisters, a brother, parents and an infinite number of uncles and aunties whose love for him transcends logic since they’ve never even met him.
God continues to be the author of this story; my greatest early birthday present continues to show us that he is but a cub in age but already has the heart and resilience of a lion.