Unscripted love Chapter 94 - Mzansi Stories

Saturday, September 10


Unscripted love Chapter 94


Our Little Miracle
Everything happened so fast and agonisingly slow at the same time. I saw the wave of cold shock registered on everybody’s faces when they looked at the tiny blue baby. The gynaecologist, paediatrician and Emily were huddled around Hailey-Hope’s miniature body trying to resuscitate her. All the words they threw around were nothing more than a mumbled blur that I couldn’t decipher.
“She is suffering from asphyxia after a placental bleed but s-she is going to be fine.” My mother said as if that was meant to mean something to me.
“What does that mean?” Levi asked.

“The baby's brain and other organs weren’t getting enough oxygen during and right after birth. This happened because your placenta separated from your uterus too soon.” The midwife jumped in.
“Again, what does that mean?” Levi probed.
The midwife let out a deep sign. “The amount of harm to the new born depends on how long and how severe the period of asphyxia is. Babies with mild or moderate asphyxia may recover fully. Babies whose cells did not get enough oxygen for a longer time may have permanent injury to their brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, bowels or other organs.
Your baby is premature so the damage may lead to cerebral palsy, developmental disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or impaired sight. In the most severe cases, asphyxia can lead to organ failure and death.” She said.
The whole world vanished for me, now there was only pain enough to break me, pain enough to change me beyond recognition. All hope was lost when all the panic buttons were pressed and an army of medical professionals descended in the room.
I cried like there was too much raw pain inside me to be contained. Like my spirit needed to break loose from my skin, desperate to release an elemental rage on the world. The soothing words of my doula, the nurses whose eyes were now glossy made no difference at all. I was beyond all reason, beyond all natural methods of calming.
She was my daughter, my only child and she could not die. Levi tried to hold me back, to calm me and assure me that the doctors were doing the best they could, even as his own eyes turned blood red but in my hysteria I was too robust, too desolate.
My mother held my hand and erupted in prayer. Her upper body and shoulders wracked with every sob that forced their way out, chest rising and falling unevenly as she gasped for breath in-between petitions for God to show mercy. I tumbled to my knees, intent on praying but I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think, I couldn’t stop weeping like she was already pronounced dead.
“It’s been 20 minutes. She isn’t going to wake up.” One voice said.
“Even if she’d started breathing, the damage would have been too severe and she probably would have had cerebral palsy. It’s sad but it is better to die than live like a cripple.” Another said.
I dissolved in the kind of despair that can take one's mind prisoner and never give it back.
Emily shoved her way past the army to get closer to her first grandchild that was born still. “Don’t you dare give up! We cannot give up!” She roared and continued with the chest compressions in an attempt to get her to breathe.
I opened my mouth to call out to God, but not a sound came out, my head violently quivered as if there was a drill to the back of my skull. My eyes lost all sight of what was and what could have been. My mouth was open, letting out an eternal silenced scream.
I could feel myself unravelling with each second that passed. The threads of every happy memory I expected to experience when I saw my child for the first time, all but a disarray of strings scattered about my feet. My sharp knees dug into the bed, my free hand unsteady as it silently clawed at the dirty sheets.
“God.” The whispered word escaped Levi’s quivering lips. “If you really brought Jesus and Lazarus back from the dead please bring Hailey-Hope back to life. Please. We will not survive this.” A single tear streamed down his cheeks, his whole face was red, and each word was nothing more than a whisper.
I watched Levi as if life was passing in slow motion. His feeling of elation, excitement, and pride that he had as a father-to-be ready to meet his daughter on her day of delivery, had vanished with the words, “She’s not breathing."
I reached for my husband and pulled his head into my chest, with the doula and a nurse staring silently at us, my mother still praying. Levi and I wept. Our worst nightmare had come true. I said I was sorry. I was so so sorry.
Hailey-Hope spluttered and coughed. Our heads shot up but I couldn’t see much past the bodies surrounding her. She opened her mouth to cry but all she could manage was a quiet snuffling at first. Within minutes a new born cry filled the room and her father burst into tears of relief and joy.
He turned his glossy eyes to me and in a voice that was almost broken he told me we had a beautiful daughter that was perfect. Even if she’d suffered permanent injury, she would still perfect to us.
He said this again two weeks later when we were told that we could hold her for the first time. Through my exhaustion I smiled and I let my eyes leave Levi’s face to take in the baby that was being brought to lay on my chest. In that moment I began to cry the sweetest tears I’d ever known, all the pain of moments before melted away.
It was as if only sunshine existed the world, as if all the earth was ushered into harmony. I looked into those new eyes, a new consciousness, perfect and reaching out for my love. In that instant I knew I would do anything to protect my child, that my love for her was as vast as the universe yet solid as rock.
Tiny fingers curled around Levi’s pinkie. We watched our little miracle peer through brand new eyes at what must be such a strange world after life in the womb and incubator. Excitement, hormones, and anxiety fuelled me; we'd barely slept since my water broke two weeks ago and it felt so good to just hold her. My face hurt from smiling. I wanted the world to stop and celebrate this moment with us.
We’d sit gazing at our baby for hours while she lay in her incubator. Levi and I couldn’t see a resemblance to either of us but my father claimed that she looked like her father. I didn’t see it. Then again, people thought Futhi and I looked like twins but I couldn’t see that either. Now that she was so close I could see my husband’s nose and my eyes, like God took the best parts of us to create a new being.
Her legs kicked in a tiny jagged motion, looking for that resistance they were used to I guess, but finding nothing but air. I wondered if that was unsettling or a relief, it must have been pretty cramped in my womb. When she stretched, her hands barely rose above her head and I thought of how strange we'd all look if we kept those body proportions as we grew.
I wanted to drink in the moment in, this moment with my little girl in my hands. Her eyes were more brilliant than I could have dreamed they would be, her hands more delicate. She felt so light, looked so beautiful and smelled so divine. I couldn’t believe how tiny new humans are, how vulnerable, how awe inspiring. She was perfect.
My husband held our little human to his shoulder and she was smaller than a bag of sugar. Tiny feet peeked from her pink fluffy blanket, dangling in the summer breeze. I would soon learn that would be regular site because Levi was a baby hog.
Our smiles grew wider when the doctor told us that her days of staying in a glass box were behind her. All was well but she wanted to keep her in the hospital for observation.
“Awwww bakithi uMakhosazana kagogo. [Makhosazana, grandma’s little girl.]” I heard a shriek from behind us when we were sitting in my hospital room.
My mother and Futhi laughed as they followed closely behind.
“Makhosazana?” I asked when I fell into my grandmother’s open arms.
“Ehe. Angiyizwa indaba yabo Hile mina, nizenza abelungu abam’nyama. [Yes. I don’t get this Hile name, you are behaving like black white people.]”
I laughed. “Hailey-Hope, gogo.”
“Khona lokho. [That.] uMakhosazana lo. [This is Makhosazana.]”
My sister looked on as she put a fresh bouquet of flowers in my vase and said, “She is so tiny. I’d hold her but I am scared of breaking her.”
My grandmother giggled and turned to Levi. “Can I hold the baby?”
The room was soon filled with laughter when Levi reluctantly handed the baby over and gave my grandmother strict instructions on how to hold Hailey-Hope like he was the expert when she raised twelve kids.
Breastfeeding was shockingly painful. She was like an alligator clawing on my nipples. Plus, the cycle was relentless; Hailey-Hope nursed for an hour, followed by a diaper change and being soothed to sleep - and an hour later her thin, delicate wail signalled she was hungry again. I was grateful to have my mother and my grandmother there to guide me.
They also shared their pearls of knowledge a young lady I shared the room with. Vangile and I were different in so many ways, but there was a common denominator: we were both mothers to fragile new-borns, and we were petrified. After giving birth to actual human beings which led to everything being sore, vacationing hormones, no sleep, and a serious case of ‘what do I do with this baby’, I was glad to see someone else who had the same fears.
We bonded quickly, exchanged numbers and became Facebook friends. It didn’t matter that in our before baby life, the chances of us crossing paths, much more forming a friendship, were slim. It did not even matter that we knew each other for less than 35 minutes before we decided that we wanted to see more of each other in the months to come. There was something about connecting over a shared experience, especially one as overwhelming and momentous as new parenthood, that made forging the friendship seem easier.
The masses caught wind of the news that the miracle baby was out of the NICU and descended to the hospital. They gushed over the little soul and came bearing gifts, flowers, cards, prayers and well wishes. I was overwhelmed by the way they adored the little one. Seeing how much my daughter was loved by uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents, old colleagues and friends made my heart swell and I found myself crying happily.
I was shocked when Thato was among those that came to see me and the baby. I couldn’t help but ask about my old job at the law firm but the position was filled. He mentioned that he was looking for a PA and asked if I was interested. I wasn’t interested in being someone’s glorified errand girl.
“You won’t be a glorified errand girl. I might ask you to deliver flowers here and there but its real work. Presentations, typing up letters to clients, travelling.” He argued.
“Not a chance.”
Thato dropped it and filled me in on all the office gossip before my grandmother started cross examining him about his life, family and spiritual beliefs. My eyes popped out of their sockets when she showed him a picture of Sbahle and went on and on about how compatible they were.
I wanted to dissolve when she went on to gave him Sbahle’s number. He took the number but I highly doubted that he’d actually call.
Khumo came with Kagiso and Nthato who let it slip that Kagiso and Khumo were basically living together so he was thinking of moving out and actually buying his own place. This came as news to me because Khumo never came over when Levi and I were squatting there.
I was told that Khumo kept her distance because she did not want to stress me out unnecessarily while I was pregnant and working through what had happened, which was thoughtful of her.
She’d apologised to me over and over again and made it clear that she did not know that Sandiso was my ex, she acknowledged that she shouldn’t have divulged personal information about me to a stranger and she was not interested in seeing Levi’s penis again. I figured if Kagiso could forgive Khumo for her one night stand with Sandiso so could I.
I called truce with Khumo after she apologised for the hundredth time and bribed me with an outfit she made for mini me. At the end of the day, she was dating my husband’s closest friend so we were going to see a lot of each other. I also didn’t want any negative energy around my daughter.
Sbahle came to see me that evening even though she was jet lagged from her two week long Belgium retreat. I really missed her. She was on the flight when I was giving birth and she wanted to come back the next day when she heard what’d transpired. I told her I’d disown her if she came home prematurely. I didn’t want anyone other than parents around during those two weeks of uncertainty, even Forgiveness was sent packing. I didn’t want to put on a brave face and I didn’t want anybody’s pity.
“Guess what?” the question came rolling out of my mouth as soon as Sbahle walked in the room. “Khumo and Kagiso are not only back together, but they are living together.” I didn’t even wait for her to guess.
“Can you just let me settle in before you start throwing grenades?” She joked and walked over to me to kiss my cheeks in greeting.
Sbahle: Didn’t she smash Sandiso while they were dating?
“Yes. He forgave her and they are taking things slow.” I stated, raising my hands to put the words in quotation marks.
Levi chuckled to himself in the corner, waking Hailey-Hope up in the process. “I think I’m gonna go and get some food and move some of our stuff over to my mother’s house while you two gossip.” He said.
He gave me a kiss and gave Sbahle a tutorial on how to hold the baby before handing over his precious cargo. Sbahle took Hailey-Hope from Levi and sank on the seat he’d just vacated. She didn’t seem to mind Levi’s over protectiveness over his child as he corrected her posture before he left.
“You are moving in with his mother?” Sbahle asked as soon as Levi was out of the door. “I thought you were going to stay with my aunt for a month or two, she got a room ready and everything.”
Me: I want to go home but Emily had a long chat with me and I realise that I can’t put Hailey-Hope’s life at risk by insisting on going to Durban. Fact is, she is sick. Her doctors are here. Her hospital is here and her house is closer so we will get here faster if there is an emergency. It’s also better to live in a house with people who will know exactly what to do if she stops breathing in the middle of the night.
Sbahle: Aunty Maria is a nurse. Doesn’t she know how to resuscitate a baby?
I shook my head, “No. Both of us won’t know what to do if Hailey-Hope stops breathing again. On the bright side, mom is also going to be moving in there with me so it’s not like she is totally out of the picture and Joel is in Austria on secondment for 4 months so he is not around. Thank God.”
Sbahle: I am guessing you don’t like Joel?
Me: I don’t. I also don’t like the idea of living in that house but look at her. I would never forgive myself if something happened to her.
She looked at the baby in her hands. “You are right. She is tiny kodwa that doesn’t take away from the fact that she is so cute bantu ununuza,” she admired. “I can tell that she is going to be a heartbreaker, such cuteness.”
I tittered. “Just like her aunt that has two men wrapped around her finger. How was the trip with Kwame?”
Her face lit up at the sound of his name, she was so smitten by this dude. “Knowing how dirty your mind is I know you want to know if we had copious amounts of sex and no. There was no sex, no oral sex, no back door sex, no finger sex just no sex in anyway shape or form. Just constant fighting and bickering,” she stated.
Me: About the engagement?
Sbahle: Girl, I am late.
My eyebrows knotted. “Late as in Hailey-Hope’s cousin is on the way?”
Sbahle: Yes. I’m three weeks late.
“So who is the father? Alu or Kwame?” I asked innocently.
She grabbed one of Hailey-Hope’s teddy bears and playfully threw it at me. “What kind of skank do you think I am? Alu and I always use condoms. Kwame and I stopped using condoms centuries ago. I switched to the patch recently and I must have miscalculated the weeks or something.”
Me: So what did Kwame say when you told him?
She silently assessed the baby for a moment. “Kwame told me to take care of it.”
Me: Take care of it as in have an abortion?
She nodded her response. “First he gave me a long lecture about how I was supposed to make sure that something like that didn’t happen then he told me to take care of it.”
Me: Are you….. going to get rid of it? Wait, did you take a pregnancy test?
“I’m never late, Thando. Never. I don’t need a test to tell me what I already know. I am pregnant, look at this zit,” she said, pointing a finger at a minuscule pimple that I didn’t even notice until she pointed it out.
“I think I need a microscope to see your zit.” We both laughed at my response.
Me: On a serious note though, what are you going to do? Surely Alu needs to know about this.
“I do not know what I’m gonna do. This whole situation made me realise that Kwame doesn’t respect me and any talks about a future are nothing more than a pipe dream. He went on and on like I purposefully fell pregnant to end his marriage. Conveniently forgetting that he was stuck with her for the sake of the kids.
He shipped me off to another hotel like I had leprosy and only came to see me the day before we had to leave to give me my passport which he held captive so that I couldn’t leave, my ticket and shit on me for not taking the necessary precautions to make sure that I don’t conceive.
Who drags someone halfway across the world only to abandon them in a hotel that only provides breakfast? Who does shit like that? What would have happened if I didn’t have my own damn money to feed myself?” The tears she was trying to hold back fell thick and fast.
I swung my feet over the bed to walk over to her but she stopped me. “No. Please just stay in bed. I am not crying. I am done crying over that man.”
“You are crying.” I said softly as I rose. She didn’t try stop me as I put the baby in the cot and enveloped her in a hug.
“I am done with Kwame.” She mumbled in the crook of my neck in-between sobs.
I wished I could believe that it was really over between the two but we’d been here so many times before.
Just when we were about to attend to the baby that started crying, Emily burst in through the door. Her mouth was raised into a smile and her steps had a bounce to them. Behind her trailed a mass of gay balloons, jostling in the brilliant night lights, each as beautiful as the next. I almost didn’t see my husband hidden under all those balloons.
“What’s all of this?” I asked, picking up the baby.
“Hailey-Hope is coming home tomorrow. I don’t know how this happened but she has made a full recovery. Given the amount of time that passed before she took her first birth we were expecting the worst but all the tests indicate that everything is fine. Her doctors can’t even explain it.” She beamed.
“God not only brought her back to life but he healed her. What happened is nothing short of a miracle, that’s the only way to explain it.” Levi said simply.
I looked up to the heavens and thanked God before curling my hands around our little miracle. At last I could breathe. I could release the stress of the last two weeks, let it float away into obscurity. Happiness flowed through me, warming my skin like the rays of an early summer sun. My customary cautious grin exploded into a radiant smile that I had never worn before, not even as a small girl. Even Emily’s glittery "I am a grandma" badge couldn't outshine my smile.

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