Baby Mazine Smile, who underwent intensive medical treatment after weighing a mere 750 grams when she was born in December, fought against all odds and finally went home after a challenging recovery process.
Obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Bezile Langa said mother, Busiswa Smile, went into labour when she was only 25 weeks pregnant which was three weeks away from what was accepted as viable in South Africa. Now weighing 2.1kg, the neonatal unit staff in the Life Queenstown Private Hospital celebrated Mazine’s miraculous recovery.
Paediatrician Dr Fikile Ngqotso, who could not contain her emotions, labelled Mazine as her ‘miracle baby’. “At 25 weeks, most of the organs in our bodies are very immature, starting from the brain to the lungs, the heart, intestines, everything including your immune system. When she was born, we tried to mimic the uterine environment as much as we could. We gave Survanta, we kept nil per os and started feeding via drips. We then started prophylactic antibiotics and were monitoring her recovery on a daily basis. She stayed with me in my neonatal intensive care unit. We did chest x-rays to monitor the lungs and initiated small feeds just for the gut to open until I was suspicious that she had a small hole in the heart and I was struggling with her long lines as well.”
Ngqotso said the baby, at the time, weighed about 1kg and she had to get an echocardiogram to make sure there were no issues. She was then transferred to Gqeberha where she was admitted for a month. Ngqotso, who used to work at Dora Nginza Hospital, said her confidence in managing micro premature babies came from her experience working in the hospital’s paediatric and neonatal unit from 2013. She said although Mazine’s road to recovery was not smooth, her fighting ability kept everyone going.
“The brain is normal, the eyes and lungs are good. I am so happy, she actually made my day. She was one of the strongest premature babies from the beginning, she fought and she gave hope. Yes, she would have abnormal results and look very septic but she would respond very quickly and improve. It was quite a challenge to manage her, she was not a smooth, stable patient but she never gave me a reason to lose hope,” said Ngqotso.
She added that when a video of healthy baby Smile was sent to her by her mother before their arrival in Komani, she was reminded of Busiswa’s desperate plea to save her baby’s life. “She was aware of the complications, but her faith in me was one thing that kept me going,” she said.
Smile, who is also a mother to a 13-year-old boy, had a miscarriage when she was only two months into her second pregnancy in 2018. “Mazine then came after we tried to have another baby and I was okay up to a point.” She said although there were concerns about her survival, she trusted that her baby would make it. “It was painful and I would cry profusely. I would act as if I was okay even though I was not, but I tried to be strong for my child’s sake. My baby also showed me that she was willing to fight, one of the things that gave me hope.” Smile thanked everyone who had assisted in her journey.
“Medicine can explain things, but nature and God can sometimes decide otherwise,” stated Dr Langa.