As a mother, the worst thing that could ever happen to you is losing a child. There are different levels of loss and mothers react differently to loss. This is the story of how Koketso Moloi gave birth to a sleeping baby.
There are two dates that I’ll never forget in my life, dates that have been engraved in my heart and my spirit. I have nothing else to hold on to so the dates are a very big substance.
First date is 2 January 2015. The morning of the 2nd, I decided to take yet another pregnancy test from much convincing from my sister-in-law. My partner and I had been trying to conceive so we had bought many pregnancy tests that turned out negative. We were tired of the disappointment. So I decided to take this particular one without telling him, and lo and behold it was positive! The best day of my life! I took a moment to shed a happy tear in the bathroom before going to the bedroom the share the news with my partner. We were the happiest we’d ever been.
But that happiness didn’t last long because I found myself lonely in the pregnancy. He attended all the doctor’s appointments but everything else seemed like it was forced. When you’re pregnant you need more than just company at the doctor’s office but all-round extra care. That’s the least our partners can do. I found myself comparing my situation with my friends who were also expecting at the time, only to find out their partners were treating them better than mine was. It made me really frustrated and unwanted. There were times when he would surprise me and do something nice but some nights he wouldn’t even come home. I would have to cry myself to sleep on weekends and it seemed like my baby could sense my pain and he would kick even harder during those times. That would somewhat comfort me.
Time went on and I had my baby showers, four to be exact; lol. I was already tired and huge so everything was a drag, but things still had to be done. I enjoyed all my showers, as tired as I was. Then I had to move back home as I was closer to the due date. My partner would call and visit and things seemed better during that time. It’s now August, my due month, and I’m just waiting to give birth. My partner’s visits are few and far I between but we continue. On the 9th of August I realised that the baby wasn’t as active as I’d known him to be. But I thought it was normal because we were closer to the due date and apparently they don’t move much then. On the 10th of August, my partner called and told me something that triggered me in a bad way, it sent me on an emotional tailspin! I didn’t take the news well, but I put it at the back of my mind.
But what had been top of mind was the fact that my baby was not active or moving, I drank cold water, slept on my left side and nothing worked. I told my mom that the baby wasn’t moving and she said we must immediately go to the doctor. My sister drove me and we asked my partner to meet us there. We arrived and the nurses started checking on us while the doctor took his precious time to arrive. I could tell that something wasn’t right but the nurses wouldn’t talk to me. They decided to speak to my sister and tell her that they cannot hear the heartbeat, her eyes were red with tears and she told them to keep trying. The doctor arrived and he too tried to find my baby’s heartbeat. Phemi was gone… My sweet little angel had departed before I could meet him.
I didn’t react, I didn’t go crazy. I thank God for the strength he gave me at that particular moment. I just held on to my tummy and told myself that “It is well…”
My doctor suggested I try and push the baby out because I would have the scar forever as a reminder if they cut me. And I have to say, it’s by God’s grace that I’m still here. I would’ve gone together with my Phemi. He was 5.4kg heavy and I had to push him out without his assistance, I passed out because it became too much to bear. I could hear noises from a distance… doctors mumbling about performing an emergency Caesarean. I eventually came to and they cut me open to take my baby out. And we discovered the cause of death was that he was tied at the throat by the umbilical cord. My partner told me that it is done, they had taken my baby out and that’s when it all dawned on me. My baby, whom I had carried for the past 9 months was no more. I kept wishing that by some miracle my baby would start crying. Flip! I cried! When I looked at him… beautiful baby boy, peacefully sleeping, like he could wake up any minute.
My partner was very supportive throughout. He stayed with me in the hospital, helped feed and bathe me. He stayed until I fell asleep and he would the first face I see when I wake up. I’m thankful that he showed up when it mattered. I eventually regained my strength bit by bit. They discharged me so I could attend Phemi’s funeral and afterwards, the healing process had to begin. I din’t deny the fact that I had gone through something very traumatic and I needed something bigger than me in order to come out on the other side. I don’t think I would’ve been able to get over what I went through in my own strength. God really saved me from myself, I don’t want to lie. I should’ve gone mad, I should’ve given up on life. I had invested my whole future and happiness in the seed that I was carrying. How do you feel as a mother when you don’t bring that into fruition? When your body fails you? I had experienced all the downs but I had to carry on.
Would I have handled any of the situations differently? No, I wouldn’t have. I think everything happened just as it was supposed to have happened. There’s no use in asking “Why me”? Because that would be ignoring the situation you’ve been served with. Asking “why me”? doesn’t remove trials from your life, it just prolongs the process of acceptance, healing and growth. The sooner you accept that this is what’s happening right now; I don’t like it, it’s painful and I just wanna die, the sooner you start to accept and heal. Of course I wanted to try and conceive again, I mean the best way to get over a loss is to find a replacement, right? Wrong. I quickly realized that wouldn’t work, especially so soon.
I gave myself one full year to mourn my baby and to work on finding happiness again. And did that to the best of my ability, I’ve even had to check myself into therapy to get help in some areas. I’ve had to actively do some internal work while mourning and finding peace.
My partner and I are no longer together but we share something special. Our baby didn’t live, but he was. He once was, his memory lives on forever.
The year has passed and I’m on the other side of grief. I feel like a flower! I’m in bloom, I radiate, I’ve grown. There’s something that loss teaches you. That as long as you’re alive, you continue. If you’ve still got breath in you, then you must live. It’s hard, but you still have a chance of a brighter day. It’s only over when you die. A part of me died when my baby died, but I was still breathing in and out, so I had to continue. For my sake.
To mothers who’ve given birth to sleeping angels, and little angels who never go to be born, even the ones who were born and stayed for a little while only to leave; we don’t heal to forget or move on. We heal to accept and marvel in the memories of times shared. We were lucky to have had those moments.