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Faith Lehmensich  d.o.b 19th July 2002

The day Reg and I found out I was pregnant we were overjoyed and scared at the same time at the new responsibility in our lives. Early on in my pregnancy I started bleeding, and by the time I was 3 months I had developed high blood pressure. I ended up with pre-eclampsia and was hospitalised in order to keep the pregnancy going as long as possible. An ultra sound showed that the umbilical cord was not feeding enough blood. Faith was not growing as she should have been and weighed only 640gr.  We were informed that babies this small do not usually survive, and if they do they may end up with severe problems.

It felt like our lives had just collapsed - I told my husband to take the cot down and put the baby things away as with all the negative info we had received we were preparing for the worst…and yet I could feel her kicking inside me and my heart just ached. Faith was born at 29 weeks via an emergency Caesar and weighed 640gr.  It felt like forever lying there wondering what the news would be about Faith and eventually a doctor came and said “Mrs Lehmensich, don’t worry - we are taking care of your baby.”

I just lay there alone crying, relieved and scared knowing that the road ahead was unknown to us and prayed she would be ok. When she was born they gave her only a 10% chance of survival - she had 2 blood transfusions and was in hospital for 3 long months. We eventually took her home when she weighed 1.7kg, and I did ongoing kangaroo mother care until she weighed 2kg and was able to keep her own body temperature stable.

Faith is 11 years old now, and she is the light of our lives. We thank God every day for this little miracle who has blessed our lives.  It has not been an easy 11 years, and I know there are still many more challenges to come. She has anxiety, and concentration difficulties.  Low muscle tone affects her gross and fine motor skills and she attends a school for children with learning disabilities. Besides the challenges we face every day, Faith is a bubbly, extraverted, full of life child that loves life, people, music, dancing and anything creative.  I don’t think anyone could really understand the emotions, and mental and physical strain having a premature baby holds.

She is our Gift from God, and I can just thank Him that our beautiful baby girl survived and that we have had the opportunity to learn and experience things we never would have through her. We thank all family and friends and especially Groote Schuur Neonatal Unit and all the Sisters and Doctors that contributed in helping her get home and will never forget them.

Reggie, Andrea and Faith Lehmensich