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Mihlali Mangena   d.o.b 21st April 2010

Mihlali was born prematurely at 27 weeks to her 23yr old mom Nomonde who had pre-eclampsia. She was not breathing, had bleeding on the brain and spent almost 2 months in Neonatal ICU at Groote Schuur Hospital. This is her story, as told by her mom Nomonde Mangena.

I met Mihlali for the first time after 4 days later as I was sick too.  She was one of the smallest babies I have ever seen. I was very emotional, couldn’t imagine what I would do with a child that small. A lot of questions, would she be normal like other kids, was she going to survive? I felt a lot of guilt…what have I done bringing an unfinished child into this world. I had millions of question and very few answers…

She had jaundice twice meaning I could not hold her, she was helpless and all I could do was watch her and express milk and make sure she had more than enough for every feed. I was also struggling to produce milk. Doctors told me that my daughter wouldn’t survive without breast milk and I was given medication to help me with that. While I couldn’t produce milk, I was getting donated breast milk. I was in   hospital every day from 8am, I would KMC her for the entire day and leave hospital after 4pm due to public transport.

Having Mihlali was the scariest thing I’ve ever gone through, but she has become the miracle of my life.

She has taught me that things don’t always go the way you want them too and that just because things happen differently to what people consider to be norm, doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with them.

Mihlali is my norm now – 700 grams is my norm for a baby’s weight.

I love her more than words could ever describe. She has changed my perspective on how I view life and other children. 

No matter the weight of the baby, all these little people deserve the chance to make it in life and to appreciate the work done by the medical profession because without them, we wouldn’t be where we are.

I cannot begin to describe my gratitude for the work done by the doctors and    nursing staff at the Neonatal Unit at Groote Schuur Hospital, who do their best to     give all these little people a fighting chance to make it every day.

They went far beyond what I could have ever comprehended for us, and for that we are eternally grateful.