The festive season is upon us once again and it has been a turbulent year, full of ups and downs in all spheres of life. However, no matter how bad things can be we need to take time out and count our blessings.
In that vein, Saturday Herald Lifestyle tracked some of the country’s “miracle” babies. Yes miracles still happen and the testimonies attest to this!
Zimbabweans have remained a kind people as evidenced by the support that the miracle babies received. We still have a sense of Ubuntu although bad apples can be found here and there.
We have a beautiful story of Manqoba Mabhena who in 2016 was diagnosed with a rare condition known as biliary atresia. She was in need of a liver transplant and the matching donor was in the person of her biological father Lawson Mabhena.
There was need for an emergency surgery to be done in India, money had to be raised while her condition kept deteriorating.
As Manqoba turns 3 on December 17, the mother stands in awe as she marvels at the miracle she almost lost. Shamiso Yikoniko still vividly recalls how numb she was when she first received the news of the rare condition her then five-month-old baby had.
“It was overwhelming and even the explanation of the condition was very scary. I first got to know of her condition when she was five-months-old and I still remember how confused and scared I was the day I got her results.
“To think I drove to pick her results but when I got them, I totally forgot about the car and walked back to work from the Avenues area. I was so confused and feared for the worst.”
She chronicles how she started to do more research on the condition and how she finally got linked to doctors in India who could do the surgery but they needed $60 000 for the transplant, which was a mammoth task for the family.
“We did not have such kind of money and we had to fundraise to save our girl. The first miracle was when we got $100 000 within a month. This money came from all walks of life and we are forever grateful.
“Her condition was deteriorating and by the time the money had been raised and were ready to leave for India, her liver was failing. When we got to India, she was to first stay in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for two weeks before she was transferred to a bigger health institution due to the complicating nature of the condition.
“Before the surgery was done, she was in ICU for a month and we had been told to prepare for the worst as the surgeons were giving up on the surgery given the deteriorating condition. Her hepatic portal vein blocked and medically they declared her dead,” chronicles Yikoniko.
Yikoniko is a health journalist herself but the experience she had with her daughter has given her more appreciation of the medical field.
She also recalls how one surgeon informed them that they were willing to go ahead with the surgery but advised them of possible complications.
“On November 28, 2016 she went into surgery together with her father who was her donor. From 8am to 1015pm, the two were in surgery and all I could do was pray.
“I was so relieved when the surgeon and told me that the surgery had been complicated but successful. She was to spend another month in ICU and by then she was improving.
“Initially when we left for India, we were supposed to stay for a month but due to the complications we ended up spending more than three months. That was also eating into our pockets, exhausting all the funds that had been raised.
“When she was finally discharged, a shortfall of $20 000 had been accrued. When we were still wondering where we would get that money, I got a call that a sum of $20 000 had been raised back home and that was another miracle.”
The journalistic couple had been told to prepare for the worst but here they are, celebrating Christmas with this miracle baby.
Edith WeUtonga, renowned woman bassist, singer has always had a reputation of being strong especially when she invaded the previously male dominated area of playing the bass guitar. Despite her strength, she also thought her world was crumbling when her then five-month-old baby Madalitso Mjanana was diagnosed with a severe heart defect in 2013.
His condition was fast deteriorating while WeUtonga and her husband Elton Mjanana faced a mammoth task of raising money to undergo surgery in India before he turned 1 or else they risked losing him.
Fast-forward to 2018, the boy is now a bubbly 6-year-old due for Grade One this coming year and WeUtonga says Madalitso is a miracle she looks at everyday.
“When we first got to know of the condition, we started preparing ourselves to lose him.
“Doom was certain according to what the doctors were saying, if he did not get emergency surgery.
“People from all walks of life I can never mention all of them by name and some whom I don’t even know to this day, helped us raise money for his surgery. The surgery on its own was a miracle, imagine having the heart opened, fixing and closing it. The surgeons were used of God.
“Madalitso is our miracle and when I look at him each day, I know God is with us. We are also forever grateful for people who came at our point of need,” she says.
The musician says today Madalitso is a very hyperactive boy who is all over the place even during public gatherings.
“Who would have imagined that he would grow up to be this hyperactive? He just turned six and is preparing to start Grade One, he is a healthy bubbly boy who is very daring.
“As we celebrate Christmas, we celebrate this miracle and thank God and people from all walks of life who stood with us during the trying times.”