Drug bought two vital weeks to help little fighter Aino survive
Six months of prayer, a mighty fighting spirit and Viagra have been credited for the miraculous survival of a tiny 26-week baby, born weighing just 650g.
On Sunday (09/04/17) little Aino Entle will finally go home with mom Thandi Msizi-Mbete, 28, and dad Mcebisi Mbete, 32.
Born on October 5, her name Aino is Finnish and means the special one.
Thandi said yesterday: “She came into the world saying: ‘I am here to stay’.”
Cute little Aino was seen yesterday sporting a tiny mohawk as nurses had to shave the side of her head so they could insert drips.
“Her hair suits her attitude,” Thandi said, laughing.
“She is amazing. She has the strength of an elephant. There were some days that this little person was stronger than we were,” Mcebisi said.
In September Thandi’s obstetrician became concerned that her baby, then only 24 weeks along, was not growing well.
“I had pregnancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia,” she said.
“She was too small to be born yet, so Dr [Pieter] Marais started giving me Viagra. It worked for me and for the baby.”
Viagra dilates the blood vessels.
However, when Aino was 26 weeks, Marais had to perform an emergency caesarian when Thandi’s condition took a turn for the worse.
“It was then that we first met Dr Greg Boden,” she said on Friday.
“He performed miracles. “When Aino was born she was breathing on her own.
“That surprised even Dr Boden, but then she got tired of breathing.
“Her lungs collapsed and she had to be placed on machines to help her breathe.”
Aino then received 17 blood transfusions.
She was in an incubator for three months.
“She was so tiny I couldn’t even hold her,” Thandi said.
“I could only touch her while wearing gloves. She was so tiny she fitted into my hand.
“But she had the same birthday as my mom, Nompumezo Msizi, and I held onto that. For me that was a good sign.”
Boden came round to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Life St George’s Hospital yesterday morning to check on his patient, who was dressed for the occasion in a tiny pink Easter Bunny suit.
He said she was well enough to go home.
“Look after my baby well,” he said to her parents.
Thandi said the most precious moment for her had been when she first held her baby, when she was three months old.
“She looked like a tiny little mouse. I just put her on my chest. She was so small.”
Mcebisi said he had soon been roped in to help out with kangaroo care (where the baby is given skin-to-skin contact) when his wife was not available.
“I was a bit uncomfortable at first. I always thought this was a thing that only women did, but I soon got the hang of it,” he said.
Thandi said they were incredibly grateful that their baby had been spared many of the common, often fatal, conditions that micropreemies developed.
“She didn’t have a brain bleed or intestinal problems,” Thandi said.
“They only thing that happened to her was that she lost her voice because her vocal cords became inflamed as she had be ventilated for so long.
“But Dr Boden said this will soon get better.
“She sounded like a tiny bird when she was born. I can’t wait for my baby to cry again.
“I think our faith is one of the things that got us through,” Mcebisi said.
“We prayed for this child every day,” Thandi said.
“We received incredible support from our family and from the nurses and doctors at the NICU.
“There were days that I could only talk to myself, just telling myself that all would be ok.
“I would go into the foyer and read stories of incredible survivals and I just kept on saying: ‘It will all be ok’.”