"just Hold Your Baby And Love Him, Because He Won't Make It Through The Night.."

Not quite sure where to start this page, perhaps to draw from one of my Squidoo Lenses, http://www.squidoo.com/aiden-my-son,  where I am involved in numerous activities trying to raise awareness for various sitations and organisations.  In any event against all odds, my sono recently turned 4 years old.  At 8 weeks I was told he would not make it through the night......... He helped me make this video for his birthday


Perhaps best to start at the beginning, in the hope that anyone who visits this page, watches the videos and reads the information will find it in their hearts to consider donating to UNICEF, an organisation that undertakes, at great expense, projects throughout Africa and the World in the hope of securing a better future for our children. Unicef is wholly funded by donations.

On 11 August 2005 Aiden was delivered by emergency CS, a month early, after a horrendous pregnancy. I saw my son much later on in the evening. He had been whisked away to be resuscitated at birth. I was blissfully oblivious to all that was happening. My birthing partner was my sister (referred to as 'Sister' hereinafter), who is a highly qualified Paediatric ICU Specialist - she tells me later that she had to leave when the medical staff were attempting to resuscitate this tiny child. Once he had been stabilised and was given the all clear, saidSister took this little bundle for his first bath. We had picked up from the US scans that he would have a mop of hair and she was prepared with his new comb set.

My first words when asking about my baby when I had come round from the surgery where there too had been complications, were "How big is my baby?" The nurse said "He was 2.3 kg." I laughed knowing there was a mistake because all along my Gynae had told me we were going to have a 3.5 kg boy... well, their scales were right, I was handed a tiny little bundle a short while later, a shock of thick black hair. All the difficulties, emotional and physical throughout the pregnancy dissolved when i held my baby for the first time. He was worth everything and more.

I have 6 children, that's half a dozen, more than a handful. A LOT! I idolise every one of them. I didn't know at the time that I first held Aiden that 8 weeks later I would be told "We cannot give you any guarantees. Just hold your baby, and love him while you can." It was 9 pm in the evening, and the specialists did not think he would make it till morning. I have never - NEVER - felt such excruciating internal agony as I did right at that time. The sounds that emanated from me thinking back must have sounded like a wild animal trapped, injured and in excruciating pain. I don't know. I just remember holding that little thing in my arms, looking at him and asking God "Why? What has this little baby done to you or to anyone? Why God? Please don't let my child die. Please don't take him away from me. Please.."

The first 8 Weeks

As with anything I am extreme, fanatical, obsessive. I make no apologies for that. I was no different with Aiden. The first 8 weeks of his life saw him become the apple of his brother's and sisters' eyes. I did not take him out, I did not encourage visitors. He slept on my chest at night. The house smelt like a hospital. It was sterile. Germfree. No strange bugs floating around in my house, no thank you. Wash hands before touching baby, spray sterilising lotion on said hands before touching baby. Rules were laid down, they were strict. He was very small, he had been compromised at birth and I was taking no chances. He lay next to me in a crib when I worked, on me when I slept, in his pram next to me when I was busy.

This was a beautiful gift, and I was blessed to have him. My other kids were amazing, Savannah was a little mother hen. She got quite bossy actually :)

Hundreds of photographs were taken, he was pure joy. Sent photographs to friends and family all over the world. On 15 October 2005 whenmy son was 2 months and 4 days old my friend in Holland send me a video tribute she had made using my photos. I watched it a thousand times. I did not know then that my child was ill. 2 Days later my world was turned upside down.


The Day My World Crashed


I finished work at around 4 am that Thursday morning, wheeled the pram to the room and hopped into bed. A few minutes later I heard a strange sound coming frommy son . Sitting bolt upright I examined every bit of him and noticed he had foam coming out the side of his mouth. I thought he was winding on an earlier feed so wiped him down, held him up and sat that way for a bit. Looked at him a few minutes later and the foam was back, the noises were still there.. Panic set in. this wasn't normal. I put him down and ran for Doey who was sleeping - obviously - and asked her did she think something was wrong. How would she know? She was 16. I was and am a veteran mother. I SHOULD know these things. She said don't panic, he's bringing up a bit of feed. When I turned all lights on though I saw thatmy son was bringing up more than feed. He was foaming in the true sense of the word - and he was not breathing. He could not breathe. I grabbed the phone and called for an ambulance who said they would be there in a few minutes. Ten minutes later, the baby is still battling to breathe, we are alternating between wiping him down and trying to clear his airways with this mass of white foam just pouring out of that tiny mouth. I calledSister who said "Don't take chances, where is the ambulance?" I said "I don't know they should have been here 10 minutes ago." She said "Call them again, and if no joy get that baby to a hospital." I called the ambulance service again, they said they were on their way, to wait.

Let me explain about the ambulance service here - or at that time. It was a private service. We are not entitled to State Services for a matter such as this. We PAY for the private service - we pay a LOT of money. We expect to get what we pay for. !0 minutes later the ambulance still was not there, my child was visibly losing consciousness, drifting in and out, while we tried to keep his airways clear. I told Doey to grab him, and cover him, because although his body was by now ice cold, he was running a temperature of 41 Deg C. Anything above 37 for a child this size is not good. 37.2 - 37.5 is normal for an adult. I packed a bag for him quickly, we dashed for the car and head out in the early morning sunrise for the nearest Private Hospital. I was not on medical aid but knew I would be turned away at a State Hospital.

We arrived at Medi-Clinic shortly afterwards, throughout the drive Doey was giving Aiden mouth to mouth as per telephonic instructions bySister . I was a crazy woman! Arrived in casualty, the doctor on duty didn't have a clue so called in one of the country's top specialists who had treated my 2 younger girls for 5 years and he said the child needs to be dripped immediately, he was on his way.

IV Drip up on this tiny baby's arms, he was being given Rocephin, one of the most aggressive drugs in this country. I didn't have a clue about it then. I was just relieved when the Specialist finally got my child to the stage where he was stable enough to breathe and the foaming had stopped.

A short while later I was summoned to the Accounts Dept and asked to fill in the forms I had not been able to earlier due to the urgency of the admission. I filled in the forms handed them over, and the receptionist said "How are you going to pay?" I said "What?" She repeated herself. I said "Well I don't know, credit card, whatever, i need to get back to my child." I asked how much they wanted. She wrote some figures down on a piece of paper and slid it over the counter to me. I looked at them and said "What?" I should have picked up that for that kind of money there was a serious problem and my child needed more than just an antibiotic.

I handed her my cards, all of them, I said take what you can out of them, just let me get back to my baby. She maxed all the cards there and then. There was still a balance outstanding which I said I would get and bring later, could I go now please. I had paid hospital fees for a couple of days, we were all right. I went back to my baby and noticed that he had a localised patch of anasthesia on his spine. I asked why, and was told he was scheduled for an urgent lumbar puncture. I didn't have a clue about that either. So I made the calls to try and beg borrow and steal the balance of the money I needed for the hospital. Accounts summoned me again late during the day. They wanted more than they had originally asked for because they had not taken into account ICU, X-Rays, Specialist, Bloods and whatever else they managed to include on the list. I said "What?" I was now officially completely out of resources. Financially I had nothing to fall back on. Clearly there was something very, very wrong.

Sister said we should contact Aiden's biological father in USA because he needs to contribute as well. I was not interested in doing that but she went ahead and called, sent a message from my phone saying that Aiden was critically ill, and we needed some financial assistance for medical treatment. Within minutes I received a text message back saying "Disgusting! You use the child's health as an excuse to extort money out of me." Ummmmmmmm.... Can't really swear here on social media sites, can i?

So I called my bank, asked for an increase in my limit, which was granted. I almost had enough. I called the next Credit Card company for an increase and they said no. I said "What?" It was too late to go to the bank physically and I was fresh out of cash. Went back to baby's ward and nearly fell over to see that the IV had been taken down. This was wonderful, my child was already better!

The paedicatrician (yep, the guy who takes a Hippocratic oath) calls me aside and says he is discharging Aiden. I said great, what was wrong? He avoided that question, and simply said "You have no Medical Aid, this kind of treatment requires a lot of money." He walked out. The Hospital then gave me until midnight to take my child and leave. Yes I had paid hospital fees up front, but no deposit upfront for the extras and no deposit for the doctors.


Just Hold Your Baby And Love Him

I left the hospital with my baby, not knowing what had been wrong, what I should do next or anything. I had been given no information at all. All I knew is that he had been given an aggressive IV dose of Rocephin, which I knew was strong, I didn't know what it was used in the treatment of.

The next day passed in a blur. My thermometer became my bible, I sat up watching him, every minute of the day. I forgot to eat, forgot to drink and work didn't enter my mind. Sister took the other kids so I could focus on Aiden. His temperature started rising again during the early hours of the morning. Doey although learning for exams, was alternating with me in checking temps, running tepid baths, trying to feed him. He was not eating and had not eaten for 2 days. This is a 2.8 kg baby who was not drinking. He was unable to drink. He did not have the strength to drink. Early in the morning again, Doey came rushing through to me and said "Mom, his temp is on 40 again.. run a tepid bath.." I was a zombie, I ran the bath, put my baby in the bath, gave him medication to try and bring the temperature under control again. This had been life for 36 hours. The temp came down, half hour it shot up again. Ongoing, no relief. He would drift in and out of consciousness and I had no where to take him.

In desperation I whipped him out the bath during one of the temperature-reducing sessions where he lost consciousness and told Doey "Grab a towel and a blanket, taking him to Grey's". Grey's used to be the best training hospital in South Africa. It is now all but deserted. Entire wings have been closed down. Patients are not seen there unless they meet certain criteria. I did not meet those criteria. I took my baby anyway where he was seen by a paediatrician who is also well known in South Africa. He immediately said "High Care/ICU - wherever there is a bed." I finally found a medical practitioner who was true to his oath, he was going out on a limb for us.

The next few hours went past in a blur. I don't remember everything, just a mass of faces and coats and procedures. Tests. Lumbar punctures. This tiny baby was so weak he could not even cry when the needle was inserted into his spine to draw fluid without anaesthetic. I still didn't know what was wrong with him. Test results were sent for urgently. I saw by Sister's face, when she arrived into the ICU ward with one of the other paediatricians, that things were bad - really, really bad. She looked like stone. I looked from one to the other and some distant voice told me that the test results were positive. My child had meningitis. Strains of both bacterial and viral but not sure absolutely. This wasn't true, this doesn't happen to people who live in the Northern Suburbs. This doesn't happen to mothers who devote every waking minute to their children. This just DID NOT HAPPEN. It was happening. It had happened.

They explained that they could attempt to treat him, but the delay between being kicked out of Medi-Clinic and bringing him to Grey's could have fatal consequences. It could be the difference bewteen life and death. No, they were not optimistic, they could give no guarantees. "Mrs Davis, you need to realise that you have a critically ill baby. We will do what we can, but if I were you I would just hold your baby, and love him." Oh I will never forget those words. They live with me every day of my life. The Pain! I wanted to die, I wished it was me dying and not my baby who was too weak to drink, who had been refused medical treatment because I did not have Medical Aid.

That night I sat in the chapel at that hospital and I screamed at HIM, I prayed, I shouted, I begged and pleaded. All I could hear was the sound of my voice. I went back to my baby and held him, and loved him because that's all I could do. Hold him and love him. And pray.

At 2 am i grabbed my Bible (the thermometer) to take his temp and it was down to 39. I called the sister on duty for a bath so I could bathe him. She bent over the cot and the siren from the breathing apparatus went off. I fell over. Literally. Collapsed. My legs buckled. I knew the alarm only went off after breathing had stopped for 30 seconds. My child had not been breathing for more than half a minute. I got up and went to grab my child, to shake him back to life and these little eyes looked up at me and he gave the faintest, tiniest little smile. It was the first time he had recognised me in days. I knew then that my prayers had been answered.

That's all I'm going to say now, other than the next 3 weeks were a battle between up and down, the little body swelling up from the steroids, the days they said he had gone down, the CT scans, the MR, the drips blowing in his head where they had shaved off his beautiful hair. He was too small for IV anywhere else. His head was a mass of scars and punctures from IV.

The day I took him home was without a doubt the happiest day of my life. I had my son, he had no side effects whatsoever that could be picked up. He was alive. I was blessed. Our prayers had been answered. He was in no more pain. I had not been able to work and had earned no income during the previous month. It didn't matter. My son was alive, healthy and I was taking him home.

I often get asked about Aiden, and why I am so fanatical about him - and my other children. That nightmare month of my life brought home to me how helpless I was and how our children need to be treasured, nurtured and respected. If it were not for the 2 doctors that took my case on my son would be a memory.

You will see in this picture of Aiden although only just over 3 months old just after his discharge from hospital, his whole body was still swollen from the steroids.


How You Can Help Make A Miracle Happen 

"...a single case of meningitis can drive a family into a spiral of poverty from which they may never recover."

I share this story because I was blessed to have been given a hand, divine intervention, if you like. Today I have a 4and half Year old Son, who is a computer geek, and has been since before he could walk. He has a memory like I have never come across, he is active, alert, has an exceptionally enquiring mind, as sharp as a knife. He speaks beautifully and holds full conversations with adults and children alike. We are blessed. My son had no side effects either of the illness or the aggressive treatment he had for 3 weeks.  His aim to become a fighter pilot in the USMC :)

There are many thousands of children, parents who love their children as much as you or I love ours, that also see no hope, they see no light. They also just hold their babies and love them praying for a miracle. If the world stands together, they CAN give towards making these miracles happen. They can help to give hope where there is none. They can save a family from devastation.

The following information was extracted from the UNICEF site. Credit Source : Unicef

In an effort to save lives and contain the spread of meningitis, the GAVI Alliance has agreed to fast-track a US$55 million contribution to UNICEF and WHO to establish a stockpile of meningococcal vaccines and pay for reactive campaigns in the highly endemic African "meningitis belt" countries.

400 million people live at risk of the deadly meningococcal disease and the contribution will fund 45 million doses of vaccines through 2013 to support emergency outbreak responses in the most vulnerable countries. The stockpile will be supplied with polysaccharide meningococcal vaccines, until a forthcoming conjugate vaccine becomes available.

The highest burden of meningococcal disease occurs in a swathe of sub-Saharan Africa known as the "meningitis belt", which stretches from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east and where epidemics occur every year. During the dry season, between January and June, many factors, including social and climate habits, increase the risk of meningitis. Each year, the disease takes a heavy economic and human toll. In major epidemics, attack rates range from 100 to 800 per 100,000 population, but individual communities have reported rates as high as 1,000 per 100,000. Between 1997 and 2007, 59 600 deaths due to meningitis were reported in the region. So far in 2009 the meningitis season has seen particularly high attack rates in Niger and northern Nigeria.

Meningococcal meningitis is a bacterial infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. The disease develops quickly, is highly contagious, and kills about 1 in 10 people who get it. Between 5 and 10 per cent of patients die within 24-48 hours after the first symptoms, even with quick diagnosis and therapy. Up to a quarter of survivors suffer permanent damage-most commonly hearing loss, mental retardation, or epilepsy.

Because of a global shortage of meningococcal vaccine, a special mechanism was established in 1997 to ensure that the population most in need would receive the life-saving vaccine in a timely manner. This mechanism includes the careful review of country requests for vaccines for outbreak response by the International Coordination Group (ICG) for meningitis, which includes the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Médecins Sans Frontières, UNICEF and WHO.

Mass vaccination campaigns are most effective when there is community awareness of the campaign and social mobilization is in place to ensure optimum coverage. The efforts of thousands of community-based volunteers, including those of the Red Cross and Red Crescent national societies and others in the meningitis belt countries, are critical to these efforts.

The polysaccharide vaccine is currently the only meningococcal vaccine available to combat the recurring epidemics in developing countries, 99 per cent of which are caused by serotype A.

Routine immunisation is not possible with the currently available polysaccharide vaccine as it provides protection for only two to three years and is not very effective in children under two years of age because they lack the ability to develop antibodies. A conjugate vaccine conferring long-term protection is expected to be available later this year in developing countries.


UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world's largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.





donnette donnette
41-45, F
3 Responses Feb 17, 2010

Beautiful story and you are blessed. Miracles do happen.<br />
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My grandson, now 11, was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer when he was 3 1/2 years old ... he was the 13th person, "globally" to have this rare children's cancer "Giant Cell Fibroblastoma".<br />
It is a form of a sarcoma that grows inside the body ... on the limbs ... arms, legs, waist.....his was on his love handle area ... there were two operations. The first one was botched up by a hospital on Long Island, NY. The second operation was performed by a pediatric cancer surgeon at Sloan Kettering Memorial Hospital in New York City. I am happy to say that he hasn't developed any new tumors since the last operation, although there is always the possibility of more tumors to come.<br />
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He is not the healthiest little boy, has dark circle under his eyes, cannot play contact sports because he gets worn out very quickly. He is an A+ student ..... and loves his ATV .. and bikes ... He is our blessing.<br />
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Just read your story .. and wanted to send you blessings from us on your miracle.<br />
Good things do happen ...

Wow! thanks for taking the time to comment. I have just joined this site and was so inspired by so many things I had read.... I felt compelled to share this story about my son when he was 8 weeks old, and he was given less than 12 hours to live, and the exact time 2.22 a.m. I knew that he was going to "Make it" albeit a long hard struggle, the little man was going to fight this thing and survive.<br />
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Just a few hours before that I had been told by the Senior Doctor in charge of the team that there was nothing they could do, nothing I could do but "Just hold your baby and Love him..." <br />
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Today he is THE most well adjusted little guy, wants to be a fighter pilot in the Marines and has been on computers since before he could walk... HE is now as proficient on a laptop or a desktop and is intellectually assessed at being 3 years older than he actually is... Too many videos to upload here and I DID write a lot (I always do loooooooololol) but I thank you for taking the time to read.<br />
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I learned that day that nothing can EVER be taken for granted, and more particularly why we need to treasure and love those around every possible minute.. I Always refer to him as my "Miracle Baby"...<br />
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Have a wonderful day!

I'll have to come back a bit later to read the rest of this, but I just wanted to say that "Just Hold Your Baby And Love Him" is a great line. I mean, it's a good thing to remember. We can't take anything for granted and I'm very glad to read about things that may seem hopeless but turn out to be so wonderful. Thanks for the post