Hi! My name is Yonela Rasi I am a loss mom from South Africa.I gave birth via c-section on the 2nd of June. After being told my son had died at 9 months. His little heart had stopped beating , my baby had died though he was perfectly healthy. After the words “no heartbeat” were uttered by the doctor, he gave me a sense of urgency that we couldn’t keep him inside me any longer. Without giving me any further information I was called into a different room adjacent to the one that I’d been told the most devastating news of my life. This other room was cold, clearly air conditioned. I remember calling my fiance who was in Cape Town at the time. We had planned that he’d come down to East London that same week for the birth of our son. Now I was sitting alone in this room, disoriented wondering how to tell him this, how was I going to phrase this. Our son had died, he was gone. I got onto the phone “baby how soon can you get a flight out, doctor says the baby has no heartbeat-” it cut off, I think he couldn’t handle it so I thought I’d give him a moment. I sat there looking at a pale off-white wall. Who do I call now, I need to call my mother i needed my mother, she needs to know her grandson is gone. Mom had left me whilst I was getting ready for this appointment earlier that morning, she had to go to work. I had to go to this last appointment alone. “mama they say my baby is no longer alive”. She was in disbelief, she asked me to repeat it, maybe if I said it the second time around it wouldn’t be what she thought she had heard. She started crying. The doctor came back, he needed the room. I needed to be escorted out into the waiting room I was given a form to sign and take to the hospital. He then said the doctor that is “I need you to call someone to come fetch you I can’t let you leave alone. Where is the father he asked.
Where was he, I had forgotten in the midst of all the pain and numbness I had forgotten to call him back. “Baby? Are you there? The doctor is sending me to the hospital can you get a flight out?” It was then that I realised that he hadn’t simmered on what I had told him. He responded in a reassuring voice. “Don’t worry just get to the hospital we’ll find out what is going on don’t panic”. Poor soul he didn’t get it, the thought of what I was about to tell him was so far out that he couldn’t fathom it. I remember screaming on the phone. “Aviwe my baby is dead, there is no longer a heartbeat, he’s been declared dead”.
I got to Beacon Life Hospital a little after midday, everything about how I got there is still a blur till today. A maternity nurse met me at the door, apparently the doctor had told them I was coming. I had a letter in my hand which stated why I was there and that I had to be prepped for surgery. The doctor was going to arrive in the evening to deliver my son. My mom arrived shortly after I was booked, a nurse came in to prep me for surgery, the mood was sombre, there was no conversation. She told me to disrobe. Gave me some soaps and told me she’d be in in a moment to shave me. I guess I was on survival mode, I had no emotions I was in the purest state of shock.
After hours of back and forth communication with my fiance we finally gave up on finding a flight for that evening. He needed to be there for the birth but at this point I had given up I was going to go through this alone. At 5:30. June 1st theatre nurses came in to escort me to where I’d give birth. But we couldn’t do it. I didn’t have the strength to go through this alone. I asked if it was possible for me to wait for my fiance to arrive the following morning. The doctor didn’t seem to mind my request, after all there wasn’t an urgency, nothing could be done to bring my baby back.
I spent an entire night in the hospital alone with my unborn son. I spent what seemed to be the longest night of my life talking to my son, apologizing, praying, trying to come to terms with everything I was about to go through.
Morning came and so did Aviwe. Today was the day, I was going to give birth to our son. But as the clock kept ticking and the surgery drew closer my anxiety grew and it closely turned into fear, fear of what my son would look like. We always knew he was healthy and he was growing. But as a mother who was about to give birth to a stillborn. I was scared. There would be no crying in the operating room, no joyful noise just silence and stillness. I had always wanted an epidural ever since I decided on a c-section. But the fear of my son’s birth made me change my mind at the very last moment. I didn’t want to go through that ordeal. I wanted general anaesthesia.
My son was born June 2nd 2018. He weighed 3.1kgs and measured at 58cm and his head as big as his father’s at 34 cm in circumference. He was perfect.
We only had 4 hours with him and then a nurse came into our room to let us know, “sorry sir you need to arrange an undertaker to fetch the body”. We had gone through such a traumatic experience but the reality of our situation became clear. We had gone from preparing a birth to planning a funeral in a matter of hours. After those 4 hours a man who I opted not to meet came in to fetch my son. The process was no longer than 10 minutes and my son was gone. After that the doctor came in to give me a pill and said ” take this, it’ll stop your breasts from producing milk” and that was it…
Yonela Rasi have headed up the Lakhanya Foundation named after her precious angel. She have also launched a social media campaign in South Africa called #iam1in4. Below are the links to Yonela instagram accounts: https://instagram.com/life_after_lakhanya?utm_source=ig_profile_share&igshid=1fxpiu6yi3itz , https://instagram.com/iam1in4_rsa?utm_source=ig_profile_share&igshid=1t7z2jknyu6tf