The Baby Who Refused To Die



It was not long ago that I read the story of a boy who was discovered not to have the back of his skull, and the verdict was clear; he was not going to make it. So, his parents, rather than prepare for his arrival, prepared to bury their first child, not long after he was born. I wonder how that woman felt, carrying a bump around that she knew she was not going to hold the result. Phew!!! Quite a painful hand to be dealt.

The best news was he did not die! He was born some days ago, but he hasn’t given up the ghost, and it looks a lot like he would make it after all.

Thinking about this boy made me recall the story of a young boy, Ayo, who is the first boy, and last child, of his parents, who waited for twelve years before they had him. Ayo’s parents never had any issues with conception. They had their two girls in quick succession and when they tried to have a third child, hopefully praying for it to be a boy, they got stuck!

No show! She just wasn’t conceiving. After some years, they went for tests and the doctor told them there was no reason why they shouldn’t be able to have kids…but they just weren’t having any more kids.  One day, they woke up and as Ayo’s mom tried to get up from the bed, everything blanked out and she slumped. For close to five minutes, her husband was shaking her but with no response. She eventually came to, when water was poured on her face.

Rather than take any more chances, her husband took her to the hospital, even when she said she was feeling fine. It was at the hospital that it was discovered that she was 8 weeks pregnant. What a pleasant surprise that was for them. Totally unexpected, after they had given up hope of ever having any more kids.

When they did an ultrasound scan, it was discovered that there were two gestational sacs with viable heartbeats in her uterus. That was something else entirely. If it was possible to be beyond overjoyed, Ayo’s parents were definitely overjoyed at the news of twins.

Unfortunately, another scan they had later in the pregnancy showed one of the twins had died and only one foetus was remaining. That scan showed a case of abnormally low levels of aminontic fluid, which had both the doctor and nurses worried. They suspected the baby might have Down Syndrome, coupled with the now advanced age of its mom.

Well, all of that did not matter, when her water broke at 22 weeks and she felt some labour pains for a few hours, only it was not progressing and soon stopped. From this point on, I will let Ayo’s mom narrate the story of her son’s birth, which she fondly calls Kokumo, meaning, he did not die again, whenever he misbehaves.

“After my water broke, I was placed on bed rest and told to prepare for the worst; my baby was not going to survive. The doctor said he would try, and that he would bring a Paediatrician, with a neonatal bias, in on my son’s case, but there were no guarantees we would take him home alive.

So, I stayed in the hospital and started to prepare my mind to birth a dead baby. However, the more I thought about it, the more my mind refused to believe what the doctor had said. Every few days, we had a scan to check my amniotic levels and any growth. I was mandated to drink fluids as though they were going out of fashion.

The results of the scans did not improve; the former diagnosis of Down Syndrome became a non issue. Shebi, it’s a baby who lives who has Down syndrome? I was fighting for my baby’s life.  I set a target for myself and willed my body to meet it; keep the baby in for as long as was possible.

It was not easy, with the almost daily tests and scans, and the look on the faces of some of the nurses, who simply thought I should just evacuate and move on with my life. I had to hold on for my son’s sake. This was a child I did not expect to ever carry, I could not possibly do anything to terminate its life, even if that life was going to end anyways, it would not be my decision.

Ayo’s pregnancy tested my marriage a lot.  My husband became a bachelor, taking care of the home and our girls all by himself. Even though the girls could do a lot of things by themselves, it was still a major change of routine for everyone. Let’s not forget the increasing financial cost of my stay in the hospital, which was outside the cost of caring for the baby once it came, with all the potential specialist healthcare rates. It was quite overwhelming for us. At a stage, even my husband suggested we evacuate, and after that, I barred him from my hospital room for two days, until, he apologised for saying so. I forgave him, because I knew he only hated seeing me go through so much.

My body listened and for the next eight weeks, my baby stayed inside me, even though he was not growing as he should. But he was growing nonetheless, and at that stage, that was all that mattered. The day before I was to clock 30 weeks, I went into labour. The pain was hellish, fast and furious. Not wanting to put him through any stress, I was wheeled in for an emergency C-section.

I knew the time was here, to know the true fate of my baby. The surgery was successful and I only got a glimpse of him before he was taken to the incubator and the specialist set to work on him. I was strangely calm now. Whether he lived or died, as the doctor had said was more likely, it was in God’s hand. Several hours after I got back to my room, I was allowed to see him, but I couldn’t carry him.

He was so small, just a little larger than my hand, and weighed less than 1 kg, yet on that tiny body, were several clear tubes, some inserted via his nose, and something was bandaged to his left foot. At that moment, I absolutely believed he was not going to survive. I cried as I turned to my husband and begged him to let them let me carry our son. At least, if he was going to die, I wanted to hold him in my hands and let him feel my love for him.

We spoke with the doctors; mine and the baby specialist, who said he had done all there was to do for the boy and he was not responding, so he saw no reason why we couldn’t carry him and remove all the tubes. We went back to my hospital room with our son, curled on my chest, waiting him for him to die.

Several hours later, we were still there and my son was still breathing on his own. It was another nurse, who came on duty in the evening, who suggested that we call the doctor again to tell him my son was still alive, close to 12 hours after birth. He wasn’t supposed to be.

He was later taken back to the incubator and they began to run another round of battery of tests on him. Long story short, Ayomide is almost three years old and he doesn’t have Down Syndrome either. He is a healthy boy, who hardly ever falls sick. He’s the little guy who keeps every one younger in the house.

The fact that he’s alive is a real miracle. That’s the only thing I can say about his birth.”

Ayo’s mom doesn’t tell this story often, but it’s such a profound story. The first time, I listened to her share it was during the child’s dedication. I asked for the missing links in the abridged story she had shared, and I was again awed at God’s ability to do the impossible.

Baby dust to you all.




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