If you think you had an eventful 2018, Dorian Daniels and her husband Lesley have just emerged from a rollercoaster ride of a year.
It all started on 8 January 2018, when Dorian found out she was pregnant, against all odds.
The couple had been trying to fall pregnant for 10 years, but because of her Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), it just didn’t happen for them. They were at the point of giving up and she remembers telling her friend in December 2017 that they were going to try one last time, not knowing she was already pregnant at that time…
Dorian says she was in shock when the doctors told her she was pregnant, but she was also immediately told it would be an extremely difficult pregnancy and she wouldn’t be able to go to full term. She was also diagnosed with high blood pressure and diabetes.
Further assessments followed, and doctors told Dorian that Baby Hope, their miracle, was not growing and the chances of her being born alive was zero. Dorian was advised that it’s best to terminate.
But Dorian refused to give up on her baby, telling her husband that she’s the miracle they had been praying for all these years.
On the 19th of March, a mere 24 weeks after she was conceived, doctors needed to deliver Baby Hope urgently, or the risk would be too great for mom’s health.
At 300 grams, Baby Hope surprised the doctors because she came out kicking and screaming, unusual for such a premature baby.
A new rollercoaster ride awaited the new parents. Hope was so small that there were no tubes small enough to incubate her properly. She also developed a bowel infection and had to undergo an operation. Doctors warned again she might not make it through…
For the smallest surviving premature baby in South Africa, she showed her parents she was strong, even though Dorian says it was “two steps forward, ten steps back.”
Dorian says the hospital staff at Kuilsriver Netcare became like family. “I saw them more than my own family.”
On 21 December, after 9 months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Baby Hope was discharged.
“She came home and we had our first Christmas, as a family, the three of us.”
Dorian says her miracle baby is coping well at home and is interacting with her parents like a normal baby would.
“I had to give up my work, but it’s the best decision that I’ve made, we are bonding now and catching up on the nine months that we didn’t have together.”
She still sends pictures to the hospital staff to show them how Baby Hope is progressing, and she will still need to go for plenty of tests, but for now, and Baby Hope is doing well and today weighs 5.4kg!
This small little fighter has also inspired the hospital to start a little graduation project for all the premature babies who are discharged from Kuilsriver Netcare, the Baby Hope ceremony.