Miracle baby with half a nose
"They said my baby would die" - "I trust God"
DOCTORS told her that her baby would not survive the first three days of life, but today she is nine months old and growing stronger by the day.
Rirhandzu Mpapele of Oukasie location in Brits, North West, was born with a single nostril and a single brain at the back of her head. Other parts of her brain had liquid and were very small.
She suffered from a condition called Holoprosencephaly - failure of the forebrain to divide during early weeks of pregnancy.
Her mother Amukelani Mpapele said she believed that Rirhandzu could be a normal child.
"I believe that she will be like my other child. I still wonder how she survived in my womb," she said.
Rirhandzu weighed 1.9kg at birth and now weighs 4.7kg at nine months.
Mpapele said she used the airway in her mouth to help her breathe and a Nasogstric tube when feeding her.
"I was told by doctors that she would not survive the first three days of her life, so they kept us in hospital and kept on saying she was going to die," she said.
She said three weeks after giving birth at the George Mukhari Hospital in GaRankuwa she demanded that they be discharged.
"I saw that my baby was not dying. I asked them to give me my daughter back. They said she had to die there (in the hospital) not at home, so I told them that they are not God who gives life," she said.
Mpapele said they were then discharged and told that she won't pass the hospital gate with the baby still alive.
She said they went home with an airway and Nasogastric tube in her mouth. She said no one showed her how to charge it or what was really the child's problem.
"They did not even give us the medicine or anything because they were certain that she would die."
She said the first three months of Rirhandzu's life were the most difficult. Every time she took her to the hospital she was told her child was bound to die.
"That made me angry and I stopped taking her there and transferred her to a Limpopo hospital, where the doctors were also scared of her and did not want to help her," the mother said.
She then came back to Brits and nursed her daughter on her own.
Rirhandzu now uses her nose to breathe and her mouth to eat food without any help.
"I trust God that one day she will be like any other child, she is even teething now," she said.
North West gynaecologist Mahommad Saeed Mather said Rirhandzu's condition was bizarre. He said the condition can be mild or severe.
"The mere fact that she managed to live for nine months means she can survive and become a normal person. It looks as if she had a mild condition. In most cases when the condition is severe the baby dies before birth," Mather said.
He said if Rirhandzu gets fully recovered she would have to undergo a facial transplant.
- This article was first published in the Sowetan newspaper yesterday, 23 May 2012. Be sure to get your copy today to see today's specials...