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Not just one tragedy…


The call was from Haddie’s older sister. Haddie’s mother had passed away. Haddie, Derek (Anna’s father) and their immediate family had to leave immediately to Mozambique for the funeral. It killed Haddie to have to leave her beloved little granddaughter for even more than a minute, let alone for a few days. Haddie was particularly worried about Anna, Xena was her first baby and Anna was next to clueless to caring for her. Luckily, Haddie managed to make arrangements for round the clock checking up on Anna and Xena.
Anna was heartbroken. Four months earlier, she had lost Derek’s mum. And now Haddie’s mum was gone as well. She really wanted atleast one of her grandmothers to share in her joy of being a mother. The emotional pain was beyond words. It was also really painful, as the last time she had seen them both was the time of her wedding and now due to the circumstances, she was unable attend this grandmother’s funeral as well. Anna felt like her hands were tied and utterly helpless. It was an impossible situation – she always had deep care and affection for both her grandmothers and she didn’t say goodbye to either of them.
Anna held onto her baby and tried to absorb the situation. She thanked the Almighty for giving her this precious little being that was making her smile through the tears.
When Haddie and Derek embarked on the trip, Anna felt more alone than she had ever felt in her life. No Zach and no mum and dad. Just Anna, Xena and Anna’s brother Mark. Anna’s cousins were still around, but Anna was reluctant to ask for help.
Anna spent the weekend alternating between praying for her grandmother and telling baby Xena about Zach. It was emotionally draining, but she tried her utmost best not to fall into depression or cry so that Xena would not be affected.

On sunday night, Haddie arrived and on Monday morning Zach arrived. Anna cried with relief when Zach arrived. She felt so happy to have her husband by her. Xena stared for hours at her father – it was like she finally put a face to her father’s voice.

It was a really special week. Anna, Zach and Xena – as a family. It was so perfect. Zach did a lot for his girls. He woke up in the middle of the night, changed nappies, helped Haddie bathing the baby, brought Anna her meals in bed – in essence, he helped wherever he could. There were guests day and night and baby Xena was being showered with gifts. Anna was bursting with happiness.

On Friday night, Derek arrived from Mozambique and looked at Xena. He immediately told Anna that Xena wasn’t glowing as she did the day she was born. Anna shrugged it off.

That night, no one slept. Baby Xena cried all night, throwing up at intervals, refusing to feed. Anna and Zach were extremely worried. Everytime that Xena cried, Anna and Haddie cried as well. At 08h00, Xena began turning blue and gasping for air.

Haddie, Zach and Mark rushed Xena to the hospital and she was immediately put onto a breathing machine. Anna and Derek arrived half an hour later. All the doctors could say was, “we are trying all that we can” for the next 48hours. A lumbar puncture was performed and the truth was discovered on Monday morning – Xena had bacterial meningitis, septicamia (blood poisoning) and the meningitis had attacked her central nervous system. Even though Xena was a big baby, she was still 4 weeks premature and the meningitis bacteria had killed of 95% of her brain function. Basically, by Monday evening, little Xena was already brain dead and only the machines were keeping her alive. However, her physical situation was getting worse, there was a permanent needle on her head draining the liquid accumulated in her brain.

Anna could not bear to see what her precious little angel was going through. She was really hoping that it was nothing but the worst nightmare in her life. Unfortunately it was reality. And a huge one. All the doctors said was, if Xena had to stay on the machines, nothing would change. Anna and her family decided that it was time to let her go. This was all in the Almighty’s hands and whatever that He had decided with little Xena, everyone had to accept it.

Anna and Zach came to the decision to turn the machines off and accept that it was little Xena’s time to go. Anna and Zach kissed their little girl goodbye and Anna wept – she was completely broken.
She had kept this little girl inside of her for 9months,travelled halfway across the world back to JHB, went through a difficult birth, was alone when her baby was born – and now the Almighty was taking her away. Nothing that had happened and what was happening was within her control.
Anna felt numb, in shock and all she could do was pray. “Almighty, keep my little girl safe until the next time we see her.” Nothing further came from her mouth and from her heart. All Anna knew was, she needed to overcome this, day by day. And she was going to do it, regardless how she felt…

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January 29, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

An almost perfect week…


Anna found that Xena’s arrival had brought a new found peace & tranquility that she had never felt before. She had no idea what being a mother was about. Yes, she had read about it, in only about 40 different books and another 200 books. But reading other people’s experiences and absorbing your own feelings are two different things.
For starters, Anna had always been afraid of carrying new born babies. Xena was the first new born baby she had ever carried.
Anna had no idea how to bath a newborn, break her wind or dress her. She felt like she had just entered a brand new world. A world she was relishing every second of. Anna would not part from her daughter’s side, unless it was necessary. Haddie helped Anna in every way she could – bathing, wind breaking techniques, dressing Xena, and nappy changing. Anna needed all the help she was given, she was alone with Xena and she really missed Zach. She didn’t show it much, but everytime he called the tears came, and everyday she missed him more and more. Anna had to be strong for herself and the baby and braved the loneliness, despite her family’s help from all angles.
Anna really felt that Zach was being robbed of something, she just couldn’t put a finger on it somehow.
The day Anna returned from the hospital, she texted Guy. “Hi, I didn’t go back to the UK. The baby came early. Hope you’re well.”
Guy called immediately, and very reluctantly Anna took his call.
He called to congratulate her, she could hear the emotion in his voice. She smiled at the thought of Guy caring so much about her. She really wished that things had spanned in a different direction with Guy. Oh well, she thought, as long as we are friends now. That’s all that really matters.

Xena was a perfect baby. Every new mother’s dream. She slept for hours, ate well and never cried much. Anna maternal instincts kicked in at the hospital and she knew everytime her baby was hungry or needed a nappy change – before Xena needed to cry. Anna tended to every need of Xena’s with love and happiness. Anna’s heart was so full of love for this tiny person that at times, Anna felt like it was about to burst.

Zach was only due to arrive in three weeks. Anna missed him terribly and he could hear in her voice that everything was not ok. She needed her husband, she just didn’t tell him so. Zach did what he could and anticipated his plane ticket and was to arrive that weekend, to surprise his wife. Everything was planned with Haddie and Anna had no idea.

Zach was to leave on Sunday night from London and was scheduled to arrive on Monday morning. That Saturday morning however, tragedy struck. An early morning phonecall changed everyone’s plans for the weekend…

January 29, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments