Iviwe was born on the 24th of December 2014 in Mowbray Maternity Hospital. She was a healthy baby girl and her mom, Nomaphelo was so pleased to finally meet her. Nomaphelo did not expect the start of her daughter’s life to take such a drastic turn on the eve of Christmas.
When Iviwe was born her eyes were slightly yellowish but her mother thought nothing of it as she was a perfectly healthy baby. Iviwe was about eight months old when her eyes started to swell. Nomaphelo was concerned and took her daughter to their local clinic, where she was told that Iviwe had an infection in her eyes. They gave her medication and sent her home. Two days later, there was no change in Iviwe’s condition and she cried continuously.
When Nomaphelo tried to wash Iviwe’s face, she noticed blood coming out of her eyes. She thought Iviwe might have scratched her eye, so she wiped her eyes clean but the blood kept flowing. This made her extremely anxious about her baby.
She took her daughter to the day hospital, knowing that there was something very wrong with her baby. When they couldn’t assist her, Nomaphelo took matters into her own hands and took Iviwe straight to Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.
The doctors at Red Cross Children’s Hospital could immediately see that her daughter was very ill. Iviwe was dehydrated and did not have enough blood in her body. Nomaphelo says, “I knew we were not going home that day. Eleven doctors assisted in examining Iviwe and they were very supportive.”
Iviwe was diagnosed with liver failure and she was immediately placed on the waiting list for a liver transplant. The doctors told Nomaphelo that her daughter didn’t have much time left. “I was crying and praying because I didn’t know what to do,” says Nomaphelo. While waiting, Iviwe received treatment, which helped improve her symptom and feel a lot better. Then disaster struck. Iviwe started vomiting blood and her breathing became laboured.
Iviwe was becoming very ill and doctors discovered that she was starting to bleed internally. It was thus a huge relief when, in April 2016, she underwent a successful liver transplant.
Iviwe spent almost two weeks in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where nurses took good care of her. Nomaphelo said that whenever she visited her baby, a nurse was looking after her and she knew that her child was in safe hands. Iviwe’s body accepted her new liver and she recovered very well.
Unfortunately, after Iviwe was discharged her body started to reject her new liver and she had to be admitted to Hospital once again. While she is very ill, the doctors have been doing their best to make sure that Iviwe maintains the new liver. Her mother says that she is seeing progress due to the treatment that Iviwe is receiving, but it’s still a long journey for her daughter’s recovery.
Despite Iviwe’s condition, she is the loveliest girl with the warmest heart. She is not afraid to grab your hand or give you a hug. She is showered with love and kisses in the Renal ward and keeps herself busy, whether it’s making new friends or drawing on any paper she can find. Iviwe has shown that she is a survivor and as little as she is, she is a feisty little fighter.