Candice Nolan / Mar 31, 2018


A full 360. 360 days in two weeks. 360 degrees Fahrenheit in the blast-furnace to steel nascent parents. 360 degrees in a circle where the two ends can never fully meet.

We made it to hell and back (Tell Pope Frankly it really does exist). And if I could go back and do it all again, the only thing I would do differently is to stock up on Calmettes and Rescue Drops (those things were what the doctor should have ordered for the outpatient parents).

Baby Sesame has been highly traumatised. It disrupted her routine. Forced her to face her own mortality. Created trust issues. We had a day pass yesterday and spent the day with the grandparents. She woke up in hospital. I will never forget her piercing cry.

It is good to be home. We will revel. We will heal.

I know it sounds weird, but I am grateful for having been in that furnace. I discovered myself. I am capable. I am mother. Initially, I baulked. I didn’t want to know what I didn’t know. I didn’t want my inadequacy established as fact. Now, I look back on that person with patient sympathy. Her insecurities are foreign to me now. If Lailah were to get sick again, I would know. And more importantly, I would know what to do. No more fanciful flights to ER at sunset. No more frantic calls to my mother. No more pretending to sleep, hoping hubby will sort it out when she cries at night.

I am so grateful to everyone for their understanding, their thoughts, their prayers, their offers to hold my hand through it all. A special shout out to baby sesame’s big cousin (he is 3 months older than her). They have always had such a remarkable bond. In her darkest hours she called out to him. Thank you especially for the videos (which had to be played on repeat)!

To my husband. My rock. You have shown your mettle. First, at her birth – when I began to unravel. For picking up the slack, for learning her so that you could be there for her when I couldn’t be there for myself. It was he who forced me to see what I was to scared to see. That our daughter was gravely ill. He picked up on her cues, spending many sleepless nights, constantly on guard.

If not for him, we would have been discharged on Sunday last week. The damage could have been so much worse. You are an amazing husband, a courageous father and my everyday hero.

To my parents. I know this was hard for you. My mom, the nurse, who always had the answers quite possibly blames herself for not seeing what hubby saw. When I was melting away in the furnace, mom tended baby on her sick bed. She will never know how much she helped me. Her child. With her loving touch and encouraging words. When I fell apart, my mother stood in the gap. And for that I remain truly grateful. Pa was the only one, beside myself and hubby, that baby would tolerate in her wakeful moments. She called out for him in her sleep. And later, as she recovered, she seemed convinced that pa was calling her – with every ring of the ward telephone 🤪

To nana. Thank you. Your diligence and wisdom picked up her illness in the nick of time. We are so grateful to have a nanny who not only cares for her physical needs, but who loves her with the love of a grandmother. You will always be my sounding board.

To my sisters. What a thing to face. Having no words to say. Thanks for listening. Thank you for praying. Thank you for carrying me. I am so grateful for your support. I hope that one day you will understand why I pushed you away when things got dark. No, scratch that. I pray you do not.

To the primordial soup. You guys are amazing. I am so proud of you. Your empathy, prayers, love, tears, thoughts, bedtime tales, travelled across deserts and oceans, crossed the mighty Limpopo and landed right on the doorstep of our hearts.

To our God family. Thank you. I wish I could take away the hurt you felt seeing her so sick, my brother. I pray that God will steel your heart and that your eyes will be opened to the miracle unfolding before you. Wes and Zee, thank you for the delectable chicken curry (I heard tell that it was the right stuff *side eyes* hubby who conveniently finished it all). Thanks for listening to my rambling tales. Thanks most of all for the beautiful family you are raising. My god-daughter always makes my heart smile. Love you guys.

And last, but certainly not least, thank you to my warrior princess. You keep living up to your name. You have changed my life in so many ways. Finally, I realise why I seem to have this way with little people; a knack at understanding them; coming down to their level. It’s because God was preparing me for you. For this. Together we will journey to recovery and continue to fight the odds.

The doctor said you nearly died. I believe it. Your daddy begged you to come back. You did. And I believe. Your amazing body fought off three viruses (that we know of), one of which has doctors believing they are seeing a new strain of a known virus that causes stroke. Stroke. That’s something that happens to old people. You granny had a close shave with one a few months ago. Your body is so amazing that your brain is able to reboot itself and repair cells that were choked by the virus/bacteria/thing.

Everyday you have amazed us. With small things. Simple things. Walking. Crawling. Squatting to pick up a toy and standing back up. Climbing into the ball bath. Reaching with your damaged arm to plant a sticker on the cot. Reciting the alphabet in the car on our way home. You are my heart. My joy. My happiness.

I love you, baby sesame!

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