Baby arrives with help from kids’ first aid book

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Baby arrives with help from kids’ first aid book

When their aunt’s water broke at home, Busisiwe, 12, and Moleko, 10, came to the rescue

Journalist
Thandi Ndlebe, right, delivered her sister Vuyolwethu Manhica's son, Mthombo, with the help of instructions from a first aid book found by her son Moleko, 10, and read out by her daughter, Busisiwe, 12.
What a team! Thandi Ndlebe, right, delivered her sister Vuyolwethu Manhica's son, Mthombo, with the help of instructions from a first aid book found by her son Moleko, 10, and read out by her daughter, Busisiwe, 12.
Image: Esa Alexander

A first aid book and the reading skills of his 10-year-old and 12-year-old cousins saw Mthombo Manhica safely into the world when his mother’s water broke.

Vuyolwethu Manhica was at the Cape Town home of her sister, Thandi Ndlebe, when she went into labour. “We were all set to go to Tygerberg Hospital and I had my baby bag on my shoulder,” she said.

“As I got off the couch ready to go to the car I felt this gush coming out. I immediately lay on my back as I knew that I wouldn’t make it down the stairs from the third floor.

“I knew it was time and I told my sister in a stern voice that she would be the one delivering the baby.”

That was when Ndlebe’s children, Busisiwe, 12, and Moleko, 10, came to the rescue. Moleko said he kept a book on first aid at their Brackenfell home in case of an emergency.

“I never thought it would be this kind of emergency, but when I saw that my aunt was about to have a baby I ran for the book,” he said. “I was the only one who knew where it was and I’m relieved that everything went well.”

Busisiwe read out instructions from the book while her mother delivered Mthombo. “I’ve watched home deliveries on movies and remembered how things always go wrong. I didn’t want to make any mistake with the instructions,” she said.

When I saw that my aunt was about to have a baby I ran for the book.

Ndlebe said: “My kids were the actual superheroes on that day, but God was also in the midst. Things could have gone so wrong. For instance, the cord was around the baby’s neck, and without even knowing that it posed danger I just untangled it.”

Tygerberg Hospital spokesperson Laticia Pienaar praised Ndlebe for not cutting the umbilical cord, saying there was a risk of infection or excessive bleeding if it was done incorrectly.

Mother and baby arrived at the hospital five hours after the birth on July 1 in good condition, she said. After a check-up they were sent home, but because Mthombo has albinism a follow-up appointment was arranged with a geneticist.

Manhica said it was a miracle that her delivery went smoothly. “The nurses kept on asking me if my sister had any medical training. I kept telling them that she studied law. I could see that they found it miraculous that I didn’t need any stitching,” she said.

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