The miraculous story of Jean-Luc

I was doing some grocery shopping when my phone rang on a Sunday afternoon in October. Dr Richard Joubert's name appeared on my screen and I answered with a smile. We work together on every birth he performs and a call from him over a weekend can only mean someone is in labour. "Hi! Are you very busy?" he asked in a friendly tone but I could tell something was wrong.

"Just getting a few things for dinner. Who is labour?"

"Nobody but we need to do a c-section in about 45 minutes. I am calling up the team. Erin's baby is struggling." His voice sounded heavy.

"She was supposed to do her maternity shoot tomorrow... and we scheduled it early because we knew she might run into a problem but she is only at 30 weeks..." I said, already making a beeline for the checkout counter.

"Get me something to eat. I haven't had lunch." I smiled and grabbed something off the shelf.

Erin and Ettienne were already in the theatre waiting area when I showed up. Something was wrong and she knew it. She had seen dr. Joubert the day before but something felt off and when he did a scan again that morning he confirmed that the baby was in distress. As Erin got wheeled into theatre dr. Carine Smit, the paediatrician, looked at Erin's tiny belly with worried eyes. She barely looked pregnant.

Minutes later a tiny baby boy was pulled from his mother's womb. Dr. Joubert's hands looked like giant fingers next to the small body and everyone was relieved to hear the baby cry. Jean-Luc had survived birth. They delayed the cord clamping as long as possible and he was quickly checked by Dr. Smit and showed to his mother for a brief moment before whisking him off to NICU where he would stay for the next few months. This was just the beginning a perilous journey. He developed a lung infection and a bleed in his brain. I received a call from the hospital again on a stormy afternoon requesting NICU photos of Jean-Luc, saying that he might not live through the night. I showed up at the NICU door, soaking wet and flanked by security that rushed me through the crowds of people in the hallways of the busy hospital. We took photos and held our breath. I told Erin that we would take photos of him on his second birthday, holding these NICU photos. She smiled bravely but her eyes said that she did not believe me. I walked to the car with the paediatrician who had tears in her eyes. Utter hopelessness. I prayed. We all did. My husband prayed for Jean-Luc at dinner, thanking God for pulling him through. Dr. Smit sat next to his bed the whole night. Two days later he was still alive. A week went by. Then another. He was fighting and he was getting better. People prayed everywhere and after 77 days in NICU he was discharged. His neurologist was amazed at his progress since everyone expected him to be brain damaged. He reacted like any healthy baby would. He smiles and giggles. He is a miracle boy. We took family photos to surprise his dad for father's day and some studio photos after that. This little guy will grow up to do great things. He had a rough start but he is destined to change the world for the better... in fact, he already has.