I had just gone to sleep and then at around 11:30 pm my wife woke me up frantically. “The baby is not breathing!” She shouted as she threw him on my lap and into my arms. My eyes were still drowsy, but the message pierced through my entire being as I brought myself up to sit and opened my eyes widely to see what was happening.
My heart was pumping fast and my wife was frantic and visibly shaken as she repeated again, “He is not breathing!”, almost bursting into tears but shaking visibly. I thought maybe he’d choked on milk or something so I turned him on my lap and patted him on his back. There was no response and when I looked into his eyes, I couldn’t see life. There was absolutely no response and his body was lifeless. There was no pulse and no heartbeat.
In my surprise and fear of losing him so soon, I instinctively just opened his mouth and breathed three puffs into him, and then pressed his chest three times. There was no response. I breathed into his mouth and pressed his chest again, this more more frantically, and yet again there was no response. Instead, the last milk he’d taken flowed out of his mouth, slowly as if from a lifeless container.
It seemed like we were losing him.
I breathed into his mouth again, and pressed his chest, and this time his mother held and closed his nose as I did so. Still nothing.
The fourth time, he coughed back to life. And his mother grabbed him fast and lifted him. “Do you want to give us a heart attack, son, she uttered with relief”.
The question now was, “What is happening? What’s wrong with our son?”
We didn’t know what was really happening and what our next move was supposed to be. As we wondered, I put my hand on my son and started praying. I wanted any negative spirits that could have been targeting my family to go away and for God to cover us with his hand.
We sat on the bed as I prayed, and then he stopped breathing again. My wife was holding him, and then she went into CPR mode as well. One, two, three, four, one, two, three, four, she went as she breathed into him and pushed his chest. Nothing. Second try, third try then he came back ti life again. He coughed and started breathing.
She said, “Baby we need to go to the hospital and immediately got up and started packing up his hospital bag as I held him in my hands.”
I got up and went to the lounge, switched on the TV and selected the Emmanuel TV Christian channel. I continued praying to my son and pleading for him and his mother came to join me. We got caught up in prayer and continued praying for almost an hour or so.
I wasn’t sure if this was a spiritual attack or just a medical problem on our son, or both. He had been born pre-term at just 800 grams (0.8kg) weight and they had let us have him home once he reached 1.6 kg showing signs that he was now ready to carry himself through. They were born twins with his brother at very similar weights after just 26 weeks of pregnancy, and they had managed to fight through incubation until they were discharged.
They were doing well. We had just had him home a little while and then this started… “Maybe they discharged them too early?” We wondered. But we had seen the process and watched them grow and stabilise over time. It seemed like they were ready when we took them home. We had been going to the hospital every day for two months and my wife actually stayed there most of the time.
But this night, we were having it tough so we poured everything in prayer.
After about an hour and half of stability while we prayed and sat in the lounge, around 01:30 am, he stopped breathing again. My wife did CPR three times and resuscitated him again. “Man! Ah! This is unusual! Let’s go the hospital now!” We both said as we stood up with ready bags to go.
We got to the car and I opened the door and we put bags in the car, he stopped breathing again. My wife laid him in a blanket on the boot of the car and resuscitated him again using CPR.
We were praying, watching, monitoring, wondering as we went to the hospital. We had actually become a bit more calm because we had seen that we’d been able to resuscitate him four times already, and so if he stopped breathing now, it was an automatic response to breathe into him and administer CPR.
He stopped breathing again just before we got to the hospital and my wife resuscitated him again as we were pulling into the hospital gates.
He was rushed into the observation room on arrival and they stabilised his breathing with oxygen support.
We had been told that in pre-term children sometimes the part of the brain that regulates breathing takes long to develop, and so sometimes they can “forget” breathing and once their body is starved of oxygen, they turn blue and die. He was kept under observation and tests however revealed a respiratory infection, which was treated and then he was discharged on day 4.
His twin brother, whom he had left at home was doing alright and seemed to be doing alright until on his brother’s third day in hospital, he also stopped breathing. We instantly got into CPR mode and resuscitated him then rushed him to the hospital as well. He would also stop breathing again and we resuscitated him again before getting to the hospital.
He had also developed the respiratory infection and was stabilised and treated before discharge after four days of monitoring and observation.
What a test this was for the both of us.
We are extremely grateful for the mind to resuscitate and use CPR. None of us had had a first hand experience of having to do this, but it just came to mind and saved our children. Today, they are two years and have never had any complications since this instance.
I encourage everyone to learn CPR and to teach friends, family and others too because it really can save lives.
We didn’t know when the ambulances would arrive and if we had called the ambulance, we would have lost our children because they would have been starved of oxygen for too long. We thank God because every time they stopped breathing they were in our watch and both my wife and I were present to respond. We can only imagine what would have happened if this had happened in our absense or while we were asleep.
According to research, the brain can survive for up to about six minutes after the heart stops. The reason to learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is that if CPR is started within six minutes of cardiac arrest, the brain may survive the lack of oxygen. After about six minutes without CPR, however, the brain begins to die.
About The Author
Desmond Mapfumo is a Mindset Coach, Startup Builder and Consultant. He is the Founder and Contributing Editor For Inspiration Media Publications. Inspiration Media is member of the Rebirth Group, which he also founded and leads as the Chief Executive Officer.