It was May 2013 when I found out that I was pregnant and I was very happy, I immediately had a short prayer and ask God that my child should be a baby girl as I already have 2 boys.
I went to my antenatal consultations and the scans showed that I was expecting a baby girl. My husband and my boys were very happy and could not wait to meet our Princess.
On 21 January 2014 my husband was hijacked and tortured by the hijackers. Upon hearing about the ordeal my husband had gone through, I went into labour and my daughter was born the following day on 22 January 2014. I gave birth at Chris Hani (Baragwanath ) Hospital. When I held my daughter for the first time I noticed that something was wrong with her left foot, I remember calling my mother around 23:45, very worried, telling her I gave birth and everything went well however there seem to be a problem with the baby’s foot.
I was very shocked because this was not even detected in all the prenatal scans I had. The doctors started visiting us the following day,yet there was no explanation about the foot. All that was said was that she had Jaundice and will be kept in hospital for few days. On the third day, a nurse came in the morning and I was told that we were going to the Orthopaedic clinic. When we got there I could see some children having similar foot as Omphulusa my daughter. My turn came to see the doctors, some of my questions were answered and I was told it is not a disability but deformity and can be treated. I was told that the condition is called Clubfoot I asked why, did I do something wrong during my pregnancy that made my child to have Clubfoot? The Doctor said ‘No, it is a condition that just happens’. I was still not convinced and had so many questions about this Clubfoot but I was very happy that the Doctor said with treatment it could be corrected.
My daughter was 3 days old when we started with casting, when they were busy with her little foot she would cry and that really broke my heart. I did not know if they were hurting her but just had to be strong because I wanted her little left foot to be like the right foot. It was 12 weeks of casting we got used to going to Baragwanath every Wednesday for casting. Going to the hospital was not a challenge for me fortunately because my father would drop me off and picked me up once we were done. I was also lucky that he did not work far from home and hospital.(20 km). She was booked for her tendon operation (tenotomy). I remember there was Dr Vilakazi coming to the ward to fetch her and he kept on reassuring me that all will be fine. I went to Theatre with her when they put her to sleep, and I I remember the Doctors were very supportive and kept on reassuring me that she will be fine. The Operation took 10 minutes. She was out and at the end of the day we were discharged.
We then went to another stage of treatment all was going well but I still wanted to know more about Clubfoot, so I started doing some research through google and came across an organisation called Steps and the founder is Karen Moss. I got the contact details, I phoned her and emailed requesting posters and pamphlets that could assist me and my family to have knowledge about Clubfoot as it was new to me and my family. Karen responded immediately. The foundation assisted greatly. There was a stage that Omphu did not want to wear the shoes that were manufactured by the hospital and buying the other shoes would have been expensive however Steps and Ursula the Steps parent educator at Bara were kind enough to donate the shoes for Omphu. She loved those shoes, sometimes if she is not cheeky she would ask me to put them on. And she would show everyone that comes in the house her special shoes.
It has indeed been a long journey but the support and love that Omphu and I got from the families and the doctors and Steps at the Orthopaedic clinic gave me the strength to continue and not give up. My daughter can dance, jump and walk like any other child her age. And that gives me peace of mind. To all the mothers with children born with clubfoot please do not give up, do it for your bundle of joy.
It was a long journey and it was worth it. My story is a successful one. Yours too can be a successful one. Clubfoot is not a disability it can be corrected.