And the journey started…

About 10 minutes into the drive, my husband and in-laws were all discussing in the car, suddenly I noticed my sister in-law stopped talking. As I turned to look at her, I saw tears in her eyes and then I looked at my baby and saw that she was gasping for air.

That was the first time her body was moving and suddenly, she closed her eyes and started foaming from her mouth. Her complexion turned blue and her body became stiff. She was getting cold… Her heart had stopped beating again and this time she was dead.I had lost her. My baby was gone!!!She was lifeless, but I wouldn’t accept that. NO!

I went down on my knees in the moving car, reached out for her hand and called on God to intervene. I didn’t know what I said but I knew I prayed and spoke in other tongues for as long as I could. I lost track of time whe meditating until I heard her sneeze.

That was the first time she made a sound!

She cried a little and then I took a deep breathe and said, “Lord thank you again, for this one has a date with destiny.”I became stronger and more confident that God was in this with me. I was not sure what lay ahead of us or what the new hospital was going to diagnose her with, but I was certain that God was in this with me.

That was the hope, confidence and the strength that I had. Finally, we got to the new hospital, but she still didn’t cry on the first or second day, and days gradually became weeks. I was distraught. She was still on oxygen and I noticed that each time they took the oxygen off, she would turn blue or go through a cardiac arrest till it was fixed back on.

There were nights I went to see her in the Intensive Care Unit, but she wouldn’t even blink her eyes, or move her body. What my husband and I began to do each time we came in contact with her was to pray and make positive confessions over her. We made her to know that she was not supposed to be in a hospital, but at home with her family celebrating her arrival. We kept on giving her kisses, showering her with love.

Even scarier is the fact that every morning, we would see corpses of babies being wheeled out from the hospital. I proclaimed that my baby was not going to be on the line. She was not going to be one of the corpses, but rather one of the children that would walk out of that place alive! So, we kept on praying and fighting for her life.

Interestingly, the hospital did not make provisions for patients’ relatives. As far as they were concerned, we were not their priority and so there was no place for us to sleep. My husband couldn’t sleep in the car and leave me alone outside the hospital ward. So, he got some blankets that we would spread on the bare floor outside the ward to sleep and watch over our daughter.

This continued for 30 days.

It wasn’t a secure place, anything could have happened to us but God kept us safe. I remember one of the security guards chasing all the patients’ relatives who were sleeping by the ICU, and we took a stand not leave. He said he was going to pour water on us if we insisted, and that statement broke my spirit. I reacted, because for the first time I felt how insensitive people can be to the plight of others. Aaccording to him, he was just doing his job, but what we needed in the face of death was empathy.

Back to my story…

We kept on making declarations over our baby, and one morning, we were informed that she had a chest infection and pneumonia. According to doctors, those were some of the reasons she wasn’t breathing. We were further shocked to learn that she had multiple holes in her heart, called it AVSD (Atrioventricular Septal Defect).

That was not all…

From the way she looked, she had a feature of Trisome 21 popularly known as Down Syndrome. When I heard this, I felt like dying. How could only one poor child be diagnosed with all of this!?

I resolved to not be deterred by this new findings. So I proposed in my heart to do all I could to ensure my baby stayed alive and live a healthy to experience a normal life like every other child her age. Finally, she started responding to treatment.

A few days later, I received some wonderful news, “Madam, your baby has been crying. She wants to bring down our ward with her lungs!”

She was discharged from the hospital. On getting home, I realized after a few nights that our journey to saving our little Angel’s life had just begun. Weeks and months passed by, but my baby was not thriving; at 9 months she was weighing 4.5g, which was underweight.

I was doing all I could to build her weight, even researching on Google most of the time. But we were so broke that we couldn’t afford the cost of the surgery needed to treat her.

We needed help and support. Lots of it.

Fom then on, I made it my priority, and was determined to achieve this goal. My daughter must live! So, I began to write to different NGOS and foundations – locally and internationally – for aid so that my daughter could get an open heart surgery. I even tried fundraising, but all my efforts failed.

At this point, my husband and I had traveled to different parts of the country in search of help for our little girl. We had both lost our jobs, and the stress was taking a toll on us mentally. Almost a year later, we were still struggling.

One morning, after watching my daughter cry for hours nonstop, I knew she was in severe pain,but I couldn’t help her and that killed me. I become sad, broken, frustrated, helpless, and felt the need to put an end to it all.

One morning, I bathed and dressed my baby up, kissed her good bye, and went to the bathroom to commit suicide. Suddenly, she daughter started crying at the top of her voice as if she had been bitten by something. I rushed out of the bathroom, and when she saw me, she gave me a smile and went back to sleep.

I stood speechless, and in that moment I realized fighting for her meant I had to stay alive and healthy. There and then, I made a vow to live for her. Afterwards, I cried out for help in my local fellowship.

Guess what? Help came!

My daughter had her first heart surgery in 2017. After the surgery, she started gaining weight, crawling amd her cries reduced.

While all this was going, on something terrible happened to me – I had a miscarriage. I lost a baby I never got the chance to meet. I was too overwhelmed by my daughter’s condition that I didn’t notice I was pregnant. It was when I started bleeding and was rushed to the hospital, that I got to know.

Sadly, it was too late! My heart was crushed and I became withdrawn. I shut everyone out I’m search of quietness again.

When I regained myself, I decided to nurse my daughter until she was okay. To do.tjat, I sacrificed my job hunt, social life and other aspects to manage her condition. Then in 2020, things became worse for us again. Annabel had started experiencing seizures weekly. I didn’t want to lose my daughter, so I cried out for help.

And this time, God used my life coach to intervene. Finally, Annabel had an open heart surgery. Today, Annabel has recuperated well and is currently going through therapy. She can say some words like comeback, ball, and roll your ball.

One of the lessons I learnt from this whole experience is that God is always with us in our bad and good times. He still performs miracle. We can only heal if we allow ourselves to be healed. Most importantly, no matter the problem suicide is never the answer.

Looking back today, I am grateful we trusted God and that we fought for her. I’m thankful I didn’t bottle all up what I was passing through. If I did, perhaps my daughter wouldn’t be here today.

This life changing experience birthed to two powerful visions of mine; Annabel Akagbosu Heart Foundation for Children (helping kids with heart condition get free heart surgery and therapy), and Becoming A Leading Woman Initiative (raising and nurturing broken women to find their path in life through story telling).

It’s been a long year and everything seems to have fallen in place for me. Today, I am a Life Coach. Content Creator and a Counsellor.

You can read the first part of this story here.