Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Mom, baby in 'miracle' survival

14/08/2007 08:40 - (SA)

Riette Olivier, Die Burger

Port Elizabeth - A bullet meant for a pregnant woman's stomach hit her in the breast and saved her baby's life.

After more than three days in labour Selma Brown, 27, from Forest Hill, will carry her baby to term.

Brown and her partner, Richard Swanepoel, dropped off their one-year-old son Joshua at about 07:27 at the house of Swanepoel's mother on August 4.

Brown remained sitting in the car and noticed a man walking by. "He saw me sitting inside the car and started walking up to me.

"He first walked past the car, then suddenly turned around and hit the window with a revolver. I quickly gave him my handbag. He took it, but then aimed the gun at my stomach and fired a shot."

'I've been shot'

The bullet hit her in the breast and the man ran away. Brown got out of the car and ran towards the house. At that moment Swanepoel came out of the house.

"The blood was spouting from my breast like a fountain. I screamed at Richard that I had been shot."

They got back into the car and rushed to Life St Georges Hospital, where she jumped out and ran into the hospital.

"I shouted: 'I'm 31 weeks pregnant, I have been shot and I don't want to lose my baby. Help!'

"I kept thinking I didn't want to die yet, I couldn't leave Joshua behind."

By 07:40 she was already on a drip. The trauma caused her to go into labour. She was in labour for three days with contractions only three minutes apart.

"I immediately started taking tablets to stop the labour process. The nurses also gave me two steroid injections for my baby's lungs in case she was born prematurely."

The labour process eventually stopped on Monday when she underwent surgery to remove the bullet.

A week later her baby was still healthy and she will be born in a month's time by means of Caesarean section.

"I decided to call her Carma. The word means love and through everything that has happened to me, she has remained healthy. It is also a miracle that I will be carrying her to term. Even with the bullet that went through my breast I will be able to breastfeed her," she said.

"I'm sure there's a reason for her being alive."


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