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The last thing she recalled was how very cold it was when she was taken into the operating theatre for an emergency C-section. After that, she woke up, confused and disoriented at being in a hospital room with a nurse trying to hand something to her.

Two months had passed between those two moments. Mbali Mbatha had given birth to a healthy baby girl and she had made history as the first recipient of a Covid-19-related lung transplant. But Mbali (27) was unaware of it until she was brought out of a medically induced coma in February.

She only remembers of how scared she was when she gave birth on 1 December. “I felt so alone – my husband couldn’t be with me and I didn’t even get to see my baby,” she tells YOU. “I gave birth and passed out.”

A local publication understood very well that Mbali had tested positive for Covid-19 and had been admitted to hospital on 23 November last year because she was having difficulties to breathe. She had no comorbidities and was a non-smoker and fit, but doctors were worried about her ability to breathe properly. When she was 30 weeks into her pregnancy she was advised to have a C-section after she contracted pneumonia as a result of Covid-19.

“My obstetrician said they needed to prepare me for a C-section,” she says. If she went into labour while struggling to breathe, the risk would be too high for her and her baby, she was told. “I was scared for my baby’s life. I was given a minute to call my husband, then I was whisked into the operating theatre.”

Sizwe Mthiyane (37) was afraid that he might lose his wife and unborn child, and what was meant to be their first festive season preparing to be new parents became a nerve-racking nightmare for him.

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