Phiwemna’s unstoppable journey to a joyous first Christmas

Against all odds: The baby who wanted to live

Thursday, December 21 2023

In a heart warming tale that echoes the spirit of the season, Yandisa Madikizela and her family are basking in the magic of a very special Christmas, savouring every moment with their newest addition, Phiwemna – the extraordinary baby who defied all odds to be here today.

It all began when Yandisa, at 25 weeks pregnant, was urgently admitted to Netcare Margate Hospital due to severe pregnancy-induced hypertension. What started as a routine consultation a few weeks earlier took a harrowing turn as her blood pressure soared, prompting urgent medical attention.

The battle against pregnancy-induced hypertension, also known as preeclampsia, was relentless, leading to multiple hospital admissions. On 17 August 2023, at just 25 weeks gestation, Yandisa's baby, Phiwemna, made a silent entrance into the world, weighing a fragile 748 grams.

Sister Amanda Grobler, the unit manager of the maternity and neonatal intensive care unit at Netcare Margate Hospital, vividly recalls the critical moment, “Yandisa was extremely ill. Preeclampsia can be exceptionally dangerous and can cause severe complications. It can potentially even be fatal.

The dire situation unfolded as Phiwemna, fragile and barely holding onto life, entered the world. Sister Grobler reflects, "We warmed him and gave him a little oxygen, and that is when it all changed… he started rallying. It was a miracle, a total turnaround."

Pic: Mrs Andiswa Madikizela and her husband, Simphiwe, are celebrating their first Christmas with their ‘miracle’ baby Phiwemna, who was born prematurely at just 25 weeks’ gestation weighing a mere 748  


“Against all odds, Phiwemna embarked on a miraculous journey of recovery. Though initially frail, the tiny infant defied expectations, regaining strength in the neonatal intensive care unit at Netcare Margate Hospital. Phiwemna proved to be a true survivor, and his progress brought immense joy to his family and the hospital staff, who were in awe of the little warrior,” she remarked.

Reflecting on the remarkable turnaround, Sister Grobler added, “It really is quite remarkable that this baby decided he wanted to live, against all odds. Fortunately, despite his extremely fragile state, he was generally healthy – he had no infection, and there was nothing wrong with his lungs.”

The Madikizela family's joy was palpable as they welcomed Phiwemna home after 84 days in the hospital. Yandisa, a dedicated mother, juggled work as a policewoman with providing expressed milk for her baby throughout his hospitalisation. Her generosity extended beyond her own family, as she also donated excess breastmilk to the Netcare Ncelisa human milk banks to nourish other babies in need.


"When my husband came to see me and told me our baby was alive, you should have seen his face; he was so happy. We have three girls aged 12, 11 and 6, and now here we have our son – it is unbelievable. It was a miracle, a huge one. We named our son Phiwemna, which means ‘special gift to me’,” shared Yandisa.

“He is very good and is such a sweet baby, and I’m so enjoying him! I took him for his immunisations today, and he already weighs 2.21 kilogrammes,” she adds proudly.

As Christmas approaches, the Madikizela family is savouring every moment of their first holiday season with Phiwemna, their precious gift. Today, Yandisa is a healthy mother, and Phiwemna is a thriving baby, reaching milestones and bringing immense joy to everyone around him.

Despite their good fortune, Yandisa has not forgotten how she feared for her and her baby’s, lives.

In a season filled with hope and miracles, Phiwemna's story stands as a testament to the resilience of life and the power of love. This Christmas, the Madikizela family celebrates not only the festive spirit but also the enduring strength of their newest family member – a true Christmas miracle.

Understanding pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH)


Why is pregnancy-induced hypertension a concern?
Pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) raises concerns due to its impact on the expectant mother's blood vessels, causing increased resistance. This elevated pressure can impede blood flow across vital organ systems, including the liver, kidneys, brain, uterus and placenta.


Complications may arise from PIH, such as placental abruption, where the placenta prematurely detaches from the uterus. Additionally, PIH can lead to foetal issues, including intrauterine growth restriction (poor foetal growth) and, in severe cases, stillbirth.

Left untreated, severe PIH can escalate to dangerous seizures and pose life-threatening risks for both the mother and unborn baby. To mitigate these dangers, medical intervention may necessitate the early delivery of the baby, typically before reaching 37 weeks of gestation.

Symptoms of pregnancy-induced hypertension:
Recognising the symptoms of high blood pressure during pregnancy is crucial for early detection and intervention. While each woman's experience may differ, common symptoms include the following:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Presence of protein in the urine
  • Oedema (swelling)
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Visual changes such as blurred or double vision
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Right-sided upper abdominal pain or discomfort around the stomach
  • Urinating small amounts
  • Changes in liver or kidney function tests

Being aware of these symptoms empowers expectant mothers to seek timely medical attention, ensuring the wellbeing of both them and their unborn child.

Please note: This information is provided for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you suspect any symptoms of PIH, please consult your healthcare professional immediately.


Notes to editor
Looking for a medical appointment? Netcare appointmed™ will make appointments for YOU with specialists practising at Netcare hospitals, GPs, and dentists at Netcare Medicross medical and dental centres, and specialists at Netcare Akeso mental health facilities. Simply request an appointment online at or phone Netcare appointmed™ on 0860 555 565, Mondays to Fridays between 08:00 and 17:00.

To find out more about the services offered through Netcare hospitals and other of the Group’s facilities, please or contact the Netcare customer service centre either by email at [email protected] or phone 0860 NETCARE (0860 638 2273). Note that the centre operates Mondays to Fridays from 08:00 to 16:00.

For media enquiries, contact MNA at the contact details listed below.

Issued by:    MNA on behalf of Netcare Margate Hospital
For media enquiries contact: Martina Nicholson, Meggan Saville or Estene Lotriet-Vorster 
Telephone:  (011) 469 3016
Email:  [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]