Generations of nursing care and a special magic touch

Father and son born at same hospital 31 years apart

by Tia

, When Mrs Roelene Coetzee wasrushed to Netcare Unitas Hospital for an emergency C-section more than a week ahead of her baby’s expected delivery date recently, she was as anxious as any first-time mother.

“I was scheduled for delivery of our first child on 7 May, but our little Jacobus Johannes could not wait and he was born weighing 4.09kg on 29 April,” Mrs Coetzee says.

“My husband’s parents came to see us at the hospital just before I was taken into theatre, and my parents were rushing through from Thabazimbi, Limpopo. It was awesome for us that both sets of grandparents were there to meet their new little grandson just as we came out of theatre.

“Jacobus Johannes is a cherished family name, and our son shares his name with both my husband and his paternal grandfather. What was quite amazing for me is that my husband was born at the same hospital, also in the month of April, 31 years ago,” she says.

“This shared history, along with our trust in obstetrician gynaecologist Dr René van As, made Netcare Unitas Hospital the perfect choice for our baby’s arrival.

“Over the years, we have always been happy with the care our family has received at the hospital, but I was more impressed than ever with the maternity unit. It is a bit overwhelming at first when you have just had a baby, and that first night, I was physically exhausted and yet very stressed because he was crying, and I wasn’t really sure what to do on my first night,” Mrs Coetzee adds.

Enrolled Nurse (EN) Tumi Mapatha was on night shift and ready to lend a caring and experienced hand to the new mother. “As a mother of two sons myself, I know exactly how it feels to be a new mother, and that is part of my vocation for maternity nursing,” EN Tumi said.

“Nursing care is a reflection of our shared humanity, and motherhood brings us even closer to our patients in the maternity unit.”

“Tumi was such a reassuring presence, and she has a special magic touch,” Mrs Coetzee says. She sat with us, calmed me, and showed me how to burp my baby and how to swaddle him, and I felt so supported. I don’t know who appreciated it more, me or my big baby boy,” she says.

“The maternity care we received went above and beyond the call of duty. I could definitely feel a connection in the way my baby was looking deeply into Tumi’s eyes, and she was looking at him with such love that I felt so relaxed with her looking after us, and at last, I could sleep,” Mrs Coetzee says.

“We work as a team in the maternity unit, and the mothers and babies are our priority,” EN Tumi says.

“As maternity nurses, we all know our duties and help each other to provide an environment that supports Mother Baby Friendly care, including promoting breastfeeding and close contact for bonding of mother and child.”

Day shift and night shift nurses work seamlessly with an in-depth handover for individual person centred care of mothers and babies.

“I always try to put myself in the mom’s shoes, remembering when I was a first time mother and I share the practical things mothers need to know to have confidence caring for their new babies,” EN Tumi says.

“We help explain the basics of breastfeeding, such as when to feed your baby, how to feed them, and how to position the baby so they won’t choke. It is so rewarding to support another woman through this beautiful experience of motherhood.”

Mr and Mrs Coetzee are now settling into life as new parents and Jacobus Johannes Junior is a bouncing baby boy, feeding well and recently had his first check-up since being discharged home.

The Coetzees thanked the maternity unit at Netcare Unitas, and Mrs Coetzee had a special message of appreciation for EN Tumi Mapatha. “Thank you Tumi, I learned a lot from you and our baby adores you. You are the best of the best,” Mrs Coetzee says.

This International Nurses Day, Netcare salutes all nurses and invites you to share your message of appreciation for nursing teams’ care on Netcare’s online Care4You platform at

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