The Christian Science Monitor, January 2021
Just before noon on a slate-gray October morning, Nolusindiso “Sindi” Dlambewu lay on her back on a narrow red hospital cot and listened to the sound of her baby’s heart beating beneath her stomach. It was persistent and steady, and sounded as if it were coming from underwater. Woosh-woosh-woosh.
Like everything about this baby, and about this year, it was a little hard to believe this was real – that there was a tiny someone curled up against her spine. “I don’t have any words for it,” she’d say later, her voice dropping low in reverence, when her boyfriend, Bongani Mlambo, asked what it was like to hear that sound. “It’s just amazing.”
It had been nearly five hours since Sindi arrived at the Soweto clinic that October morning to join the prenatal visit line, which already at 7 a.m. snaked out of the low-slung building and into the nearby street. It was an unseasonably cold austral spring day seven months into South Africa’s coronavirus lockdown, and she pulled her jean jacket tight against her chest.