Reena Alemeida had felt her daughter’s kicks in the womb, so when she was born three months early on December 7, weighing just 510 grams, the 32-year-old feared she would never get to cradle her second child.
But Infinity, as the child has now been named, was a fighter. Last week, Reena took her baby home after 12 weeks in hospital.
“The doctor had lost all hope, but my husband and I told him to take the chance. Even if there was a one percent chance, we wanted to take it,” said Reena, a Khar resident. The couple borrowed money and spent most of their savings to ensure Infinity survived.
Infinity was born at 24 weeks — a stage when the chance of a baby’s survival is almost zero at a poorly equipped facility. At the best of centres, only 50% of babies born this early survive. Most doctors do not even attempt to save the child, as the possibility of a healthy survival is low.
So Infinity’s recovery is no less than a miracle, as she has not developed any neurological defects — common in children born so prematurely.
“Her lungs had not developed. For this, we gave her surfactant injections. She was on ventilator support for 17 days,” said Dr Nandkishore Kabra from Surya Mother and Child Care Hospital in Santacruz. Reena and her husband James were shocked when doctors at a private nursing home in Khar told them an emergency caesarean section will be required. “To save my child, we decided to do the operation. Even then, we had told doctors to do everything possible,” said Reena.
It was not just her lungs that worried the family and doctors. Infinity had jaundice — common in children born so early, as the liver is underdeveloped.
“She was also anaemic and required three blood transfusions. Owing to the premature birth, she could have permanent vision loss, which we corrected with a laser surgery,” said Dr Kabra.
Babies born before 37 weeks of pregnancy are classified pre-term, and the chances of their survival are low.
But Reena and James fought all odds to help their daughter live. “I had felt her kicks in my womb. How could I let her go?”