Last goodbyes… Then he opened his eyes

Mea­gan Wight, 32, was just wait­ing for her baby to die. But it seems a cer­tain some­one had other ideas...

Pick Me Up! - - CONTENTS -

I told lit­tle Zoe that her brother had a boo­boo in his brain

The news I’d had was amaz­ing – and there was one lit­tle lady that I couldn’t wait to share it with…

‘Guess what?’ I said to my 2-year-old daugh­ter Zoe. ‘You’re go­ing to have a baby brother!’

‘When can I meet him!?’ she asked, ex­cit­edly.

‘Well, not for a few months yet,’ my hubby Jar­rod, 32, told her, laugh­ing.

It was last Novem­ber and I’d just had my 12-week scan.

‘These are for the baby!’ Zoe beamed a few days later, hold­ing an arm­ful of dolls.

She’d talk to my bump, too, even tried to brush the baby’s teeth through my belly­but­ton!

But ex­cite­ment turned to con­cern when I went into early labour in Fe­bru­ary this year, at 32 weeks preg­nant.

An ul­tra­sound showed our baby had an en­larged heart and a bright spot on his liver.

‘We need to de­liver him as soon as pos­si­ble,’ I was told.

‘I’ll be right there,’ Jar­rod said when I called him at work, where he’s a tech­ni­cian.

When lit­tle Do­minic ar­rived by emer­gency Cae­sarean, I took one look at him and was hor­ri­fied.

He was cov­ered in pur­ple spots and his skin was blue.

‘What’s wrong with my baby?’ I pan­icked.

Doc­tors couldn’t ex­plain the spots and raced our boy straight to In­ten­sive Care, where he was ven­ti­lated and put on life sup­port.

See­ing him three hours later, I choked back tears.

I could barely see my son through all the wires that were cov­er­ing his lit­tle body.

The spots, all over him now, had turned an an­gry red.

‘They’re just birth­marks,’ a doc­tor ex­plained.

Called he­man­giomas, they were non-can­cer­ous growths of blood ves­sels – and harm­less.

It was such a re­lief, but we weren’t out of the woods yet…

Do­minic could still die from be­ing so pre­ma­ture.

He was on life sup­port, his poor lungs not fully formed, and he was un­re­spon­sive.

The next day, our baby was di­ag­nosed with ar­te­ri­ove­nous mal­for­ma­tion (AVM) of his liver and brain.

AVM meant that Do­minic had a tan­gle of blood ves­sels with ab­nor­mal con­nec­tions be­tween his ar­ter­ies and veins.

The AVM in our baby’s liver was caus­ing his heart to fail, while his right tem­po­ral lobe had haem­or­rhaged, caus­ing our poor boy to suf­fer a stroke.

‘I didn’t know ba­bies could have strokes,’ Jar­rod gasped.

‘It’s likely his brain won’t func­tion 100 per cent nor­mally and he might not be able to breathe in­de­pen­dently,’ a doc­tor said.

I could barely take in the fact that our boy’s life was hang­ing by a thread.

‘I don’t want to bury our son,’ I sobbed to Jar­rod.

The thought of telling Zoe – who was stay­ing with my mum Deb­bie, 64 – that she might lose the lit­tle brother she was so ex­cited to meet broke our hearts.

‘Dommy has a boo-boo in his brain,’ I told her gen­tly.

‘Does he need a plas­ter?’ Zoe replied sweetly as I fought back tears.

Be­ing so young, Zoe didn’t re­ally un­der­stand, but she knew that Jar­rod and I were sad, so she’d bring us tis­sues when she saw us cry­ing.

Do­minic was still in a crit­i­cal con­di­tion – and, al­though he was con­scious, our poor baby was still com­pletely un­re­spon­sive.

The AVM in Do­minic’s liver was forc­ing his lit­tle heart to work over­time. Doc­tors couldn’t be sure how much longer he’d last, as he couldn’t breathe or reg­u­late his body tem­per­a­ture on his own.

If our boy ever did wake up prop­erly, it was likely that he’d have cere­bral palsy, blind­ness, deaf­ness and men­tal deficits.

‘We may have to con­sider turn­ing off his life sup­port,’ a con­sul­tant told us.

So hor­ri­fy­ing to hear, we couldn’t con­tain our tears. De­spite our to­tal de­spair,

we had to ac­cept that,

He was fight­ing for his life and wasn’t giv­ing up eas­ily!

how­ever har­row­ing, it was re­ally the right thing to do.

‘If he won’t re­cover and he re­ally has got se­vere brain dam­age, we’re just pro­long­ing his suf­fer­ing,’ I told Jar­rod.

‘It’s not fair to let him linger on in pain,’ he agreed.

We didn’t know how much longer we’d get with our beau­ti­ful baby boy, so we de­cided to make the most of it be­fore we agreed to let him go.

The hos­pi­tal so­cial worker team ar­ranged for a pho­tog­ra­pher to come into the ward and take some fam­ily pic­tures of all of us.

They should have been the first of many. But these pho­tos would be the only ones we’d ever have.

Heart­break­ing.

Hos­pi­tal staff also ar­ranged for Do­minic to be bap­tised.

Then, at 9am on 19 Fe­bru­ary this year, Jar­rod and I looked on as each of the wires was un­plugged from Do­minic’s lit­tle body.

Al­though I didn’t want to look, I forced my­self not to take my eyes off of him.

‘Good­bye,’ I wept as the last wire was re­moved.

We never left his side as we waited for him to pass away...

But as the hours passed, Do­minic was still with us.

And when the doc­tor came to check on him at 4pm that day, we were given some very un­ex­pected news.

‘It’s un­usual, but it seems that Do­minic’s con­di­tion is ac­tu­ally im­prov­ing,’ he said.

‘We need to sup­port him, be­cause it seems your lit­tle boy isn’t go­ing any­where!’ the doc­tor said.

Me and Jar­rod stared at each other in dis­be­lief.

‘He’s go­ing to be OK?!’ I gasped.

Though the swelling on his brain caused by the stroke was com­ing down, it meant Do­minic would still be left with some brain dam­age.

But our baby boy was still fight­ing for his life, and it didn’t look like he was go­ing to give up eas­ily.

A few weeks later, Do­minic un­der­went surgery on his liver to re­move the bad veins.

The sur­geon said the op had never been per­formed on a baby so young, but tough Do­minic pulled through.

And at 3 weeks old, he opened his eyes prop­erly.

‘They’re so blue!’ I cooed as he gazed up at me.

Grad­u­ally, Do­minic be­came able to breathe on his own and can now reg­u­late his body’s tem­per­a­ture.

On 2 April, we fi­nally brought him back to our home, here in Al­berta, Canada.

‘He’s so lit­tle and pretty!’ Zoe gushed, thrilled.

We still have to wait and see what prob­lems will arise as a re­sult of Do­minic’s dif­fi­cult start in life, but phys­io­ther­apy ses­sions are help­ing give him the best chance pos­si­ble.

Around 300 birth­marks still cover his body. Luck­ily, they’re not con­nected to his AVM or stroke and doc­tors hope they’ll dis­ap­pear in time.

Most peo­ple are re­spect­ful and just ask us ques­tions – and we’re happy to ex­plain.

How­ever, some peo­ple haven’t re­acted so well.

‘You shouldn’t bring him out if he’s ill,’ a passerby said.

But cruel jibes will not hold our lit­tle boy back.

We put a sticker on his pram say­ing, I’ve got birth­marks.

Zoe has even started to draw some lit­tle red spots on her dolls!

Like us, she’s re­ally proud of lit­tle Do­minic.

With ev­ery­thing he’s sur­vived so far, a few red marks won’t set him back.

My tiny tough cookie

How long would we have with our beau­ti­ful boy...

Baby Do­minic in hos­pi­tal: so des­per­ately poorly...

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