Why this mother and newborn are saviours for each other

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The sweet smiles and the cooing sound of two-month-old baby Elvin is in fact an elixir for his mother Betina, who had opened her eyes after lying unconscious for almost 10 months following a severe head injury. The great resilience showed by Betina and the baby in her womb was unparalleled, and it often made even the doctors speechless with amazement. The mother had kept her son safe in her womb, and now the baby is bringing her back into life.

When death came close

It was on January 2, 2018 that Betina, wife of Kottayam native Anoop was admitted to the Caritas Hospital with severe head injury. A nasty fall had caused an injury to her brain, and when Betina was rushed into the hospital she was half dead. The doctors at the ICU tried hard to keep her alive. The rate of her heart beat plunged to just 23% and she couldn't breathe in oxygen as her lungs were swollen.

Dr Vivek of the emergency medicine department informed Betina's relatives that they couldn't do anything more. It was then, Betina's husband Anoop, with folded hands and tears in his eyes told, ''She is pregnant.'' Dr Vivek quickly informed the hospital management and a medical board was formed to supervise the treatment. The medical board comprised of some of the most efficient doctors like gynecologist Dr D Reji, neuro-physician Dr Joseph Sebastian and neonatologist Dr Sajan Thomas.

The treatment

The team of doctors hardly had anything like this in the history of modern medicine to refer to. Hence, they took Betina’s case as a challenge. They told the relatives to be ready to face any grave situation.

Betina was not stable until two weeks as her body was not responding to the medicines. Meanwhile it was decided to abort the foetus in her womb, which was just 9 weeks old. Besides, the doctors were doubtful whether the foetus would be able to survive as Betina was given strong antibiotic medicines. Dr. Reji says that the heartbeat of the baby was too low, hampering the hopes of the medical team. Many scanning and X–ray tests were done on Betina on a daily basis, and the doctors feared that this too would adversely affect the health of the foetus. So she was shifted to the Kottayam Medical College Hospital for an abortion. The doctors at the medical college, however, said that the foetus would be aborted naturally, and a medical procedure could put the mother’s life at further risk. But God had some other plans for Betina and her unborn child.

In a scanning done at the 11th week of gestation, the doctors were astounded to find out that the foetus had normal growth corresponding to its gestational age. The rate of the heart beat too had increased significantly. Though the doctors became hopeful, they did not show it to her relatives. Meanwhile, Betina had contracted severe infections many times; medicines worth Rs 15,000 were administered daily. After one-and-a half months of special treatment in the ICU, Betina was finally shifted to a hospital room. The doctors decided to give her liquid food through the nasogastric tube. Now the doctors were not only hopeful about Betina's life but also confident about the life in her womb.

'He' is born

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Betina's family was giving her nutritious food to nourish the foetus, through the tube. In the fifth month, in a scanning, the baby's right hand was not found. Again there were discussions about the fate of the foetus. However the medical board decided against an abortion and scheduled another scanning after two more weeks. In that scanning, both the hands of the fetus were clearly visible and the doctors realised that this baby was meant to be born. Dr Sajan Thomas, head of the department of neonatology, gave confidence to his colleagues. He asked them to take care of the mother and the foetus for three more weeks, and assured that he would take care of the rest.

An inseparable bond

Though Betina couldn’t feel the baby growing inside her, others could feel her tummy move as the foetus kicked and moved inside her womb. Anoop kept his hands on her stomach and talked to his unborn child. Finally, in the 37th week of pregnancy, the fetus weighed 1.960 kg, and it was found out that the level of the amniotic fluid has dropped. The doctors decided to deliver the baby in a caesarean section on June 14.

On the day of the C-section, Betina was taken into the operation theatre though she didn't know anything about it. Without any complications or health issues, Elvin, son of Betina and Anoop, was born to this world. The doctors admit that whatever happened after the birth of the baby was nothing short of a miracle.

Hearing the soft little cries of her newborn child, there was a slight movement in Betina's eyes. When the baby was laid beside her, Betina's eyes were filled with tears and tried to move her hands to touch her child. After two weeks of medical observation in the neonatal ward, baby Elvin was shifted to his mother's room. The cries and laughs of the baby became Betina's medicine. Doctors were surprised to see that Betina's condition was improving significantly, and that the baby and the mother had become each other’s saviour. Betina can now move her hands and places her fingers on her baby as if she is trying to hold him closer.

The baby was christened Elvin, meaning 'beloved friend' as he has been to his mother. On the day of Elvin's baptism ceremony, Betina was made to sit in a wheel chair for the first time. When baby Elvin was placed on her lap, she smiled and touched him with all the love of a mother.

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