Thursday, July 31, 2008


From TODAY, Voices, I Say
Thursday July 31, 2008

Parents-to-be who are going through tough times need support too

Tee Bee Ling

PICTURE: Expecting parents need more than just financial support.


IN LESS than two months, my baby will be born.

But unlike other most other babies, mine was diagnosed when he was only 19 weeks old as having a hole in the heart as well as a “missing” oxygen vessel.

The world has come crashing down for my husband and I.

After numerous growth scans, the missing vessel in the heart still cannot be detected. An operation cannot be performed if it cannot be found.

We sought a second medical opinion and the answer was the same — there is not much hope for my unborn son. The only hope he might have is in the United States. We were asked if we would consider an abortion but we couldn’t bear to do it. We could see the development of our baby’s hands, legs, body, head. He even showed us his “playful” side in the growth scan — he blew a bubble and sucked his thumb.

We have decided to keep him and to stay positive in the hope that his missing oxygen vessel will develop before his delivery.

The doctors and nurses at the National University Hospital have shown my husband and I much compassion, but there is only so much they can do.

There is no support group available. I have not much support as I left my family a long time ago. My husband’s parents are old and we have kept the truth from them.

Once he is born, our baby will be rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where doctors and nurses will try their best to keep him alive. Since no operation can be performed on him, it will be left to him to fight for his own survival.

I have “downgraded” my consultations so as to save some money for the operation, should there be one.

However, our funds are low and whatever we can borrow from the bank will not be sufficient to pay the bills either here or overseas, should we ever have to head there.

With on-going discussions about boosting the baby index, one wonders if there has been any thought given to couples who might face such unexpected birth issues such as ours. Not just monetary but also emotional support as well.

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