“Life has changed a lot since I’ve become a father – nothing gives me more happiness than my baby girl’s smile. But when I see her running out of breath, I fear I will lose her to her severe heart condition any minute. But saving her is beyond my reach as I have been unemployed because of the scanty rains in Tamil Nadu. I have been actively looking for new jobs, but haven’t been able to find any. At this point, I consider myself lucky on the days that I can feed my family a square meal, saving my baby girl is out of my reach.”-Kumar, father of 3-month-old Chinnaponnu.
These parents were on the verge of losing their baby right after birth
Despite his modest means, Kumar made sure that his wife, Priya was taken for regular tests and scans during her pregnancy. The couple was looking forward to welcoming a healthy baby into their lives when the unthinkable happened. Within seconds of arriving in the world, Baby Chinnaponnu developed severe breathing problems and her body was yellow all over. The doctors at the Trichy hospital in which she was born suspected jaundice – Priya hadn’t even held her enough before she was taken away to the ICU after the doctors said that she was in a critical condition.
“Right after the doctor gave me the good news that I had become a father, it was followed by a bad news – that she was very unwell. We were told that she had severe jaundice and needed to spend a few days at the hospital to recover. When I saw her small face for the first time, I started crying. My wife could not hold back her tears either – we just prayed for her to be alright soon. Little did we know that she would have more problems than this.”-Kumar.
Baby Chinnaponnu was found to have a hole in her heart, doctors in their hometown said she cannot be saved
Kumar and Priya were relieved when the doctors told them that Chinnaponnu’s jaundice had been successfully treated and that they can take her home. They were ecstatic and finally looked forward to living the life they imagined with their baby when she started having breathing troubles again. She couldn’t drink milk properly – she could only drink by pausing as she was always running out of breath. They could also feel her heart beating rapidly, and were once again scared for her life. They took her to many hospitals, where scans revealed that the baby had VSD – Ventricular Septal Defect, a hole in the wall separating the two low chambers of the heart, along with PAH – Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension – high blood pressure due to narrowing of arteries in the heart.
“At almost all hospitals in Trichy we were told that our child’s heart was damaged beyond repair. They told us to not to keep our hopes up as no treatment can save her. But we couldn’t give up – we wanted to save her at any cost. That is when I begged and borrowed to take her to a good hospital in Chennai, where we were told that she is at a high risk of heart failure and her breathing will only get worse without an urgent surgery.”-Kumar.
Kumar has been struggling in vain to find a job, and cannot afford to save his baby girl
Ever since the doctors told him that his baby’s surgery needs to be done immediately, Kumar has been desperate for a job. He used to earn Rs 200 a day as a laborer on a farm near Trichy, but has been out of work for a few months now and is taking care of his family by borrowing from friends
. He does not have relatives who can help him in his hour of need. Now he has reached the point where he is ready to take up even odd jobs to support his family, but nothing has worked out for him so far. The worst part is that he knows that even if he gets a menial job soon, he cannot make enough money for the surgery.
“My baby’s condition is worsening with time, and I am helpless. On most days now, I go to bed on an empty stomach but I make sure that my wife gets to eat something as she is breastfeeding. I cannot let them suffer because of my inability to find a job. But I don’t know how long we can go on like this – we will lose our child and our will to live if we do not get immediate help.”-Kumar.
How you can help
Baby Chinnaponnu has a severe heart defect that is making her breathless and unable to feed properly. She needs an urgent heart surgery, but her poor unemployed father has not been able to find work for a long time and is struggling to save her. With your help, this baby can get a life-saving surgery.