“The longer he stays here, the clearer it’s becoming that he has no other option. With each new scan we’re finding out exactly how much our poor little one is suffering, when he’s not even a month old!
All he needs is one surgery, and then to just stay here in the NICU, just for a few more weeks. But the cost...” — Naushad, father
Naushad and Alfiya’s dreams had felt like they’d come true when they found out that she had gotten pregnant early this year. After 9 months of eager anticipation, they’d been more ecstatic than worried when doctors suggested Alfiya induce labour with 10 days still left to her due-date.
“They told us there was nothing to worry about. They’d just noticed some elevated heart-rate in the baby during a scan, and had wanted Alfiya to get a c-section done, so they could more easily keep both mother and child safe. The first two days went by uneventfully. But then we took him home, and everything went wrong.”
Their baby started whimpering in pain
“The first few hours after reaching home had felt like we were living in a dream-world. We finally had a baby of our own! But then we started noticing our son breathe more and more heavily. Soon, he was whimpering, no matter what we did! Terrified, we called for an ambulance, and took him to a big city hospital. We had no idea what the next few days had in store for us.”
Tests have revealed a life-threatening condition
Alfiya's son was born with a neural tube defect, a birth defect of the brain, spine, or spinal cord. They happen in the first month of pregnancy, often before a woman even knows that she is pregnant. The two most common neural tube defects are spina bifida and anencephaly. This newborn has been diagnosed with myelomeningocele, a severe type of spina bifida where the spinal cord and nerves develop outside of the body and are contained in a fluid-filled sac that is visible outside of the back area. Surgery and prolonged NICU stay can save his life, but Naushad can’t afford it.
They can only see their baby through video calls
“I’m a private employee in a small company. What little I make is just enough to support my family, to put a roof over their heads and get them 2 square meals a day. Over the past month I’ve borrowed so much money to keep up with all the expenses, but it’s still nowhere near enough. I want my son to get better, so we can finally take him home. Right now we only get to see him through video-calls, thanks to a few kind nurses. It breaks my heart that we can’t hold him in our arms! Please, help us save his life!”