When she became pregnant with her second child, 25-year-old Le Thi Tu Cam was devastated to hear the news no expectant mother ever wants to hear.
She was told the best option was an abortion and to terminate the life of her unborn child.
But Cam didn’t listen to the advice from doctors and went on to give birth to a healthy baby girl, Ky Tich. Or as she is affectionately known today, the miracle baby.
Le Thi Tu Cam looks at the photo of her newborn baby while she was being cared for at Intensive Care Department at Da Nang General Hospital. VNS Photo Tran Mai
Cam’s problems started three weeks into the pregnancy, around a year after her first daughter, Thanh Nhan, was born.
Her mother Nguyen Thi Thu, 48, said her daughter suffered dramatic weight loss and became so skinny. Her family took her to many hospitals but they could not determine what was wrong with her.
At first, doctors at Quy Nhon City asked her to complete all general tests but could not diagnose the disease.
Back home, carrying her second child, Cam started to have convulsions, found herself struggling to breathe, and unable to eat.
Eventually she was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) and she could not breathe normally, needing the help of a machine.
This is an illness that basically means her muscles wasted away, which as the condition worsened, would prove difficult to have a healthy child.
“My daughter was diagnosed with SMA when she three weeks pregnant,” Thu said.“She was thin, could not breathe on her own nor eat food by herself. She was hospitalised many times but she did not give up her baby.”
“Doctors had advised Cam to stop the pregnancy to have better treatment for her but she absolutely refused.”
Her determination was documented in a small notebook she would write messages of hope in.
“I have to live so that my baby has more opportunity to survive,” she wrote. “Only after seeing my newborn baby, could I rest in peace.”
Le Thi Tu Cam’s baby is being cared for at Da Nang Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology Hospital. VNS Photo Tran Mai
Three times Cam, who weighed as little as 25kg, clinically died. But when the doctor told her that her unborn child weighed less than a single kilogramme, Cam was determined to become as fit and healthy as possible.
“Cam eats a lot. Sometimes, she eats three bowls of porridges a meal. She gained nearly 10kg by the delivery date,” Thu recalled.
Ha Son Binh, a doctor at Department of Intensive Care and Anti-poison from Da Nang General Hospital, who was in charge of caesarean for Cam, said the surgery was very special as it needed many health interventions.
“It took us two days to prepare all best option plans for Cam and her baby,” he said.
"When the baby cried, we hugged each other. Following up on Cam’s moves, we found that everything was alright. This is a caesarean section that leaves a lot of emotion for the whole team. It is unbelievable!" Binh said.
Huynh Thi Hoa, a nurse at the Da Nang Hospital’s Neurology Department, who used to care for Cam, said this is the most wonderful news she has ever heard.
“In the past, we just hoped that Cam could survive. No one thought that she could deliver a child,” she said.
Not only doctors expressed their affection for Cam but good news was shared by other patients at Neurology Department.
Many who knew Cam’s story gathered on the night that she had caesarean section, praying for the young mother.
Upon hearing that Cam and her baby were both healthy after the surgery, they all applauded.
“It is a fairy tale!" said Kien, a patient.
The first question Cam asked doctors after awaken was about her baby. Being informed of the baby’s situation, she smiled through the immense pain she was in.
Straight after the surgery, Cam was recovering in a different hospital so she still hasn’t been able to see or hold her new child who remains in an incubator in the Da Nang Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology Hospital.
Cam’s father said he planned to name the baby Ky Tich which means miracle.
“I want my granddaughter to have a name that is as meaningful as my daughter’s a wonderful journey,” he said.
Cam still has a long way to go before she can get back to full health. But with a miracle baby just waiting to see her, Cam has all the inspiration she needs./.