A district called Thoothukudi located in Tamil Nadu was home to the birth of baby girl, baby of Ayanthy. She was born with a weight of 2.5kg at Rakesh Hospital, and both parents rejoiced as they welcomed their first child into their arms. But she didn’t stay in the warm comforts of their arms for long.
Soon after her birth, the new family came head-on with the worst news imaginable. Their baby had been diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. At first, the parents couldn’t even wrap their head around how it was possible for such a small baby, that too theirs. The baby’s stay stretched at the hospital to about ten days and then she was shifted to Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi for further management on 14th January 2019.
Mr Rayappan held her tiny, fragile hands throughout the journey by ambulance. He silently wept and reminded himself to stay strong, especially for his little one who was fighting so hard only days into this world. His wife could not accompany them as she was still recovering post-delivery.
Dr Mani Ram (Pediatric Cardiologist) at the hospital received the baby in IMCU. Shortly after an echo was done, the diagnosis was confirmed – an interrupted Aortic Arch Type B, which is an infrequent type of congenital heart defect. She needed urgent and timely intervention. Mr Rayappan was counselled by the doctors about the details of the surgery including complications that may occur.
He held his head in his hands in absolute disbelief and crippled by a sense of helplessness about the hardship his firstborn was facing, and the hardest part was the fact that he could not afford surgery. He understood the importance of early intervention to save his daughter, but putting together so much money was impossible for him. He made his earnings as a fisherman and did not make more than Rs 4000 every month.
The hospital reached out to us for support, and we immediately agreed to arrange the funds required for the family to get some relief and most importantly, for the baby’s life to be saved. On 17th January Dr Brijesh P K operated on the baby girl. The surgery was challenging because the main vessel supplying blood to the body had an obstruction since birth. Dr Brijesh had to bring these disconnected parts close together and then reconnect them all. The extent of the gap is what made it extremely challenging, and a great deal of meticulous dissection was required. However, the extensive dissection of tissue which was needed to bring these parts together resulted in damage to the lymph vessels. This complication arose and required for feeding to be stopped and instead all her nutrition needed to be administered through intravenous methods. She had an extended post-operative stay in the ICU where she remained in critical condition and under observation.
In this time both parents were naturally anxious about the wellness of their new-born. They felt immense amounts of gratitude in their hearts that we had funded the surgery, but Mr Rayappan had lost a fair bit of income in this duration as he earns it only through fishing. They live in rented accommodation for which they will need to pay. But at the moment they are doing their very best to think positive and focus on the here and now and that is just being present by their daughter’s bedside.
The baby of Ayanthy needs to be seen after one month and then has been prescribed a repeat follow up after three months and then one year. The referring pediatrician will also see the baby frequently, which puts the family at ease having a trusted medical support system nearby.