Brain-dead Canadian woman taken off life support after giving birth to baby boy
A 32-year-old brain dead, pregnant Canadian woman was taken off life support on Sunday shortly after giving birth to her baby boy.
Robyn Benson was just 22 weeks pregnant when she collapsed from a cerebral hemorrhage and was declared brain dead. Doctors in Victoria, British Columbia, kept her alive at her husband's request so that their unborn baby would have a better chance of survival. She was on life support for six weeks before she gave birth to her child.
"It is with a heavy heart but also with extreme proudness that I am posting this update," Dylan Benson wrote on his personal blog on Monday. "On Saturday evening, my beautiful and amazing son, Iver Cohen Benson, was born. Iver is healthy and is the cutest and most precious person I have ever met."
But with the birth of baby Iver, Benson had to say goodbye to his wife of just seven months on Sunday after being taken off life support.
"I miss Robyn more than words can explain. I could not be more impressed with her strength, and I am so lucky to have known her," he wrote. "She will live on forever within Iver, and in my heart."
Iver, born after just 28 weeks in the womb, weighed 2 pounds, 13 ounces, the Vancouver Sun reported.
A full-term pregnancy is 39 or 40 weeks, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Babies born between 32 and 37 weeks of pregnancy are considered preterm, and babies born before that are called early preterm.
ACOG has said that most doctors believe that fetus can survive outside the womb starting at near 24 weeks of gestation. These births are still risky, and doctors try to buy as much time as they can. Mothers who are going into labor between 24 and 34 weeks are usually given an injection of a corticosteroid to help speed up the development of the babies lungs and organs, while other medications called tocolytics are given to slow or prevent labor.
"I don't think I have the right words to describe it," Benson told the newspaper in an interview late on Monday. "It's the best and definitely the worst thing to ever happen to me in my life at the same time."
Benson described his son as healthy, though noted the baby faces a "bumpy ride" as he continues to develop in a Victoria hospital. A photograph posted on Benson's blog shows the 32-year-old information technology worker in the hospital cuddling his tiny son, who is attached to wires and tubes.
Munoz and her husband were both paramedics, and had discussed end-of-life care at length.
The Texas hospital, John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, had fought to keep Munoz on life support in a case that sparked fierce debate over the rights of a fetus versus the right to die. A judge ordered that Munoz be taken off life support after the hospital admitted that she was brain dead and her fetus was not viable and had “distinctly abnormal” features.
The story of Robyn Benson and her unborn son gripped people across Canada and around the world, with donations to a fundraising site set up for baby Iver raising more than C$150,000 ($135,800) as of Tuesday morning.
The amount has far exceeded the C$36,000 goal set by Benson, who had hoped to raise funds for bills, baby supplies and to allow him to spend more time at home with his new son after the birth.
"Thank you to each and every one of you for your love, your kind words, and your support during this incredibly difficult time," Benson wrote on his blog and fundraising site.