The morning that Emma and Stuart Labuschagne found their 14-week-old son Michael unresponsive, their whole world seemed to shatter before them. The newborn had gone into cardiac arrest and was no longer breathing, and after a frantic rush to the hospital, Michael was placed in a medically induced coma. The UK parents waited for five excruciating days before a miracle happened: Michael finally woke up. And best of all, the Labuschagnes were able to capture the touching moment on camera, as the baby regained consciousness and smiled at his father.
Paramedics arrived at the Labuschagne home on March 16, shortly after Michael’s parents discovered something was wrong.
Image source: CafeMom
The parents later told CNN that paramedics tried to resuscitate Michael with a defibrillator and even injected him with adrenaline to stabilize his heartbeat. But things still weren’t looking good. After a trip to the hospital, doctors placed Michael in the coma to let his brain rest and to protect it from further damage.
The Labuschagnes learned that their son had a cardiac fibroma — a tumor that can block blood flow to a child’s heart.
Image source: CafeMom
Michael’s tumor was also about 2 inches wide, which is considerably large compared to the size of a typical infant’s heart (about the size of their fist). Doctors warned that the condition was so rare, no surgeon in the UK would have the expertise to remove it.
Five days after Michael went into his coma, however, the parents got their first sign of hope when he woke up. As soon as he opened his eyes, the infant gave his father a huge smile, in a touching moment that Emma was all too happy to capture on camera.
“The first thing he did when he opened his beautiful brown eyes was smile at his daddy,” she wrote in a video made while documenting her son’s incredible journey.
“It’s a moment I will cherish with every inch of my heart,” she told CNN. “To be really honest, it’s got to be the happiest moment of my life. He is a living miracle, and we have never felt prouder of him.”
Emma’s video has since gone viral, with more than 40,000 people having watched the touching tribute since October 24.
Either they needed to wait for a heart transplant in the UK, or they would have to go outside the country for the risky surgery. Emma and Stuart buckled down and researched different programs, which is how they connected with staff at the Cardiac Tumor Program at Boston Children’s Hospital Heart Center.
“We researched the hospital and specifically the cardiac surgeons, Dr. (Pedro) del Nido and Dr. (Tal) Geva,” Emma told CNN. “They have a 100 percent success rate and an exceptional reputation. From this moment we knew that we had to try and make this journey.”
Unfortunately, surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital is expensive, so the parents have taken to crowdfunding to cover costs.
Image source: CafeMom
The surgery alone will cost an estimated $147,000 — and that’s without travel fees and recovery costs. But Emma and Stuart insist that they want little Michael to have the surgery, no matter what the price is.
“When we received a response from Boston confirming that he would be a good candidate for surgery, it did not matter what the cost was,” Emma shared. “We would pay any amount of money to save our child’s life.”
The parents have since created a GoFundMe page to raise funds for the procedure, and have raised more than $243,000 so far. It’s an amount of money that Emma says she could have never predicted they would receive.
“Thank you so much guys, from the bottom of our hearts!” she wrote on October 25. “Nothing could have ever prepared us for this incredible response.”
In fact, the family has raised so much money, that they’ve put an end to donations after hitting their target.
“Any additional donations after all of Michael’s costs have been covered will be donated to another family in a similar situation,” she wrote.
For now, Michael is surviving thanks to an internal defibrillator and pacemaker to support his heart, CNN reported. His mom said that she has to give her son medication four times a day, which cause unpleasant side effects including stomachaches, diarrhea, and skin sensitivity, which means he can’t go out in the sun.
The couple is holding on to hope that Michael will be able to get his life-saving surgery in April, but for now they are just trying to keep him happy and healthy while they wait.
“Looking at him, he is like any other baby,” his mom shared. “He is always smiling and grinning widely. His older brothers dote on him and he is a strong little character in our family. We are just so grateful for him, even with his medical troubles.”
This article was first published on CafeMom and was republished on theAsianparent with their permission.