"The ache in my heart will always stay": A mum's heartbreaking story of newborn loss
"It has never been easy and it will never be. I don't know when I can get over this nightmare. The pain is overwhelming. My heart will be forever bleeding..."
Roselyn Tesoro has lived through a mother’s worst nightmare — the death of a child — that maybe, just maybe, could have been prevented had her baby’s condition been caught on time during pregnancy due to one red flag…
Here’s Roselyn’s story:
I want to share our story about how we fought, but sadly lost the battle against Esophageal Atresia with my baby boy Damari Kaeden… now an angel.
Let me start right from the beginning.
My pregnancy with Damari came as a surprise (I already have three kids), but unplanned did not mean unwanted and we were delighted with the news. The first time I heard his heartbeat I shed a tear because I was overwhelmed with so much joy.
The ultrasound revealed that I was having a baby boy. I was so excited that I even named him immediately. His name Damari originates from Greece and means “utmost perfection”.
His due date was April 6, 2016.
My pregnancy flew by without a problem, until December 2015 when the fetal anomaly scan result showed that I had Polyhydramnios (excess of amniotic fluid in the amniotic sac). After this, a series of tests were conducted but the results came out normal.
I went home assured that nothing was wrong with me or my baby. But little did I know that this was a clue to the traumatic experience that was waiting for me just months away.
The rest of the pregnancy months ticked by. My belly got bigger and heavier each day and I got more and more excited to finally meet my little boy and hold him in my arms.
At around 37 weeks, my son was ready to greet the world, and my regular check-up day turned into delivery-day. I was already 4cm dilated so the doctor asked me to stay on in hospital.
On March 11 2016 at 9.30am, I was induced. I was in labour the whole day and the pain peaked and waned through the day. On the morning of March 12, the pain reduced and there was less to no activity of my baby inside me.
I became worried since I became dizzy after they induced me again. This time I opted for emergency C-section, and at 6pm that day, I was sent to the operating room.
My sweet baby boy Damari Kaeden was born at 7:35pm on March 12 weighing 5.5 lbs!
But not all was okay with my little prince. Soon after his birth, he was having a hard time breathing and had sticky saliva secretion, so oxygen was administered and the secretion had to be sucked out.
But things just went from bad to worse. As he could not feed properly due to constantly choking and vomiting, nurses put him on an IV drip. It was heartbreaking for me seeing him with puncture wounds everywhere in his tiny body — the nurses had to do this in order to find good veins.
Through this all, I lived for the moments when I could cuddle and kiss my baby boy, and I know he loved it too.
When my sweet baby was just three days old, he was diagnosed with jaundice and had to undergo phototherapy for four days.
Keep reading this story on the next page…
Finally, after 9 days of being in the hospital, on March 21 we were sent home. My little boy was eagerly greeted by his elder brothers and sister as well as his cousins. He had superstar status because his siblings and cousins had been longing for a new brother or sister for almost nine years!
But on his first night at home, things took a turn for the worse again. He became irritated and he choked on some medicines I had to give him. He also threw up 15-20 minutes after feeding (which I mistook for phlegm).
The very next day (March 22), and after just 24 hours at home, I decided to take him back to the hospital as I sensed that something was wrong.
A series of tests was conducted on him — from blood cultures and x-rays to a babygram and more. As he was transferred to the NICU we were advised to go home and told that we would be called only if the hospital needed something. I could only peep at my baby through the NICU window.
My heart was breaking.
I cried when I reached home… this was the first night that my little boy was not by my side.
I couldn’t help thinking, “What if he’s awake, who will attend to him? What if he’s crying, who will carry him? What if he misses me, who will be with him?”
On March 24, I had to beg for the nurses to let me hold him for a while. And the test results were finally available.
My sweet angel had Esophageal Atresia with distal Tracheoesophageal Fistula with concomitant neonatal pneumonia.
He had to have major surgery, namely Exploratory Thoracotomy with repair of esophageal atresia. It was like swallowing a knife to know that he would have to undergo such major surgery, not to mention the massive cost, but this was our only shot at defeating the condition.
March 26, the surgery was done. After the operation everything seemed okay. My little boy was fast asleep and we left the hospital relieved. I held him tight and whispered “Good job, stay strong, Mama will always be beside you…”
But just a day after his surgery, things were bad again.
My little boy had bradycardic episodes (slow heart rate) as low as 60 bpm and cold extremities. He was was intubated.
Meanwhile, a chest x-ray was done and pneumothorax (the presence of air or gas in the cavity between the lungs and the chest wall, causing collapse of the lung) on his right lung was discovered.
My heart broke into a million pieces when I saw him like this. I really don’t know how I even managed to look at him in this state. I started talking to him, telling him that he had to be okay, that he had to stay with me and hold on. But my sweet baby boy’s condition just got worse.
On March 28 he became pale due to bradycardia and started gasping.
A chest x-ray showed progression of the right pneumothorax. Needling was done to aspirate air from the right lung and due to to difficulty in IV insertion, jugular vein insertion was done.
Most of the time I was at the chapel. I had never prayed hard all my life, begging all the saints to help heal my son.
That night, I felt a strong urge to be with my baby. My sister and I decided to stay overnight at the hospital. My baby’s oxygen levels went up and down and so did his heartbeat.
On April 1, my baby’s doctor came out from the NICU and gave me a tight hug while telling me, “be prepared”.
My whole world came crashing down around me. She had asked me if I would like to see and hug him; I just nodded.
I kissed my son all over… I didn’t know where to start touching him. We used to hold hands together but this time he did not grasp onto my hand. I cried my heart out.
I asked him to stay, I told him don’t leave Mama. I told him to hold on and I asked god to please don’t take him away from me. To be tormented by the thought that we were losing him was unbearable.
My son at this point had a very faint heatbeat. But I still clung to the faint hope that he would pull through.
This was not to be, though. My sweet baby gave up the battle at 4am, Friday, April 01, 2016. Heaven gained an angel that day but I was left broken-hearted.
My darling boy: I will never forget the moment your heart stopped and mine kept beating. I have to live with the pain everyday, and it’s agonising that I have to carry you in my heart rather than in my arms.
It has never been easy and it will never be. I don’t know when I can get over this nightmare. The pain is overwhelming. My heart will be forever bleeding…
Our hearts go out to Roselyn. No mother should have to go through what she did.
But Roselyn has an important message for all pregnant mums:
“If any red flags are noticed during your pregnancy, urge your health care practitioners to dig deeper to find out the causes.
“In my case, polyhydramnios was a sign that not all was going to be right with my little boy. In retrospect, I feel more testing should have been done to see why I had more amniotic fluid than normal.
And if my son’s condition was diagnosed during pregnancy, planned surgery right after birth might have saved him.”