By Dave Andrusko
The headline from one Canadian newspaper caught the bitter sweetness of what took place last Saturday: “Victoria father welcomes healthy Baby Iver, says goodbye to wife.”
Iver Cohen Benson was delivered by Cesarean section at 28 weeks. His mom, Robyn, had collapsed in December and had been diagnosed as brain-dead. However, at the direction of his dad, Dylan, Mrs. Benson was maintained on life support until doctors were able to successfully delivered Iver at two pounds, 13 ounces.
Here’s Dylan’s tender announcement on his Facebook account
Dear friends and family,
It is with a heavy heart but also with extreme proudness that I am posting this update…
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. As to be expected, it will still be a bumpy ride for he and I as he continues to grow under the care of the wonderful staff at the hospital.
On Sunday, we had to unfortunately say goodbye to the strongest and most wonderful woman I have ever met. 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. She will live on forever within Iver, and in my heart.
Thank you to each and every one of you for your love, your kind words, and your support during this incredibly difficult time.
After holding Iver for the first time on Sunday, Mr. Benson spoke with Louise Dickson of the Victoria Times Colonist.
“It was the most incredible experience of my life so far,” said an emotional Benson, 32. “He just looks perfect. I’ve never been more proud, and getting to hold him yesterday was something I will never forget and something I look forward to doing every day.”
Mr. Benson added,
“It’s earlier than we planned,” he said. “Over the past six weeks, we made life-changing decisions all the time. So we had hoped to get to week 30 before delivering, but we made it as far as we could. On Saturday, when Robyn was 28 weeks and one day, the time was right for us and for Iver.”
Dylan described his son as looking like a mixture of his mom and dad. “He’s showing hints of Robyn’s red hair, not surprising. But I think he has my nose,” Benson told Dickson.
Is that good or bad, Dickson asked?
“I’m kind of OK with my nose, so good I guess,” Benson laughed. “It could be worse.”
The young father is struggling to deal with the new joy in his life and the tragic, untimely death of his wife. “It’s more than I can explain,” he said. “It’s the best and the worst at the same time.”
Mrs. Benson’s pregnancy was uneventful until December 28. According to Mr. Benson’s blog, Robyn, just over five months pregnant at the time, complained of vomiting and a severe headache. Dylan went out for Tylenol and when he returned he found his wife on the floor.
“She was non-responsive. I tried to call her name and stuff but nothing would happen,” he told Dirk Meissner of The Canadian Press.
Rushed to hospital, staff “discovered that my wife had a fluke random type of blood leak into the centre of her brain and that there was so much blood and damage that it is not reversible,” he wrote on his blog.
Through all of the dark times Benson said he has felt support from all corners of the globe—messages from Ecuador, Spain India–everywhere. He told Dickson
“The actual support of people who care enough to message and donate has made all the difference in the world. I want to send a big thank you to everyone who has reached out and shown their care and love for us,” Benson said. “The community in Victoria has been amazing…. I don’t have the words to express the gratitude I have for this city.”
Dylan Benson concluded,
“I’ll be able to hold him and help him grow into the awesome individual I know he’s going to be.”