By Dave Andrusko
Lucy Thornton, writing for the British publication, The Mirror, explained today
When the doctor declared: “Baby Lourenco has been born and he has cried,” cheers erupted from the nurses who had spent the past 107 days caring for the unborn tot.
So, the baby had been prenatally diagnosed with some malady that might place Lourenco in peril? Perhaps his spine was not closing properly, or fluids were building up in his chest?
No, it was much more extraordinary than in utero surgery, something doctors and nurses alike called a miracle.
In February Sandra Pedro, Baby Lourenco’s mother, was diagnosed as brain dead. But in spite of early doubts, doctors at the hospital in Lisbon, Portugal had tenderly coaxed her baby through another 3 ½ months before delivering him by Caesarian Section on June 7. He weighed 5lb, 2oz.
Thornton beautifully tells the story of the love and devotion shown to mother and child that made his successful delivery possible. First, the background.
Sandra had arrived in Dr. [Susana ] Alfonso’s ICU at 17 weeks pregnant on February 20 with a throbbing headache. Just hours later she was pronounced dead.
Doctors thought the baby was dead too until tests proved otherwise.
“It was something that shocked us a lot,” said Dr. Alfonso. “We knew that she was pregnant but then we realised the baby was alive when she was not. It was a big shock.
“We did not know what to do so we asked the hospital board. They made a commission of doctors to decide whether to carry on with the pregnancy or not.
“It was very rapid when they decided that the best thing to do was to carry on with life,” she concluded.
But it was more than just “carrying on” with life. Doctors analyzed Baby Lourenco’s needs. But to maintain him all that time required attending to the baby’s emotional ones as well. Thornton explains
They cuddled the belly, massaged it, whispered Lourenco’s name into it and even sang him songs and nursery rhymes.
One nurse got so attached to the tot she knitted baby jackets and booties.
Another brought in a radio and held it to Sandra’s growing stomach for the baby they nicknamed “Our boy” and “Our chubby”.
Nurse Nuno Camilo, 37, said: “He liked the singing best, that’s when he moved the most. She was in a room on her own so we sang songs from our own childhood.”
Fighting back tears, he went on: “We would cuddle the tummy to feel the baby moving and stimulate him.
“Sometimes we played classical music and sometimes pop. It gave us all pleasure to sing to the baby.”
Ms. Pedro was buried the day after her son was born. According to The Mirror, he has been moved to a maternity ward. He is off a ventilator and stable.
Her parents will raise Lourenco but his father, Miguel Angelo Salvador, has vowed to see him every day.
Miguel told Thornton that his son’s birth will change his life.
Talking about the moment he heard his son cry for the first time, Miguel added, “This baby is going to give meaning to my life.”