On the 17th of November, the whole humankind observed the World Prematurity Day. In Ukraine, about 20 thousands of kids are born pre-timely each year. Out of these, 20% are born with extremely little weight that vary from 500g to 1kg. Every day, neonatologists work wonders to save them. The Krapka media outlet talked to parents, doctors and volunteers about the children whom their mothers sometimes call by “a kilo of sugar with legs” pet name.
“Everything was perfect; everything was going as planned, but…”
“I cannot recollect what my son looked like, what his legs and face looked like, when I saw him for the first time… I was in such distress I cannot remember those moments. Andriy weighted only 920g at birth. I was in the 26th week, in my 6th month of pregnancy. My belly wasn’t even big then. And I didn’t understand what exactly happened and why, – Daryna Pribatina, head of the preterm babies’ parents group from Odesa, tells. – “I did neither drink or smoke; never lifted anything heavy or overworked. On the contrary, I had enough rest and followed my doctor’s recommendations. Everything was perfect; everything was going as planned. And, all of a sudden, I was taken into a hospital where I heard from the doctor: “The labor has started. The baby’s weight will be about 500g. He will be born very weak. Most likely, the boy will die.” People who never faced this, will not understand how frightened and stressed I felt then.”
Our talker recollects that for a few weeks felt like in a nightmare then.
“I could not believe this happened to me. It felt like it was not about me, – Daryna tells. – Any mom hopes for the better and wants her baby to live. Still we could not realize what was going on and what was next. Should we sign the papers they gave us at the ICU or not; should we agree to blood transfusion or not. Every day the doctors mentioned another possible life threats to my baby. “Ultrasound shown that cerebral palsy is likely to develop. Are we going to take any measures in advance?” – “Of course we are…” Can you imagine the situation when you are not sure whether your child would be able to see, hear, talk or walk…”?
The fears didn’t vanish even when our heroes were released from the hospital.
“I had no time to think about the post-natal depression. I had to get medications, go around the city looking for them. I didn’t calculate how much we spent on treatment, but the amount was over a hundred thousand hryvnias. And as the result, Andriy now looks like all the kids of his age. He’s an easy going active boy who loves to sing, recite poems and aspires to become a soccer player”, – his mom concludes.
“Any problem can be solved”
“Only a decade ago, the premature birth at 28th week was considered a late term miscarriage. But the technologies have advanced since then. Today we are able to save the kids who would have remained doomed in previous years. Well, yes, they are going to face certain problems in future, still they will be able to adapt to the society and look like the rest of the kids of their age, – Ivan Tsekhmistrenko, the obstetrician of Kyiv perinatal center tells. – Even at low survival rates, we must fight for children. Each problem can seem exaggerated, but eventually it can be solved”.
This year, volunteers run a few projects aimed to help doctors and parents. For example, People’s Project volunteer center has been raising funds to buy a special medical gas analyzer for Kyiv perinatal center №3. You can join in here.
“All parents understand how much their kids’ lives depend on medical equipment. It is absolutely shocking when you face the situation in which you have money, energy and medical assistance, but in the end you cannot help a kid, – Maksym Ryabokon, coordinator at People’s Project volunteer center, tells. – We have learnt the conditions in which the current medical care in Ukraine is. We have state budgeting, planning, approvals, purchases, supplying. All this cannot help solve the problem in three or four months, still volunteers can do this”.
Medics say sometimes babies face serious complications in the very first minutes of their life; in particular, they may experience lack of oxygen supply to the brain. Such newborn babies require exceptionally balanced treatment, and the slightest fault can permanently affect their health. At the moment of birth, the doctor has to quickly decide whether the baby needs application of extra oxygen or not. Overdose of oxygen can cause brain haemorrhage, respiratory problems and so on.
Today, the equipment of the Intensive Care units of Kyiv perinatal center №3 allows measuring the proportion of oxygen and other gases in kids’ tissues. Still under critical conditions it is essential to know the proportion of gases in their blood. That’s why the volunteers have been raising funds for special medical gas analyzer. This device allows to immediately get the entire picture and make the right decision in critical conditions.