6-week-old baby on ventilator; family raising funds to cover medical bills of over $256k

September 22, 2021

The arrival of a baby is an exciting time for first-time parents. You feel a flurry of emotions as you tackle anxiety and nervousness of bringing a new life into this world; and there's a sense of euphoria for the same reasons too.

That little one becomes the joy of your life in no time. So imagine the plight this first-time Singapore-based parents Deeksha and her husband (names hidden on request), who had no choice but to watch from the sidelines-as their newborn baby struggled for his life.

It all started when Deeksha suffered from a rare case of acute pre-eclampsia during her pregnancy, which prompted a preterm delivery two months prior to her due date.

While the mum survived the life threatening situation, the little one is battling for his life in the NICU at the National University Hospital (NUH) in Singapore and is on the ventilator to support his lung maturity.

The treatment is expensive and the parents are leaving no stone unturned to ensure their baby comes home safely.

Deeksha and her husband have nearly depleted their financial savings to pay off hospital medical bills for their child. And despite family support, the costs are massive to the tune of $256,000 to $333,000.

The parents are now reaching out to Samaritans across Singapore who can help them raise funds for their son during these trying times.

To learn more about what went wrong with the pregnancy and the help do these parents need with the hospital medical bills, theAsianparent recently spoke to Deeksha.

Here is an excerpt from the interaction.

Please share a bit about yourself.

Deeksha: I have been working as an IT professional in Singapore for the past seven years.

My husband has been studying/working in SG for the past nine years. He completed his PhD from NTU in June 2020 and since then has been working as a design engineer at a semiconductor company.

Are you staying just with your hubby and the baby in Singapore? How about family, are they able to reach out to you with financial help?

Deeksha: Yes, it's only me and my husband together here in SG. We met in SG itself and have been married for the past four years. We are eagerly waiting to bring our baby to our home once he's fully healthy and ready to be discharged from hospital.

My husband and I have reached out to our respective families for financial support. However, due to the very high medical costs involved, even with their support, we are still falling short by a substantial amount.

What led to your baby's preterm delivery?

Deeksha: All was going good until I checked my blood pressure (BP) on Aug 8, 2021 at home, in the 29th week of my pregnancy. My BP has always been in the normal range before pregnancy and during pregnancy as well.

But I noticed slight swelling on my feet that day. So I measured my BP just to be on the safer side.

The reading was alarmingly high at 180/100. We rushed to NUH in the middle of the night. The hospital admitted us to the delivery suite.

After running some tests they found four gms of protein in my urine, implying major stress on my kidneys due to high BP.

Soon we were informed that a condition called pre-eclampsia (a placenta-related complication resulting in sudden high BP while inhibiting nutrient supply to the foetus) had set in and was causing major stress for the baby as well.

My doctor therefore, took the call to deliver the baby that day itself, as soon as possible.

Are you able to breastfeed or pump your milk for your newborn?

Deeksha: Yes, I have been pumping milk for my baby. Very premature babies like my son are unable to breastfeed/bottle-feed at this moment. They are yet to develop the sucking and swallowing skills.

Consequently, he's being fed my breastmilk via a feeding tube till he develops the skill, which full-term babies are born with.

All the care we have received is at NUH. I had a C-section delivery and since then the baby has been under care of Neonatal specialists at NUH NICU.

How are you now? How's your little one's health?

Deeksha: I am doing much better. I was on BP medication for two weeks postpartum till my BP came back to normal range and has been stable since then.

My son is also doing ok, steadily improving.

Doctors have shown satisfaction with his progress for now. However, there is still quite some way to go before he is ready for home.

This must be an equally trying time for your husband. How is he coping?

Deeksha: Yes for sure, it has been very stressful for him as well, as we were all by ourselves without any family support.

Overall, he is optimistic and keeps reminding me to worry less, take one day at time and that this is just a tough phase, it will surely pass through.

Please tell us about the campaign that you have started.

Deeksha: The initial estimate of total medical costs involved ranges from $256,000 to $333,000. We were able to pay some part of the bill ourselves but we certainly do not have the resources to bear this treatment cost.

As a past donor myself, I was aware of such crowd funding done on Give.Asia.

We then came across other preemie parents who had gone through similar circumstances as ours and learnt how they had raised funds on the Give.Asia platform.

We started our crowdfunding campaign on Give.Asia platform on Aug 27, 2021, almost two-and-a-half-weeks after my son's birth.

You mentioned that you are unable to avail any help from the Singapore government since you are not a citizen. Could you tell us a bit more about that?

Deeksha: As foreigners we are not entitled to any government subsidies or discounted rates which can reduce total costs quite substantially. These are only available to SG citizens/PRs.

My husband and I have both reached out to our respective employers to assist us financially with the treatment cost. Until now we have not received any commitment from their side.

When does your maternity leave end?

Deeksha: My 12 weeks maternity leave ends on Oct 25, 2021. The first eight weeks are paid leave and the last four weeks are unpaid.

You started a campaign, please tell us a bit about it and what your expectations are from it? How much have you raised and how much more do you need?

Deeksha: We reached out to Give.Asia to help initiate our crowdfunding campaign, to which their team promptly responded to us and guided us regarding the process.

All contributions made through this campaign will go solely towards his medical treatment. The funds will go directly to the hospital to cover medical costs.

As of now, we have gathered approximately $102,000 through this portal (as of Sept 20, 2021). We do wish to raise as much as possible from this campaign to help us meet the estimated amount.

What's your message to everybody reading your story?

Deeksha: My learning from this experience:

  • Check your BP regularly, especially if you've been diagnosed with high risk for pre-eclampsia.
  • Always trust your instinct when it comes to your pregnancy and baby.
  • Things may not go as planned for you but eventually you will learn to accept it.

Deeksha and her husband need your financial support today to pay the hospital medical bills to help save their son.

The little fighter has been braving it out in the NICU and is showing steady progress in his recovery.

It won't be long before the parents are able to bring him home. Help complete a family and contribute to their happiness today.