Newborn babies fight for life in chapel-hospital
Nanette Salutan, 40, is one of them. She said her labor contraction began just as the winds from Haiyan began howling. The contractions continued after the storm eased, and she walked to the hospital with her husband. It was an eight-hour trek through corpse-filled rubble and waist-high water.
"All I could think was, I wanted my baby to live," Salutan said.
Her baby boy, Bernard, was born the same night — at 2:13 a.m. He weighed just 2.6 kg (5.73 lb) and measured 45 centimeters (17.71 inches) tall.
But he did not cry, and they knew immediately something was wrong.
The baby was not breathing.
Doctors performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and put clear green tubes of oxygen in his nose. He is still so weak that he has to be fed by a syringe that is connected to a tube taped to his mouth.
Rosario said Bernard had a decent chance of survival. But Althea’s prognosis is not good.
In a heart-stopping moment, her body turned blue as her breathing became more labored. Doctors rushed in and connected an IV needle into the remnant of her umbilical cord -- the one in her wrist had been there too long to be effective, they said. Slowly life flowed back into her tiny body.
"If we had a ventilator, it’s possible she could live," Sia said. "But right now she’s very weak, and I don’t think she’s going to make it."
"They’ve been traumatized by the typhoon, and now they’re traumatized because they’re trying to keep their baby alive," Rosario said of Althea’s parents. "They’re physically and emotionally exhausted."
As she spoke, Althea’s mother, Genia Mae Mustacisa, leaned over her baby girl, stroked her forehead and kissed it.
The newborn lay on a wooden table, eyes closed, wrapped in a blue- and white-striped blanket. Her feet poked out, revealing a pair of mismatched socks — one with pink and red hearts, one of the "Peanuts" comic character Snoopy sweeping with a broom.
Methodically, her mother squeezed a green rubber bag attached to the tall tank of oxygen slowly over and over, every few seconds, just as her husband had done for half an hour before.
"It’s OK," she whispered, tears streaming down her cheeks. "I love you so much. No matter what happens, I love you so much."