Would You Want to Stay on Life Support to Save Your Unborn Baby?

Every now and then I come across a news story so powerful that it leaves me mulling it over for days. Right now, a Canadian woman is in a coma and on life support. She’s brain dead, which means she’s pretty much gone. Machines are keeping her heart beating and her blood pumping, but she’s just not there anymore. Typically I’d say if I was in that state, I’d hope that someone would have the strength to turn off the machines. UNLESS it was to protect my unborn baby!

Photo Credit: gabi_menashe via Compfight cc

See, Robyn Benson of Victoria, British Columbia may have lost the ability to fight for her life, but her unborn baby is hanging on strong in her womb. Benson is about 27 weeks pregnant as of the time I’m writing this. While premature babies can survive outside the womb as early as 26 weeks (sometimes even earlier), little Iver- as his father named him- has a much better chance if he can stay put a bit longer. The goal is to get him to 34 weeks.

What would you do to save your unborn baby?

I can’t even imagine the heartbreak the family must be going through. Robyn Benson is only 32. On December 28, 2013, she complained of a horrible headache. Her husband ran to the store to get her medicine. When he returned, she was unconscious. She suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and was declared brain dead the next day, according to news stories.

After losing his wife (and high-school sweetheart!) to such a tragedy, I can completely understand why Dylan Benson is willing to do whatever he has to do to keep his unborn baby alive. At the time of her collapse, Iver would have been WAY too premature to make it. On the flip-side, though, I can’t imagine that Dylan is counting down the days. The birth of Iver means taking Robyn off life support. He’ll have to say goodbye to her once and for all.

Honestly, I can’t even fathom what the family must be going through. I’ve heard people say that it’s cruel to keep her on life support like that. We really have no idea what people feel or don’t feel when they’re brain dead. I mean, medical evidence suggests they feel nothing, but how do we really know? Still, as a mother, I would want doctors and my family to do whatever they needed to do to make sure my unborn baby survived.

It took me six years to get pregnant with my son. At the end, I was close to kidney failure due to severe preeclampsia. I remember saying something along the lines of “do what you want to me, just get my son out alive.” Things turned out okay for me, I was hooked up to medicine in time to thwart full-blown eclampsia. Had things not turned out so well, though, I meant what I said. They could have pulled him out through my nose if they had to, as long as he was okay.

So while I can’t imagine what Robyn’s family is going through, and while no one has any way of knowing what she thinks on the subject, as a mom I can say with confidence that this is probably what she would want. I’m just so sorry that Iver will have to grow up without his mom, and sorry for Dylan Benson’s loss.

What do you think? Would you want to be kept on life support to save your unborn baby?

8 thoughts on “Would You Want to Stay on Life Support to Save Your Unborn Baby?”

  1. Oh and to answer the initial question – yes. If I was in that state and by keeping me on life support means helping my unborn baby grow and live then yes I would want my husband and family to do whatever it takes to make sure our baby grows as much as possible.

  2. This story has touched my heart in both ways. Im so sad for the dad, he lost his life long love, but Im happy because he was able to bring his son into the world. If it hadnt been for his decision to leave her on life support he would have lost both of them and I can only imagine the heart break there. I can also not believe what it would feel like to come home after going to the store to see your spouse unconscious and then never be able to speak with them again. I can only hope (as my husband and I always do) that they said I love you before he went to the store. This story has my emotions torn in every direction. I can only hope that they live a happy long life together and I am sure that Iver will hear amazing stories about his mom even though he will never meet her. <3

    1. TY Vanessa!! It does work. Glad you found it. I couldn’t find it on my page again!! I would definitely want to stay on life support for my child as long as the baby was healthy and doing fine. IF I had people that could be counted on to raise my baby.

  3. I know with utmost certainty that I would do absolutely anything for my children and I would most definitely want them to leave me on life support for my child.
    When my son was born he was early because of placental abruption. I lost over 4 pints of blood and was very near death and I too recall saying just save my baby. God I would hate to be in that situation but I know what I would do if I had too.

  4. There was another similar situation not too long ago with a different end: Marlise Munoz died alone at home of a pulmonary embolism when she was 12 weeks pregnant, but was kept on life support for several weeks, despite her and her family’s wishes not to use life support, because her state required her by law to be left on life support due to her pregnancy. The baby was deprived of oxygen for a long time, though, and was not developing properly, and the mother had clearly communicated her wish not to be kept on life support. Her family fought to have her wishes honored, and a court finally ordered the hospital to take her off life support. The baby was still not viable when Marlise and her baby were allowed to die peacefully in accordance with Marlise’s own wishes.

    I can see and respect both sides, and I think it largely depends on the families involved and the individual medical situations. Munoz was early in her pregnancy and the baby was without oxygen for a very long time, which at such an early stage in her pregnancy had a very adverse reaction on fetal development. Plus, Munoz had an expressed wish, backed by her whole family, that she did not want to be on life support. Benson was later in her pregnancy and was not without oxygen as long. She had an expressed wish, backed by her whole family, to keep her alive. If I were in Munoz’s situation, I would not want to be kept alive, but if my baby were already viable and keeping me alive for a few more weeks could mean my baby is born healthy with no issues? I’d probably want to use life support. I think for me, the biggest thing is, it should be up to the mothers and the families to know where they stand and make the decisions they think are best based on their own circumstances, and it highlights how important it is for families to discuss this sort of thing when everyone is healthy, even if it’s an uncomfortable topic.

    My heart breaks for both families. It’s tragic, either way, and I can only hope Marlise’s and Robyn’s families find peace and comfort.

    1. I absolutely agree with you that it should be a personal choice. It is a tragic situation either way you look at it, and I think no one can even imagine what it is like for those going through it.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *