In the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), every day is a testament to hope, resilience, and the unwavering love of parents. This is the story of a newborn who brought a spectrum of emotions to everyone around him.

Born healthy and full of promise, it was on the 12th day of his life that his parents noticed a troubling bluish tint to his skin. Alarmed, they rushed him to the nearest clinic, where doctors suspected a congenital heart disease. Their fears were confirmed at Gangalal Hospital: their baby was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot.

To manage the condition, the doctors prescribed Prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) to keep his heart functioning. However, the drug had a severe side effect: their baby stopped breathing and had to be placed on a ventilator. The child then stayed in ventillator for 40 days, where the ventilator was the only thing keeping him alive. When it became clear that he couldn’t be taken out of ventilator, the doctors decided on a tracheostomy and referred him to our care.

I had been with this little warrior after being admitted in PICU. Every attempt to wean him off the ventilator ended in disappointment. The struggle was not just the baby’s; his parents hadn’t held him for the last 50 days. On the 63rd day of his life, a CT angiogram was planned. The parents were asked to accompany us as it’s standard protocol to take parents alongside.

As we prepped him for the scan, the father was asked to keep his hands above his child so that the chest film is not obstructed by hands. In that moment, the baby reached out and grabbed his father’s fingers for the first time. Tears welled up in his eyes; he hadn’t held his child in nearly two months. The father later confided that when his child was first admitted, he felt helpless, sleeping in the hospital corridor, crying through the night. Since then, he had been tireless, doing everything he could to support his son’s fight for survival. He remembers that his wife was postnatal and how he was helpless. He is hopeful that the child will do good one day.

As I watched this moment, I was reminded of my own struggles. I had recently fallen out with my best friend, and we weren’t speaking. This had taken a major toll on me. I wasn’t doing good in my duties as well. I was being sad and irritated most of the time these days. But seeing the hope in the parents’ eyes gave me a rare moment of joy. Their tears of happiness, the father’s determination, and the baby’s small but significant gesture renewed my own strength to be stronger and do better.

For now, the future remains uncertain for the kid. But the hope and determination we see in this father fuels our efforts. We will do everything possible to ensure this little warrior has the best chance at life.