The doctors disconnect Leo from the ventilator.
His parents hold him for the first time.
Unfortunately, every time Leo cuddles up with his mom, he falls asleep, starts to turn greyish-blue, and the level of oxygen in his blood falls unrelentingly. . . .
95, 92, 88, 86, 84, 80, 78…
The howling alarms punctuate the family’s first moments together…
With the additional oxygen from the CPAP machine, Leo makes it through the day.
The coming night will be decisive.
-Are the results in? - Leoparents ask daily.
-We don’t know anything yet.
-Is there a chance it’s something else? Adaptation problem? Newborn depression? Underdeveloped lungs? Maybe some kind of African bacteria?
- No, it’s not adaptation problem. It’s not newborn depression. It’s not underdeveloped lungs. It’s not an African bacteria. It’s something much more serious. Please prepare yourselves that, whatever it turns out to be, it will be something very bad.
The team of experts at CMHI takes on Leo’s case.
There’s hope that we will understand the situation soon.
They begin to run dozens of tests. They poke him, run blood work, take x-rays . . .
Unfortunately someone mentions the curse once again. The strange condition where every time a person falls asleep, he stops breathing;
every time he falls asleep, his life is in danger.
According to the doctors, it’s the worst possible outcome; luckily there are other possibilities.
The name of the condition comes from a Nordic myth about the goddess Ondine,
who fell in love with a human, a mere mortal.
The man was unfaithful to her, so the goddess cursed him in an act of revenge.
A curse where, in order for the man to breath, he would have to consciously remember to do so.
Ondine? In love with Leo?
What a ridiculous idea?!
Leoparents hear the word "curse" for the first time.
The doctor informs them in an indifferent tone that she doesn’t know what is wrong with the child, but that she just read online (!!!) about a condition called "Ondine’s
She adds that it is likely that „he” will be bedridden and dependent on a ventilator for life.
And then she leaves, without any further explanation.
At three in the morning, the doctor wakes Leomom
with the news that, unfortunately ,Leo could not manage on his own
and had to be put on a ventilator.
Before dawn, Leo is no longer breathing on his own.
Leodad comes to the hospital to comfort Leomom, who is in despair.
But, the nurse on duty calls hospital security
because a child’s father has stayed on the ward after visiting hours.
Leodad is thrown out of the hospital.
The doctors inform the parents that Leo has a very serious problem breathing and that he will probably have to be intubated.
The reasons for his hypoventilation are unknown, so the tests begin;
x-rays, morphology, ultrasonography, puncture, etc., etc.
Muzungu starts to come into the world at exactly the scheduled time
and arrives a day later—December 16, 2010 at 4:55 pm.
Labor, though long (36 hours!!!), goes well.
Leo (that’s the name Muzungu is given) receives 10 points on the Apgar scale.
Unfortunately, 20 minutes after birth he becomes sullen,
greyish-blue, his limbs become limp.
He is taken for observation.
Then—after an hour has passed—to the intensive care unit,
Where, closed in an incubator, he undergoes oxygen therapy.
The doctors suspect a serious heart defect.
The bean, working title Muzungu, turns out to be male
and the pregnancy is progressing beautifully.
For forty weeks he does yoga with mom, goes on walks, travels often.
He takes his first (and we hope not last)
trip to Africa.