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Unborn baby lives while mom on life support

Unborn baby lives while mom on life supportDylan (left) and Robyn Benson are shown in a family handout photo. A Victoria family is locked in an epic life-and-death struggle with a young mother on life support while her unborn child hangs onto life awaiting a due date several weeks away. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO

VICTORIA - A Victoria family is living through a heartbreaking human drama, with a mother on life support while her unborn baby boy awaits an uncertain due date that is still weeks away.

Robyn Benson, a 32-year-old who is five months pregnant, was declared brain dead after she was admitted to hospital in late December complaining of vomiting and a severe headache, according to a family friend and a blog post authored by her husband, Dylan.

Doctors are hoping Benson's body can hold out until the end of this month to allow her baby boy — already named Iver Cohen Benson — to grow and give doctors an opportunity to perform a caesarean section.

And then, as family friend Rod Phillips said Monday, "We'll all say goodbye to Robyn."

Dylan, who is also 32 and works in the IT sector, wrote on his blog that his wife would have wanted to fight for her child.

"Ugh. I don't know what to do or think," wrote Dylan in late December, after his wife was declared brain dead.

"She is my rock. She does everything for us and I can't believe I won't get to talk to her again and now if this works, our son will grow up never meeting his wonderful mother."

Robyn complained of a headache on Dec. 28 and asked Dylan to go to the pharmacy and get some pain killers, Dylan wrote. When he returned home, Robyn was unconscious on the bathroom floor. He called 911, but paramedics could not revive her.

"At the hospital, they discovered that my wife had a fluke random type of blood leak into the centre of her brain and that there was so much blood and damage that it is not reversible," he wrote. "My wife is now essentially legally brain dead."

Phillips, who's been Dylan's friend since the pair met two years ago for a random cup of coffee, has started an online fundraising campaign on the website YouCaring.com to help Dylan and his son.

He set a fundraising goal of $36,000. By Monday afternoon, the site had already raised more than $50,000.

"It's a little overwhelming," said Phillips, who works as a marketing manager at a chain of private grocery stores in the Victoria area.

"It's touching everybody at such a deep level. We're having people come into the store and literally breaking into tears. One guy came in with $1,000."

Phillips said Dylan is spending his days and nights at his wife's hospital bed. While Dylan is deeply touched by the public support he's received, he's not yet prepared to speak publicly, said Phillips.

"I've been asked many times how to put it into words, and I don't know if there is any," said Phillips. "It's one of those things that reaches deep, deep down into your soul and grabs it."

Phillips said the longer the doctors can keep Robyn on life support, the better the odds her unborn son will have.

"The goal is to reach 34 weeks and that is dependent on Robyn's body's stability over the next little while," said Phillips.

"So long as she remains stable on life support, they will bring her to 34 weeks, her and Iver, and that technically works out to the last week in February." ___

On the Web: www.youcaring.com/help-a-neighbour/baby-iver-fund/133560

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