My mission is to help out my old friends, classmates, from my school back in Russia where I grew up. Anya and Kolya fell in love and married each other a few years after graduation. They had two beautiful daughters: Varya (4 years old) and Nastia (3 years old). Little Nastia was born 2.5 months prematurely, with severe medical problems. Before she was born, her mother was told to hope the child would be born dead, because that would be best case scenario... Nastia was officially considered a disabled child, with cerebral palsy being among her multiple diagnoses. It broke my heart to read Anya's story, so I put my best effort into translating Anay's story for you to read and consider donating what you can. Anya and Kolya have found a clinic in China that can operate on Nastia to help her start walking! The doctors are asking for 750,000 roubles, which is roughly $25,000. Anya has been able to raise about $5,000 through the Russian social media sites, but she needs more help to ensure she can raise enough money for the operation set to happen in July. Please consider giving what you can to help little Nastia walk! Below is Anya's story, as translated by yours truly...
Our story began long ago, but we've lived through so much that seems like an eternity. Nastia was born in the 30th week (2.5 months ahead of schedule), 1,450 grams, 40cm (roughly 3 lbs 16 inches) That day was Good Friday (and Friday the 13th, at the same time!), and I was preparing a surprise for his family - cakes and cupcakes for Easter. In the morning I started to feel some discomfort around my belly button; I decided to go to the doctor so I wouldn't have this problem all weekend. And then began a series of coincidences ... , good or bad, I don't know ...
My doctor was working that evening, and he got me in at 6:30 pm (I thought this was kind of late, but my eldest daughter (she was a year and 6 months at the time) was home with me, and there was no one else to watch her). After examining me, the doctor suggested that I go to the hospital, without providing any explanation, then called an ambulance, which took me to the early pregnancy pathology department, where I managed to climb up to 4th floor just to hear that all doctors were gone and I'd better go to the hospital - "because at least there they'd take a look at you there". At the hospital I didn't get a very warm welcome - "Why are you here? Pathology should be looking at this" - well, at least they didn't send me back there to wait for the doctors!
After a medical exam with a million questions, the doctors for some reason began to worry, sent me to the prenatal, started calling the ultrasound doctors, of which one was off for the day, and the other on sick leave with a broken leg. Emergency doctors refused to take us to the Krasnoyarsk Prenatal Center (larger city about an hour - hour an a half away), afraid of losing me and the baby on the way ... They all decided to make an executive medical decision: to do an emergency cesarean section due to detachment of normally situated placenta. While I was reading and signing paperwork, they prepared me for surgery ...
Words cannot convey my feelings at the time: I understand that the child is very small, not yet ready to be born, and this "good" nurse is advising me: "Don't worry, if it's born alive - you can always give it up. Why would you want a child with liquid brains?! If it's born dead - even easier for you. " My loved ones were even told that the child is secondary, the main thing is - to save the mother ...
But our girl decided to fight at it, whatever it took, and to live in spite of everything! She cried right away, but was not able to breathe on her own ... From here on began our ascent to Olympus: Nastia was placed in an incubator, where she spent 8 days on mechanical ventilation. We were told: "The girl is very weak, if she survives until Sunday - she will live ..." And live she did. We named her Anastasia (religious meaning, Risen). (in the Russian language, most names have a long, official version, e.g. Anastasia and a short, casual, everyday version, e.g. Nastia. Think of it as William vs. Bill)
Every 3 hours I brought her milk in cups, at first she was allowed 5ml, then 20 (now impossible to believe). When I came in to see her, the nurse said that she could feel my presence and started worrying ahead of time - her vital signs were jumping up, so the doctors kicked me out (just think, such a small baby and still feels everything)! She was so tiny, all covered in sensors, tubes, catheters and a diaper 5 sizes too big ... The nurses put a cap on her head that looked like it came from a baby doll.
On day 8, with great difficulty we found a place in the Krasnoyarsk regional hospital, where my baby was taken in an emergency vehicle in a pile of wires, air tanks and blankets - because she could not keep up her own body temperature and and she couldn't breathe herself. In the intensive care unit, Nastia went though her first full body inspection, and they and found serious brain damage.
Nastya was in the intensive care unit. Doctors with whom I talked on the phone, dryly noted, "serious but stable condition." (this said to a mother who thought about her little baby all day, waiting for this call). On the 4th day the doctor said: "We did a blood transfusion because of the critically low hemoglobin." On the 6th day, they did another transfusion! I wasn't even invited to come in and see her, we were allowed to come in just once a week and for only 2-3 minutes at a time, either me or my husband ...
May 25 (1.5 months). I was allowed to get admitted to the hospital to be with her, because she began to slowly suck from a bottle, and the doctors could remove the tube feeding. Nastia was transferred to my room 2 days later, weighing in at 1,900g (about 4 pounds)and ability to eat a whole 20 ml bottle, but with what might, I tell you! She would always fall asleep in the middle of the feeding and not even eat her minimum!
After 6 days we were transferred to the Department of Zheleznogorsk OPN (although it was hard to even name it a department - the old floor of the hospital, 5 armored beds per 12 square meters, a lot of people and just recently painted). We stayed there for a month. July 1, 2012 we go home with a weight of 2,300g (5 lbs) and dreary outlooks ...
After every doctor visit, the mood was always low and what seemed like always new heights we had yet to reach! You should have seen Nastia's fingers then: all pricked, still visible traces of blood sampling and intravenous injections.
Krasnoyarsk ophthalmologists (a visit for which I had to travel 1-2 times a week) gave diagnosis: retinopathy with II stage prematurity. (Threat of retinal detachment). To prevent further progression of the disease, Nastia had to endure 5 instillations per day and 2 times of the "Fast and the Furious" (when instilled a drop every 5 minutes for an hour)! The neurologists did not really say anything, suggested waiting ...
I waited, and my daughter only ate and slept a lot ... By 5 months. I started to panic - we couldn't hold up the head! Not listening to our doctors, I started alone, looking for techniques, massages and constantly bugging her! Nastia was a very stubborn girl and at 6 months, I could confidently say: "We are keeping up our head!" Then she roll over on her tummy for the first time, then roll over on her back, crawl on her belly, and try to get up on all fours! Each stage took hours of work and a lot of effort!
At 12 months we were given a disability and cerebral palsy diagnosis. July 7, the day of uncle Petya's big birthday, Nastia took her first 5 steps on all fours (I'm crying as I'm writing this, those moments will never be forgotten!). In August, she tried to get up in her crib, although, as it turned out, it was more due to the hands ... At the first rehabilitation visit the doctors at Children's Hospital found hip dysplasia and we were told not to put too much strain on the legs ...
Nastia is an incredibly intelligent and capable girl, she speaks and performs various tasks on par with her older sister (Varenka now 4 years old). In terms of mental and psychological abilities, Nastia is a very developed child, and in no way inferior to a healthy 3 year-old! She is very stubborn and detrmined, always trying to get what she wants! But in order to be a full member of our society, she needs healthy feet.
This year we have a chance to be treated in China. We found a clinic that deals with such babies, and they promised to help. Having spoken to the doctors and filled out all forms, we got an answer: they are expecting us at the clinic for 2 months (mid-July - mid September). Involved is a list of procedures and the cost of treatment, which, to put it mildly, we were surprised: in total we need to collect 750,000 rubles (treatment, accommodation, flights, insurance and visa)! This cost astounded us an d almost pushed us back, but we're determined to do what we can!
We often go to rehabilitation, funded both with the government help, as well as at our own expense, in private clinics (Russia has free health care in government-funded clinics, but citizens can choose to go to private clinics for a hefty fee):
August 2013 -Krasnoyarskaya Regional Children's Hospital Rehabilitation Centre St. Sofia
April 2014 - Children's Medical Center "Go for yourself"
September 2014 - Children's Medical Center "Go for yourself"
November 2014 - Neurology department of the Krasnoyarsk Regional Children's Hospital Rehabilitation Center "Swallow"
April 2015 - Neurology department of the Krasnoyarsk Regional Children's Hospital Rehabilitation Center "Swallow"
and numerous rehabilitation measures we have in the city hospital, constantly pay as necessary for Nastia's massages, medications, and procedures. Not everyone can understand what it takes to have such a child in material terms! But this is the first time we decided to ask for help from the world, because we realize that we ourselves cannot cope with this amount of money in such a short time!
And we appeal to the kind, understanding and sympathetic people who read this post: Let's help Nastia all together! After all, even a drop - it's part of the sea!
We very much hope that your support will help us overcome all our fears and illnesses, and give an opportunity to Nastia to stand up, go to kindergarten, school and be on par with everyone!
You are our hope !!!