NEWS

With wife on life support, B.C. man awaits his son's birth

02/03/2014 09:25 EST | Updated 04/05/2014 05:59 EDT
A community is rallying to help a 32-year-old Victoria man facing an almost unimaginable set of circumstances as he awaits the birth of his son.

Dylan Benson's pregnant wife suffered a medical emergency last month and was declared brain dead.

Now, she remains in a Victoria hospital on life support until the fetus, still in her womb, is old enough for doctors to induce labour.

Benson says his unborn son was just over five months along and growing normally when his wife, Robyn, complained of a headache and collapsed on Dec. 28.

Rushed to hospital, staff determined that she had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage, and that damage was irreparable. She was declared brain dead the next day.

In line with his wishes, hospital staff are now trying to keep her alive seven more weeks, until the fetus is 34 weeks old and has a better chance of survival outside the womb.

"Her family and my friends are all very supportive and all think that my wife would want me to try and give our child the best life possible, so that’s what I’m going to try and do," Benson said in a blog post.

However, the birth of his son — who he intends to name Iver Cohen Benson — will mean that his wife will be taken off life support.

"My head and my heart are constantly playing this chess match and it’s so painful," he said.

"On one hand, I can’t wait to meet my son and try and give him the best life possible and try my hardest to be a great dad for him. On the other hand, I know that the day or the day after he is born will be the day that I have to say goodbye to Robyn."

Baby Iver Fund

Benson, who works for an IT company, is well-known in the Victoria community and many who know him are trying to help out in any way they can.

Bryan Capistrano, DJ and music director at The Zone radio in Victoria, said his friend is facing a heart-wrenching upheaval.

"It's a weird situation because, on the one hand, you're welcoming a new child into the world and then as soon as that happens you're saying goodbye to the love of your life," Capistrano said.

Due to the stress and time demands of planning for parenthood and of planning a funeral, in addition to facing the uncertainty over not knowing how long his wife will remain stable, Benson says he has had to take leave from work.

Rod Phillips, director of marketing and buying at Vancouver Island's Liquor Plus stores, is a personal friend of the Bensons and began an in-store fundraiser to support them.

"It's one of the toughest things I can imagine ever having to go through," Phillips said. 

"I just can't imagine that. So any help that we can provide as Liquor Plus or as a community is money well spent."

Benson also started an online fundraiser, hosted on YouCaring.com, which he says will help cover some of the costs that mount up with the new baby and as a result of missing work.

As of Monday morning, the Baby Iver Fund has raised $26,757 out of a $36,000 goal.

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