There have been good and bad days for Isaac and Rebecka May these past three months; Wednesday was a good day.
First, their baby son — on the same day he was initially scheduled to be removed from life support — moved his legs in a way they hadn’t seen before, raising them to his stomach in alternating fashion.
“And (Isaiah) was wiggling his body as he was doing it, and moving his hands and his arms — just like you would see any other baby move,” 23-year-old mother Rebecka said by phone from Edmonton.
“It gives us hope.”
Second, the young family received a flood of support for the legal bid they launched earlier this week to keep their son on life support until they feel they know for certain what his medical future holds.
“Hopeful and confident — we have so much support out there,” she said, adding people are stopping and wishing them well. “It’s been very encouraging and uplifting for us. We are very humbled by it.”
On Tuesday, the couple from Rocky Mountain House, Alta., won a reprieve from the courts for their son. Last week, the first-time parents received a letter indicating doctors would take Isaiah off life support at 2 p.m. Wednesday.
The Mays are seeking 90 days to assess Isaiah’s condition in order to see if it improves and to explore alternatives. They are also seeking a second opinion.
Alberta Health Services are looking for a decision to be made within 30 days.
The board’s lawyer has said caregivers at Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton have also been under considerable stress about the medical and ethical decision.
“It is appropriate to turn now to the courts for direction,” the health board said in a statement.
A judge is expected to make a decision about such a timeline on Jan. 27.
“The lawyers representing Alberta Health Services and the doctor who has primary care for Isaiah, they are professionals I very much respect and I know that we are working on this from a team perspective,” said the couple’s lawyer, Rosanna Saccomani.
Isaiah was born on Oct. 24, 2009, with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck in the Rocky Mountain House hospital following a 40-hour labour.
Deprived of oxygen and having inhaled amniotic fluid and fecal matter, he was taken by air ambulance to Stollery Children’s Hospital, where he has been on a ventilator ever since. He is fed through an IV tube.
Rebecka and Isaac have been told that their son has severe and irreversible brain damage.