His wife on life support, man awaits birth of son

A heart-wrenching story of death and birth is playing out at Victoria General Hospital, as 32-year-old Dylan Benson makes daily visits to his pregnant wife Robyn, also 32, who has been brain dead since Dec. 29, the day after she suffered a cerebral hemorrhage at home.

Robyn Benson was 22 weeks pregnant when she suffered the hemorrhage, Dylan Benson said. Doctors hope to keep her body alive until she reaches her 34th week of pregnancy, when they plan to perform a caesarian section.

An online fundraising drive called the Baby Iver Fund has surpassed its $36,000 target, swelling from $5,000 Saturday evening to about $70,000 by Monday evening.

Dylan Benson has organized the fund to benefit his unborn son Iver. “He has already lost his mother, but I want to provide the best life I possibly can for him,” said Dylan in his online plea for help.

“The doctors have said that he now has higher than an 80 per cent [chance] of survival and that increases with every day that passes,” Dylan wrote.

“For the last five weeks, Robyn’s body has still been doing most of the work. Her heart rate and blood pressure are for the most part working unassisted. It is essentially only her brain that is not working, and unfortunately, she will not recover from the brain death.”

Dylan is grieving the loss of his wife, whom he calls his rock, as he prepares for life as a single father to their son.

The baby will remain in hospital for six to eight weeks after he is born. Dylan is currently off work, earning 55 per cent of his salary. He will be unable to work as he looks after his newborn son.

“I sincerely appreciate everyone who took the time to read this and anyone who is able to help, regardless of the amount,” he said, signing the post “Dylan and Iver.” In a Jan. 28 posting to his blog, Thoughts by Dylan Benson, he wrote of getting a tour of the neonatal intensive care unit at VGH. “It gave me a lot of perspective and made me feel more confident that my son is going to make it,” wrote Dylan.

“My head and my heart are constantly playing this chess match and it’s so painful. 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 I have to say goodbye to Robyn.”

He writes of losing his debit card at a convenience store and the cab driver who’d been driving him to a friend’s house went back to retrieve it. A few days later, the cab driver delivered a home-made lasagna to Benson’s home.

“He cooked the lasagna himself, and said that [it] was least he could do, he just wanted to help make things a little bit easier for me,” Benson wrote in the blog.