Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita
1976, Monte Santo, Bahia, Brazil.
The shrill cry of the young expectant mother resonated all through the hospital. Beads of sweat settled on her perfect nose and her forehead shone under the light. She was in labour, about to birth her first child. She put a last major effort and boom! The baby boy was delivered.
Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita
“OMG! Why is the baby like this?”. One of the midwives whispered to her partner.
“Only God knows.”
“Tudo Bem? What is wrong with my baby?” In a very faint voice, she inquired. She was starting to get scared with the expression and whispers of the women.
“You can’t see him now senhora, let’s dress him up first. Besides, you need to relax now, especially from the great deal of effort you used in birthing him.” The lady said, carrying the baby away for cleaning and further examination.
Off the midwives went, along with the doctor. Before long, the news of the mystery baby had travelled around. Two nurses who just ended their shift, were not left out in the gossiping business around the hospital.
One of them stated, “In my town, abnormal children like this are killed . He must be a cursed child. Because I don’t understand why a mother should carry a baby for nine months, nine full months! Only for it to end up looking like an animal. Such a child should not live.”
“Eeeehh!!! You are too mean. It’s not as if the child had a choice while he was being formed in the uterus. What if this is due to the mother’s wrong doings?” The other nurse said.
“You have a point there though. Anyways, I think médico has a diagnosis already. I saw him invite the mother into his office earlier. Only God knows if he has a solution…”
Diagnosing Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita
The young mother sat across the doctor in his office. She wore a very sad look. She had imagined herself as a mother countless times earlier. Times when she had thought of carrying the baby on her back. Times when she thought of rocking him to sleep while singing lullabies. Also, times when she thought about staring lovingly at her adorable son. All these could have been a dream come true, only that her baby was not a normal one. He was what she never imagined.
“Médico, are you saying that there’s no treatment for his condition?”
“Senhora, I totally understand how you feel. But, your baby might not survive the next 24 hours. His body structure is so complex and unusually different from ours. Life processes won’t be favourable for him. Infact, I have a little advice for you.” He stated.
What’s that?” The mother with a forlorn look, asked.
Starve him to death…
“Starve him to death…”
This is the story of Claudio De Oliveira. He was born with his head upside down, turned all the way back, and with severely deformed limbs. That wasn’t all, he was also born with muscular atrophy in his leg muscles and with his arms stuck to his chest. Do you get the picture?
Now, imagine such a person surviving, with all those conditions. The doctor told the mother to let the child starve to death. To him, he probably thought that was the best option. However, the mother greatly held on to the belief of hope existing when there’s life. She could not watch her son starve to death. She could not bear to take life away from a child she just birthed. Claudia Veira had only her, and fortunately, she didn’t fail him.
Claudio Veira wasn’t supposed to survive 24 hours. Today, he is 44 years old. He didn’t let his condition hold him back. He refused to let his disability limit his dream. In addition, He wasn’t the one to be left out on living life. The Brazilian man defied all odds and emerged a successful man. Amazingly too, he independently walked on his knees since he was eight. He learnt how to use his mouth to do things such as writing and operating phone. He is a qualified accountant today, with a book written too. Added to that, he is a motivational speaker.
Life challenges should not make us give up. Likewise, it should not hinder our dreams. Therefore, whenever you think about giving up in life, remember the story of Claudio De Oliveira, and get inspired.
Oops! Did I forget to mention the name of the condition?? No, I didn’t. That is the title of the story… Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita.