Aria Noelle Benavides

Born September 30, 2013. 7lbs 0 oz., 1:30 p.m.

Aria's Story

Monday September 30 at 1:29 p.m., Aria Noelle Benavides was born 7lbs and 19 inches and crying almost instantly. Dr's first words after looking at her were "She looks like you Dad!" She got 9s on the Apgar and was looking great with responses and color. After about an hour and a half of alone time we had our first visitors come in and while feeding, Aria was noticed not to respond to being jostled and was found not to have a heart rate. A team responded immediately and she was brought back after about 5 min or so. After the doctors conferred and checked her levels and vitals, it was determined the best course of action was to transfer her from St. Luke's to North Central Baptist to undergo a hypothermia cooling procedure for 72 hours to reduce or prevent brain damage since her time without oxygen was unknown. The process slows the metabolism and heart rate down to protect the integrity of secondary brain cells. Her core temp is brought from 98.6 to about 91 or so for the three days while she lays under EEG monitoring with only a diaper on and her central lines and tubes. Its truly a thing to see your sweet baby being purposely made to be cold and watch her shiver when all I've been doing is practice my warm swaddling techniques on anything I could get my hands on; fake baby, footballs, etc. During the process Aria was hooked to a brain wave study EEG that the neurologist had access to both at home and the office and naturally nobody including myself and Google could make any sense of all the waveforms on the screen as he would end up being the last doctor we heard from. After the three days she began the careful process of rewarming slowly back to normal temperature so she could begin trying to feed and await the brain MRI a few days later.

After cooling and re-warming, I sat with Aria during the brain MRI which as many know through information or experience, is an intimidating and overwhelming process to endure even with ear muffs for the duration of the 30 minutes. She has also undergone an echo cardiogram, apnea studies, typical blood tests and screenings, hearing and stimulus tests.

About 9 days in we began getting the first series of good news, the MRI was shown to be normal, hearing test fully passed, no signs of apnea and overall great prognosis. The neurologist did explain that she will need lots of follow up with developmental docs, himself and others to watch for milestones as there is no guarantee for the future but the news was definitely great after everything the past week.

Over the past few weeks, she has grown and gained weight much to her doctor's delight and I'm so happy to say she's smiling and making adorable sounds and calms down from her mad-as-a-hornet fussy mode when I pick her up or hold her. I look forward to everyone's wonderful words of wisdom, stories, advice and everything in-between. Thank you all for the love and support ushering me into fatherhood.

Aria Noelle Benavides now resides in San Antonio, TX and has dreams of bountiful feedings, uninterrupted sleepy time, hug fests, cuddles, and unlimited loving from all.