Samuel Augustine was born 15 weeks early at Jackson Memorial Hospital with breathing problems and question marks surrounding his health.
He was born with microcephaly and instantly placed on a respirator so his underdeveloped lungs could breath properly. Everything was failing on him. He couldn’t eat or even cry as his vocal chords were paralyzed.
In this rare neurological condition, a baby’s head is much smaller than usual, at less than 2 standard deviations below the average. Other major birth defects can come about. These complications first made themselves known into the public after the Zika outbreak a few years ago. Pregnant mothers exposed to the virus would give birth to children with microcephaly. To learn more, click here.
Parents Antoinise and Dieuquifait were given their child’s serious diagnosis and realized that their son would need constant care and cocktails of medication every day. After a month of treatment, Antoinise had had enough, as the nurses were treating her son like a patient specimen and not a baby. All of the crucial moments of childhood playfulness were missed during his cold hospital days.
Antoinise began lobbying for the release of her son.
After a month, the hospital staff finally allowed her baby to come home. With his respirator, G-tube, tanks of oxygen and a around the clock nurse, they went home so that Samuel could finally begin his early chapter into the real world, like a regular kid.
Now, Samuel is a chubby 28-pound boy well on his way to becoming a toddler. Antoinise believes that there is no better nurse than a mother so for that, she clean and bathes him and aids their personal nurse with cleaning his trach tube and G-tube.
The Advocacy Network of Disabilities provided the family with their own counselor, Stephanie Lumas. Lumas has been spending time with the family and helping Samuel navigate through the big bright world.
As Samuel gets older, Lumas plans on preparing him for more challenging tasks like dealing with school. Some schools are simply not equipped with the tools necessary to care for special needs children like Samuel. Her agency plans to aid the family in helping them find a school that’s right for him.
When asked about what she wants for her son, Antoinise expalains in Creole, as Lumas translates: a chair, to avoid having to sit in a wheelchair anymore, a soft mat for their tiled floor and a bundle of toys for him to play with.
“She wants him to be just like everybody else’s kids,” Lumas said in an interview with the miami herlad. “To speak and walk. She just wants to see him thriving.”