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'One day at a time': Grand Forks family waits to bring baby son home who was born fighting for his life

Silas Beska wasn't breathing and didn't have a heartbeat for the first eight minutes after being born Sunday, Dec. 25, 2016, at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks. Special to Forum News Service

FARGO—Brittany Kleint had an idea of how the birth of her son would go on his Jan. 16 due date, but it wasn't supposed to turn out like this on Christmas Day.

Kleint, 24, and her fiance, Jesse Beska, 32, went to Altru Hospital in Grand Forks on Christmas morning with bad contractions, and she soon gave birth to Silas Beska—who was born fighting for his life because he wasn't breathing and didn't have a heartbeat.

She had suffered from placental abruption, or the placenta ripping away from the uterine wall, "so essentially he was just drowning." He was born at 1:40 p.m. Dec. 25 and revived after eight minutes, but the full extent of what this will mean for Silas' future remains to be seen.

"Honestly, I'm still a little bit in shock," she said Saturday, Dec. 31. "This is my baby, this is what you plan for, and to have it all kind of derailed is really tough."

Kleint's sister has launched an online effort to raise $10,000 to help cover medical bills and other expenses as the couple drives back and forth between Grand Forks and Fargo and waits until they can bring Silas home.

'Rough patch'

The birth of Silas isn't the only complication in the couple's lives right now.

Kleint said Silas would have been LifeFlighted from the Grand Forks hospital to Fargo's Sanford Children's Hospital on Christmas, but a blizzard meant he didn't get transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit in Fargo until three days later.

They also recently suffered the loss of their only car—the transmission went out—and Jesse Beska was laid off from his job, the sole source of income in the household.

The couple doesn't currently have health insurance, something Kleint said she's in the process of trying to get by appealing a denial. She said she hopes some of Silas' medical bills will be covered by insurance through the state, if that request is accepted.

"It's just all of a sudden we hit a rough patch," she said.

Still, Kleint is trying to look to the future she and her fiance, who plan to get married this spring after three years together, can make together. The couple also has a daughter, 14-month-old Emma, who took her first steps just days after Silas was born.

It's hard going through this struggle with their families far away, she said. Both are natives of Oregon, and moved to Grand Forks a couple years ago. But Kleint said she and Beska are "really close," and she's confident they'll get through it.

There's still a lot of uncertainty about Silas' future, even after he stabilized medically and was taken off the critical condition list Saturday.

MRI testing has determined he suffered damage to the parts of his brain that control motor skills and speech and language, meaning he'll have a harder time crawling and walking and likely have speech delays.

"It's going to be a struggle," Kleint said.

For now, Silas also is unable to breathe completely on his own, and he can't yet feed.

It could be several weeks or longer before they'll be able to bring Silas home to Grand Forks, Kleint said. Even then, the full extent of his complications won't be known until he gets older.

"One day at a time," she said.

On the web

To donate to the GoFundMe page for Silas and his parents, visit www.gofundme.com/35jipoo.

Ryan Johnson

Ryan Johnson has been a Forum reporter since 2012 and previously wrote for the Grand Forks Herald.

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