A relieved father talked about the flood of emotions he experienced Thursday morning when doctors delivered a baby boy from his wife who has been in a coma since March following surgery to treat a brain tumor.
The father, Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Deputy Brian Lande, talked to Bay Area TV station KTVU about the delivery and what's next for the treatment of his wife who is still in a coma.
Like any new father, Lande was overjoyed and overwhelmed as he held his newborn son for the first time Thursday at UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco. But his circumstances are far different from those faced by most fathers.
Until his son's successful delivery, it wasn't clear if the infant boy or his wife would survive the pregnancy.
West Nathaniel Lande weighed five pounds nine ounces at birth.
"He's got his mom's nose and his mom's ears and he's opening his eyes and looking around already," said a beaming Lande.
The Santa Cruz Sheriff’s deputy is a proud father. But Brian and his wife Melissa are facing challenges unlike most new parents.
Melissa Carleton suffered a seizure following treatment for a benign brain tumor. She has been in a coma since March, yet brought her baby to full term.
"Having to worry that we really weren't going to get either, to at least know that I've got one of them now," said a relieved Lande.
Doctors delivered west via C-section at 10:56 a.m. Thursday morning. Despite the blessing of his healthy son’s arrival, the birth still brought mixed feelings for Brian.
"As happy as I am to meet my son, it is incredibly painful for Melissa not to be awake with me for this," explained Lande.
Melissa's injury to her brain is in the area that controls wakefulness, so she still may be aware of what is happening.
Before surgery she moved Brian's hand to her stomach where the baby was kicking.
"She puckered for a kiss. These are things we've waited for months to happen and she did them today," said Land.
Now that west has arrived, Brian will be balancing his new baby, Melissa's continued treatment and eventually returning to work for the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Department.
"I'm overwhelmed I have no idea what I need right now. I just can't see further than my nose," said Lande.
Brian told KTVU he is thankful for all of the help he has received from the community.
His wife's continued care and treatment will be expensive, but right now he's focusing on keeping Melissa and baby West together.
Lande has set up a GoFundMe.com site to raise money for Melissa's treatment. Interested parties can go there to make a donation.