“They saved my baby’s life, and it feels like they saved mine too.”
Baby Asher was born at just 1 pound 10 ounces, almost 4 months premature. The odds of survival for such a premature birth are not promising. But this tiny baby, who would spend the first 116 days of his life hospitalized, would prove to be a fighter.
Asher is Vanessa’s second child, and nothing with this pregnancy seemed out of the ordinary. Vanessa was feeling well, and she and her family were eager to meet the newest addition to their family. But when a routine ultrasound showed some concerns, she was put on modified bed rest.“I was shocked,” recalls Vanessa. “I had been feeling great. I was working full-time. There had been no signs that something could be wrong.”
A week later - at just 23 weeks into her pregnancy - Vanessa’s husband, Ian, called for an ambulance. Vanessa was rushed to Royal Inland Hospital. She was showing signs of going into labour and her doctor was very concerned. He told Vanessa that the baby’s best chance of survival would be for her to be immediately airlifted to Vancouver.
Vanessa was now hospitalized and on complete bed rest. Her baby appeared to be developing normally, but just 2 weeks later, she was suddenly crippled with pain.
Two hours later, once baby Asher was stabilized Vanessa met him for the first time. At only 1 pound 10 ounces, it’s hard to imagine just how tiny Asher was.
After 70 days at Royal Columbian Hospital, it was finally time for Asher to be airlifted back to Royal Inland Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
“The communication and coordination between the two hospitals and the air ambulance team to safely transfer Asher was excellent. I felt complete confidence in everyone who cared for him.”
When Vanessa and Asher arrived at the NICU, the nurses were eagerly awaiting them with a sign that read Welcome Home, Asher.
“From the moment we arrived, I could tell the nurses cared so much about Asher, and also about Ian and me. We were treated like family. They were a shoulder to cry on, a friend to talk to. They saved my sanity. We absolutely would not have made it through this experience without the support of these incredible nurses.”
“I burst into tears when I saw him. I couldn’t imagine a baby could be so small. There were wires everywhere. The machines he was hooked up to were larger than him. All we wanted to do was hold him, but we couldn’t even touch him. We were terrified.”
Outside of Vancouver, RIH has one of the highest-level care NICUs in the province, caring for babies as young as 30 weeks gestation. Thanks in large part to generous donor support, the NICU has many highly specialized pieces of equipment to care for these most fragile patients. It would be some time before Asher would be able to breathe and feed on his own, but he was gaining weight and his care team was pleased with his development. “The knowledge that the medical staff need to have to care for these babies – of the equipment they use and of how critical these babies are – I was in awe.”
“It may sound strange to hear, but it was really tough to leave the hospital. Saying goodbye to the nurses after everything they’d done for our family was emotional. I am so thankful for the hard work, dedication, and love that the NICU staff offered to our family.”
Whether we’re just starting out like Asher, or are in our golden years, we never know when we’ll need medical attention. With your gift, you are helping medical professionals at RIH have access to the best equipment with the latest technology. On October 23, after 46 days in the NICU at RIH, and a total of 4 months hospitalised, Asher went home. He was 8 pounds and should have been just 10 days old. To donate online, click here, or give us a call (250-314-2325) or stop by our office at the hospital.