Finnegan's Story

The night Cheryl first experienced labour pains followed a normal day. ‘Normal’ at that time, meant working a 12-hour shift, then going out for dinner with friends. An RN who works in child and adolescent psychiatry, Cheryl is no stranger to stressful situations. Perhaps this training and experience helped her keep her cool when she woke up at 3 a.m., experiencing strong cramps - she was just under 29 weeks pregnant with her first baby.

“We live in North Vancouver, so we headed to Lions Gate Hospital. I was whisked right upstairs, where they examined me and said everything looked fine,” she says. “They kept me in overnight just to be sure, and said they would probably discharge me home the next day. To be on the safe side, I received a drug intended to mature our baby’s lungs in case he decided to make an early arrival.”

Despite medication to calm the cramping, Cheryl’s pains continued. “I have an app on my phone that I used to time the pains,” she says, “and they were coming three minutes apart.”

Brought back to Labour and Delivery, and found to be slightly dilated, Cheryl was sent to BC Women’s Hospital. “I tell everyone who will listen that this was decision that saved our baby’s life,” she says.

Cheryl spent four days in the Evergreen antepartum unit at BC Women’s, knowing every day was a bonus for her baby’s development,  but still experiencing cramps, and expecting to go into all out labour at any time.

“They sent a NICU nurse up to Evergreen to talk with me in detail about what we could expect if he was born at 29 weeks, and how care is provided in the NICU – they even gave me a tour of the NICU, so I could see firsthand the level of care they provide. I found this all very reassuring – and a good thing, too, because suddenly it was time and I was rushed to Labour and Delivery.  "I was able to deliver him naturally after two good pushes…well, I guess you could say after four days of pains, and two good pushes!”

“Finnegan was perfect for his first ten days,” she adds. “He was tiny, and needed to be in the NICU for sure, but doing well. And then came the night I said goodnight to a healthy looking little guy and went home – and came back in the morning to a terribly sick baby, turned from pink to yellow overnight.”

“A spontaneous perforation in Finnegan’s intestine made him septic, and very ill very quickly,” says Cheryl.”We were not at all sure he would pull through, but thanks to a surgical intervention done right at his bedside in the NICU, and massive antibiotics, he turned the corner, and is once again a healthy little guy. As soon as he gets his weight up, we’ll be able to plan his homecoming.”

“I can’t say enough about the amazing care we received,” says Cheryl. “As a nurse, I understand the importance of continuity of care – and it is absolutely amazing to me that with more than 200 different nurses working in that NICU, they are all incredibly well informed, and connected  by the heart to every baby and every family.”

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