Complete Circle of Care

December 19, 2017 10:44am
When preeclampsia threatened the lives of Shannon and her unborn baby, BC Women’s was there to help them both, thanks to your support

Four years ago, Shannon Lim’s normal pregnancy unexpectedly became high-risk when her midwife noticed a sudden jump in her blood pressure. The change pointed to preeclampsia, a potentially life-threatening condition for Shannon and her unborn son. She was immediately referred to the Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialists at BC Women’s Hospital.

“My blood work showed that my liver enzymes were so skewed that I needed to be immediately admitted,” says Shannon. “All of a sudden, things were very serious.”

Dr. Wee-Shian Chan, head of BC Women’s Department of Medicine and lead of the Obstetrical Medicine Group, was part of Shannon’s care team: “Preeclampsia is a complication of pregnancy where the placenta may be malfunctioning, producing a range of symptoms that can threaten the lives of the mother and the baby.

“Although I reassured Shannon, I also told her that the only cure for preeclampsia was to deliver the baby, which would likely mean her baby would be premature. We decided to treat her with bedrest and medication to give the baby as much time as possible to develop.”

But Shannon didn’t wait long. Four days later, she went into labour, delivering her son Westley by C-section. Born a day shy of 29 weeks and weighing just 895 grams, Westley was immediately taken to the Newborn ICU (NICU) at BC Women’s.

Although Westley was premature, he was remarkably healthy. He went on to spend the next two months growing and maturing under the expert care of the NICU team with his mom by his side.

“The NICU staff were so amazing,” says Shannon. “I was included on morning rounds every day and was totally involved in Westley’s care, which took away a lot of the stress and gave some normalcy to our lives.”

Today, Westley is a thriving three-and-a-half-year-old toddler who has achieved all the normal milestones for a child his age. It’s a joy Shannon and her husband Ryan attribute to the expert care they received at BC Women’s.

“To this day, we’re still in touch with some of the wonderful people who cared for us,” says Shannon, her voice choked with emotion. “I really cannot be more grateful.”

Article by: Ann Collette
Photography by: Erin Wallis

Please make a donation and help moms and babies.