A Matter of the Heart: Maya’s Story

When unborn baby Maya's heart defect was discovered, it was all hands on deck to bring her safely to birth.

When Nicole and Niko went in for their 20-week ultrasound, they never expected to hear that their daughter had a heart defect. It was a frightening moment. Fortunately, help was there for baby Maya and her parents.

The Maternal Fetal Medicine team from BC Women’s and the cardiology team from BC Children’s worked together to bring Maya safely into the world. She was born on June 20, 2017 at BC Women’s Hospital.

Her parents were prepared to be separated from their newborn daughter while she received the specialized care she needed. “It was difficult knowing that we would be spending her first few days apart from each other,” says Nicole, “but we knew it was important.”

But thankfully, after an initial assessment Maya and her mother were able to stay in the brand new Mother Baby Care unit in the BC Women’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). This pilot project allowed mothers and their newborns to receive the care they need in the same room and from the same nurse, keeping them together during an important time period.

“It allowed us to be with Maya as we recovered and prepared for the next steps in fixing her heart,” says Nicole.

Since Maya’s time there, the NICU has moved to the new Teck Acute Care Centre in October 2017. As part of the improvements that the new space brings, the Mother Baby Care unit has been expanded to 12 dedicated private rooms.

Despite Maya needing surgery at eight days, and again at two and a half months, she proved herself a fighter and recovered quickly. Today she is a strong girl with a playful personality.

“From that first ultrasound right through to the care that we received after giving birth to Maya, and spending time in the Mother Baby unit in the NICU... we felt well taken care of.”- Nicole

Maya’s parents chose to celebrate her birth with a BC Women’s Baby Tile that now lives on a hospital wall. For them, the tile is a piece of Maya’s story, and a special place to visit as a family.

The family says they will always be thankful for the care they received here.


Click here to learn how you can get your own BC Women’s Baby Tile.