When Laura Williams woke up with severe abdominal cramping one morning in May 2010, she and her husband, Greg, went straight to the hospital. Just five months pregnant, Laura was shocked to discover she was in labour. Two hours later, she gave birth to the couple’s daughter, Elise. Born at just 25 weeks gestation, she weighed just over two pounds.
“We were in total shock and disbelief,” says Greg.
Although Elise appeared healthy, doctors transferred the tiny preemie to BC’s Women’s Hospital’s Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for the highly specialized care they knew she’d need to face the potential health challenges ahead. It proved a life-saving decision.
At less than a week old, Elise developed a life-threatening bacterial infection that causes intestinal tissue to die. Over the next few months, she would undergo four delicate abdominal surgeries as well as one heart procedure.
“I was astonished they could operate on someone that tiny,” says Greg. “It was an amazing thing to see the nurses, doctors and surgeons so used to dealing with extremely premature babies. It was very reassuring.”
Today, Elise is a healthy, happy preschooler and big sister to Edward. However, her parents have never forgotten the care she received at BC Women’s.
After their experience at BC Women’s, Greg remembers thinking, “There must be a way we can give back to the hospital to show our appreciation.”
So, last fall, Greg, who plays keyboards and guitar in local bands (when he’s not working in human resources), recruited several of his friends to put on UK Rocks, a special night of music and dancing at a downtown venue. Greg and his friends performed songs by acts like the Cult, the Cure, and Pink Floyd. Meanwhile, Laura coordinated a silent auction. Together they raised more than $4,000 for BC Women’s NICU.
“After having a baby in the NICU, you want to do all you can for the next baby that comes along.” says Laura. “This event was our way to say thank you to everyone on that ward for saving our daughter’s life.”
Please make a donation to the BC Women's Newborn ICU and help babies like Elise.
Originally published in the Winter 2013 issue of Women's Magazine. Free subscription here.
Written by Gail Johnson - Photography by Claudette Carracedo