This year, baby Francis is home for Christmas

February 17, 2017 5:03am
Last December we were about to head out of town to visit my husband’s family for the holidays when I got some of the worst news any expectant mother could hear… I was only 27 weeks pregnant. Still three months away from any thoughts of delivering my baby boy. But the doctors at BC Women’s discovered that he was in grave danger.

He wasn’t developing properly because the supply of blood from my body to his was stopping and reversing at times. You can imagine how terrified I was, not knowing if my baby would survive after an emergency C-section so early in my pregnancy.

That day I’d expected to be out of the hospital in three hours. Instead it became three months of an emotional rollercoaster ride. But my baby beat the odds. I can’t even express how grateful I am for the amazing doctors at BC Women’s who saved my child’s life. And I’m grateful for you too.

You see, when Francis was born three months early at just one-and-a-half pounds, he had a whole new set of medical crises to face. He was so small and so fragile. He spent six days in an incubator before I could even hold him close to me.


Being born so early, his lungs were so severely underdeveloped there was no way he could breathe on his own. He needed a ventilator to keep him alive.

For the next 94 days in the hospital, he waged a tiny war to survive. But all that time I had one hope going for me. You.

I can honestly say that if it weren’t for donors like you, little Francis wouldn’t be here now, smiling and playing with stuffed animals that were once bigger than him.

Because it takes an incredible amount of specialized equipment to save a premature newborn’s life.

That’s why, in addition to thanking you from the bottom of my heart, I want to ask you to let your inspiring power of giving go to work this holiday season with a lifesaving gift for the Newborn ICU (NICU) at BC Women’s.

I can tell you firsthand that your donation will save a baby’s life. Your donation will give a family like mine the most meaningful gift they could ever receive.

At the NICU they have many different types of neonatal breathing apparatus, because not every machine is right for every baby’s needs. It’s so specialized.

Francis relied on three different types of breathing equipment. Thankfully the team at BC Women’s had these tools at their fingertips because of friends like you. It really and truly saved Francis’ life.

But Francis had even more challenges to face aside from his breathing difficulties. He developed a serious blood infection and sepsis.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I walked into the NICU each day. Would he be thriving? Or would he be overwhelmed by a battle he just couldn’t win?

But, like I said, I knew that BC Women’s was the best place for him because supporters make it possible for this hospital to do their best work with the best equipment.

This Christmas is going to be a very special one. In a lot of ways it’s really our first Christmas with Francis and we want to create some new traditions with our little boy. I am making him his own stocking, and we will decorate the tree with the little ornament that has his name and birth date. But we won’t forget the NICU. Or you.

Please help other babies leave the hospital strong and healthy like Francis did. Your gift toward equipment for the Newborn ICU is a gift of life.

With warmest gratitude,

Leah Stadelmann
Francis’ mom

P.S. My tiny one-and-a-half-pound baby was covered from head to toe in medical equipment that let doctors and nurses keep him alive so he could thrive and grow. I count my blessings every day. I hope the hospital can count on you to give this same chance to other families facing equally terrifying situations with their very sick babies. Thank you for caring so very much!

Please make a donation today!