We were transferred by air ambulance to Vancouver right after we found out that one of our identical twin girls had died from twin to twin transfusion syndrome during the 28th week of pregnancy. YANA sent us over with assistance for our immediate needs.
The labour was held off for another 10 weeks during which time we found out that our surviving daughter had an unrelated heart condition which would require surgery immediately after her birth, and a possible genetic condition. Those 10 weeks were spent in Vancouver on bed-rest, mostly in hospital.
Our daughters, Tori Savannah and Lara Jocelyn, were born on November 29, 2007. It was a bittersweet experience we’d spent 10 weeks preparing for. Tori was transferred immediately to the Intensive Care Unit at BC Children’s Hospital, while Lara was stillborn.
We spent 4 days getting to know our daughter in the ICU before she went for her open heart surgery. She struggled after her surgery and was in very critical condition for the first 2 weeks. We were afraid we were going to lose our second daughter.
She pulled through, and ended up on a 6 week course of antibiotics in BC Children’s as a complication of her surgery. During that time Tori developed respiratory distress, and ended back up in the ICU in early January 2008. Little did we know at that time, there she would remain for the year, until her discharge December 15, 2008.
She underwent several more procedures, including a heart catheter procedure, feeding tube placement, airway lasering, and another rarely performed open heart surgery. At 5 months of age, Tori got a tracheostomy, after which she finally started to show minor improvements. She continued to need a ventilator, and needed to get bigger before she could be stable enough to go home. She celebrated her first birthday in the Intensive Care Unit at Children’s hospital, and was lucky enough to be discharged 2 weeks later.
She is trached and ventilated, and a lot of work to care for at home, but she’ll grow out of these things. She’ll need 3 more open heart surgeries as she grows. But she’s home, and got to spend her 2nd Christmas in Courtenay with family and friends.
All told, we spent an unanticipated 15 months in Vancouver. YANA provided financial assistance for our accommodation, so we could focus 100 percent on what we needed to most, our daughter Tori.
It is hard to explain how much it means to have stress from other areas (i.e. financial) removed while going through such a lengthy and emotionally draining hospital stay. YANA have also offered additional help for the numerous follow up appointments we will have in Vancouver as Tori grows. We are truly thankful for all the help they have given us, again, so we could focus on getting our daughter healthy.