An unexpected event that would put your unborn child at risk is a worry that no expectant mother ever wants to go through. Unfortunately, this worry became a reality for Joy Beitel on May 25th 2018, when she was involved in a car accident while 30 weeks pregnant.
“I was driving on a street directly behind the Regina General Hospital when I was in a car accident. It wasn’t super severe, but definitely jarring.” Joy recalls. “I can remember the airbag going off, the smell of the dust, and being shaken and kind of dazed. With a background in nursing, I immediately started assessing myself for injuries and was clutching my belly, worried about my child.”
Without any hesitation, and due to the close proximity, Joy was immediately taken to the Regina General Hospital Emergency Room by a caring stranger who had witnessed the situation. Within 15 minutes of arrival, Joy was transferred to the Labor & Delivery Unit for monitoring and testing on her unborn baby. The initial tests and ultrasound came back normal, much to Joy’s relief. But 6 hours later the Obstetrician on duty, Dr. Eman Ramadan, advised that the blood test showed something alarming. The blood from both Joy and her baby was mixing in what is referred to as a ‘concealed placental abruption’. This can be fatal for both the mother and child, and Joy needed an immediate emergency C-Section.
“It was so scary going from the accident, to thinking everything seemed fine, to then needing an emergency C-section to save both our lives.” Joy tells us. “When baby Finn was delivered, he did cry but also needed help breathing, as he was so premature. It was two and half hours before I got to see him and all I could think was this is not how it was supposed to happen. It was all extremely challenging.”
Finn would require care in our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Rawlco Centre for Mother Baby Care for 37 days. Never far from the loving watch of his parents, his first week would prove very challenging and Joy describes it as “touch and go”. Baby Finn suffered a collapsed lung and needed assistance breathing. He also required a lot of medical scans to monitor his conditions. Eventually Finn would graduate from the NICU’s Giraffe Bed (a state-of the-art incubator system which provides premature and ill babies with a controlled, stress-reduced environment, much like that of a mother's womb) on to a ventilator, and finally requiring no breathing assistance as his lungs gradually became strong enough to allow him to breath his own. On July 1st, after 37 days in our NICU, Finn was discharged from the Hospital and allowed to go home with his family.
“I honestly can’t say enough good things about the nurses and doctors in the NICU. The staff and the equipment they have access to, thanks to the Foundation, have saved so many lives” Joy tells us. “They are such an amazing group of professionals that genuinely care about what they do. They took the extra time to answer any questions and explain anything I asked about. Without them I wouldn’t have my son and I can’t thank them enough for that.”
“Joy and Finn’s story is a reminder of the importance of investing in our pediatric programs to provide the best care possible right here at home for children across southern Saskatchewan.” says Lisa Green, vice-president, development, Hospitals of Regina Foundation. “The generosity of our community allows the Foundation to invest in life-saving technology each and every year, helping the Beitel/LeBlanc family and others like them receive the best care possible right here at home and live better lives.”