Thankful. That’s how Danielle Johnston feels after 2018, an emotional rollercoaster of a year.
In July, her triplets came early. Danielle had just put her three younger kids to bed when labour pains started. Her oldest child called an ambulance to their farm, located roughly an hour and 45 minutes from Regina. But the first baby wasn’t waiting.
“The baby wanted out,” Danielle says. “I pulled her out and she wasn’t breathing.”
Danielle sprang into action, performing CPR on her newborn daughter before the ambulance arrived. The ambulance took Danielle, her husband Trevor and the baby, named Karlee, to the hospital in Weyburn. But Danielle knew she needed to be taken to Regina, as the other babies were in breach.
The other two triplets were born shortly after arriving in Regina. They each weighed 4.5 pounds and were placed in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The two boys, Liam and Jack, each had bradycardia episodes, meaning their heart rates were too low.
“The babies were so early, they weren’t developed all the way,” Danielle explains. “The medical team doesn’t want you to go home when the babies aren’t ready and I’m so glad, because I didn’t know what I’d do if something happened at home.”
To stay close to her babies, Danielle parked her family’s camper trailer at a campground on the outskirts of Regina. She stayed there with her four other children, going back and forth to Regina General Hospital. In late August, Karlee was released from the NICU. The following day, Danielle received devastating news: her family’s house had burned down.
“There was nothing left of the house,” recalls Danielle. “It was probably a blessing in disguise we weren’t home, because it could have happened when we had to get seven kids out of there.”
A week later, Liam and Jack were released from the NICU. The family lived in their camper trailer until early November.
Today, the family is in a brand new home on their farm. Danielle says everyone is happy, healthy and grateful for the outpouring of support they received.
“I always thought there were good people out there, but I didn’t realize how amazing people could be,” Danielle says. “It’s very humbling.”
“Regina’s NICU remains an immensely important facility for families across southern Saskatchewan,” says Dino Sophocleous, president and CEO, Hospitals of Regina Foundation. “It’s imperative we equip the unit with the technology needed to save the lives of hundreds of babies every year.”
Danielle's story appears in our Spring 2019 newsletter. Watch for it here after May 14, 2019.
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