Having one baby who needed our NICU can be a stressful time for any parent, and may leave a lasting mark for years to come. Having two babies that required stays in the NICU, even when it is ten years apart, is something no parent can anticipate. Nevertheless, this was the unfortunate reality for the Ramos family as two of their daughters, Mattea and Ava, required stays in our NICU at the Rawlco Centre for Mother Baby Care, at Regina’s General Hospital.
In 2012, Erna Ramos gave birth to her daughter Mattea after just 24 weeks of pregnancy. Arriving very prematurely and being quite tiny and delicate, baby Mattea needed a lengthy 109-day stay in our NICU before being able to go home with her family.
In 2012, babies born this prematurely often did not survive. “When Mattea was in the NICU, it was very challenging for us as parents and as a family.” Erna explains. “We had to put our trust in the doctors, the nurses and the 2012 technology, which while still amazing, isn’t the same as it is today. We experienced a rollercoaster of emotions for the entire 109 days she was in the NICU.”
Ten years later, on February 1, 2022, Erna and her family were getting ready to welcome the newest addition to the family, baby Ava. After a normal pregnancy, Erna was not expecting any complications so it came as a surprise when they learned Ava was suffering from a high white blood cell count, and was also diagnosed with Down syndrome after her birth. The combination of these issues meant that Ava would spend the first 49 days of her life under the watchful eye of our NICU doctors and nurses.
“After Mattea’s stay in the NICU, we never expected that we would have to go through something like this again, but you never know what life has planned.” Erna tells us. “Since Mattea’s NICU stay 10 years ago, the technology has certainly advanced. The incubators that Ava needed are now capable of performing multiple tasks at once, versus the two or three machines needed before. We also had access to the NicView, a new camera system we could log in and watch Ava from anywhere, in real time. Technologies like this make it so much easier on us as parents to cope with the stress of having a newborn in the NICU. ”
Today, Mattea is a happy, healthy and thriving grade five student and baby Ava has settled in comfortably at home with her new family. Due to her elevated white blood cell count, she will undergo monitoring and screening for the next five years to ensure the issue does not present future problems. This is a treatment plan and level of physician care that the Ramos family is eternally grateful for.
“Nobody wishes their children to experience medical issues, and we are so grateful that both Mattea and Ava received treatment from the amazing doctors and nurses we have here, in Regina.” Erna explains. “If we had been back home in the Philippines, I’m not sure if my daughters would have made it.”
“The technology and support at Regina’s Hospitals made us feel like we were in good hands. Having this care right here at home, where we had family anytime we needed them was also a great comfort to us”, continues Erna. “The NICU team was not only attentive to our children, but our family as a whole. They really made us feel welcomed and cared for. The support from Hospitals of Regina Foundation and their community is what really makes this all possible, and we honestly can’t thank everyone enough for the care we received in our family’s most vulnerable time.”