Most families can’t imagine having one child requiring care in Regina’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). For Robina Wapash and her family, it was an all too familiar situation when her second child also required extended care in the NICU, at the Rawlco Centre for Mother Baby Care.
While pregnant with her first child, Robina tells us “I went into labor at work. It was very early in my pregnancy and I was immediately rushed to Regina General Hospital via ambulance from Swan River.” Archie Rolling Thunder Chartrand was born premature at 25 weeks 4 days and weighed only 1lb 16oz. While in the NICU, at approximately 36 weeks Archie developed myoclonic seizures, which are brief shock-like jerks in a muscle group, which itself required 4 weeks of treatment. After a 92 day stay in the NICU, Robina and Archie were finally able to go home happy and healthy. Today, Archie has no ongoing problems although he returns for follow-up monitoring at an outpatient clinic once a year. He is now a happy and healthy five-year year old in Kindergarten. This however, would not be the end of Robina’s journey.
“When I went into early labor with my second child, I insisted I be sent to Regina for treatment and was flown via Life Flight from Swan River to Regina,” Robina tells us. “There was a level of care and trust I had experienced in Regina and in my mind, it was the only place I was going to be treated.”
On August 21, 2019, Robina gave birth to her second child, Winoah Rachel Agnes Chartrand, who at 25 weeks and 5 days, weighed only 1lb 14oz. Medical teams immediately noticed baby Winoah’s belly was slightly bloated and distended so they continued to monitor her situation. Robina and Winoah were scheduled to go home on October 31st, when instead doctors informed Robina that her baby needed emergency surgery due to a bowel obstruction. During this surgery the medical team found a tissue band constricting Winoah’s bowels which had to be removed and doctors hoped that the damage would then heal on its own.
“I was worried, but the doctors and nurses are simply outstanding and really do go above and beyond. They are so good at explaining the care being provided and are so reassuring during the process.” explains Robina.
Unfortunately, the damage did not heal on its own and baby Winoah required a second surgery during which 7cm of her bowel was removed and a Stoma, which is an artificial opening in the body, was created to assist with bowel movements. She required two additional surgeries to make sure the Stoma was healing properly with the last procedure on January 6, 2020. After more than 145 days in the NICU, Winoah was finally permitted to go home just after the New Year.
Robina and her family are all extremely grateful. “The incredible doctors and technology in the Regina NICU are the reason I have two living children.” she explains. “Without the Hospitals of Regina Foundation and support from the community, this simply wouldn’t be possible. It is all so important to the amazing care they provide. Thank You.”
“Regina’s NICU sees approximately 500 fragile babies like Archie & Winoah each year, who need all the help they can get in overcoming unimaginable obstacles,” says Dino Sophocleous, president and CEO, Hospitals of Regina Foundation. “Thanks to our wonderful community and their continued support, we are able to ensure that Regina’s NICU, at the Rawlco Centre for Mother Baby Care, has the life-saving technology needed to help save babies’ lives.”