Little did anyone know it at the time, but Brooks Schneider was in for quite a battle when he was born at the former Moose Jaw Union Hospital in June of 2015. He was delivered at 35 weeks in respiratory distress, which meant his lungs were not developed to the point where he could breathe on his own.
The tiny infant was immediately placed on oxygen, then transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Regina’s General Hospital the following day for what was expected to be a 24-48 hour stay. That’s when his story took an unexpected and frightening turn.
Brooks was hooked up to a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine,” said his mother Tiarra Schneider. “Unfortunately, his lungs weren’t strong enough to handle even that amount of air pressure. The airflow actually caused a small hole to form in each of his lungs and his entire body filled with air. Honestly, he looked like a big purple grape.
Emergency intubation was the next step, as the medical staff at the NICU rushed to their tiny patient’s rescue. Chest X-rays revealed the presence of emphysema in Brooks’ lungs and symptoms of persistent pulmonary hypertension. Treatment included the use of an oscillator, used to treat patients in acute respiratory distress and nitric oxide to help blood and oxygen flow through his body.
After three days Brooks’ lungs recovered to the point where he gradually began breathing on his own, much to the delight of Tiarra and the medical team. But the story took another twist about five days later, when his heart rate shot up to dangerous levels. Fortunately, it came back down with the help of medication about 12 hours later and his condition stabilized. Eventually, 21 days after arriving at the NICU, Brooks was able to join his parents and two older siblings at home in the community of Griffin, SK.
I can’t say enough about the amazing care and compassion shown by the staff,” Tiarra explains. They treated us like family. There were times when I honestly didn’t know if Brooks was going to survive. At those times the nurses sat and cried with me, hugged me and told me everything was going to be okay.
“I’m so grateful the staff also had access to the diagnostic tools they needed, including X-rays, ultrasound and an MRI, to determine what was wrong and how to fix it. That never would have happened without the generous support of donors to Hospitals of Regina Foundation. I can never thank them enough. Without them, my son wouldn’t be here today. He’s a miracle baby.”
In addition to thanking them, Tiarra joined them. She decided to demonstrate her gratitude by raising money each year since then for the Z99 Radiothon in support of Hospitals of Regina Foundation.
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I had never put any effort into fundraising for a cause before,” Tiarra explains. “But after Brooks was born, I felt I needed to give back. I want other families to have access to the excellent local care that we did.