Imagine Heidi Hoffert’s surprise to learn, while she was being prepped for back surgery in July 2018, that she was also nine weeks pregnant! That wasn’t the last of the unexpected twists in this story either. In November, while back in hospital for an ultrasound, Heidi’s blood pressure was taken, and it was, in her words, “sky high,” creating a potentially life-threatening situation for her and her baby.
So, the next day Luke Hoffert was delivered by emergency C-section at 31 weeks, weighing only three pounds. The tiny baby was immediately rushed off to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at the Rawlco Centre for Mother Baby Care, where he would stay for the next 72 days, under the watchful eyes of the medical team.
“Honestly, I was scared to even touch him at first, he was so tiny,” Heidi admits. “You can’t help but wonder how a human that small can even survive.”
While in the NICU, Luke was monitored for a heart murmur, caused by a small hole in his heart. Fortunately, the hole closed on its own, so surgery was not required. At that point, it was just a matter of time until he grew strong enough to be released from hospital.
“The staff at the NICU were amazing,” Heidi says. “We’re so lucky to have them, and the technology they have to work with. There aren’t enough words to describe how grateful I am. Walking into the unit is like going to visit family; that’s how much they care about the babies they look after.”
On January 28 of this year, Luke - weighing six pounds - went home with Heidi, her husband Jason and his big brother Blake. His feeding tube came out less than a month later, and as of early May, his weight is up to 11 pounds. Aside from regular visits to the Pediatric Outpatient Clinic to keep tabs on his progress, he’s none the worse for wear from his rough start to life.
“We are so fortunate in southern Saskatchewan to have world-class care available at the Rawlco Centre for Mother Baby Care,” says Dino Sophocleous, president and CEO, Hospitals of Regina Foundation. “Our NICU sees approximately 500 babies each year. Our community’s support of the Foundation allows us to continue to invest in the NICU to ensure that this crucial care is available for babies, right here at home.”
To learn more about the Rawlco Centre for Mother Baby Care, click here
to watch a short video.