Our story begins when our baby tried to enter the world at 23 weeks. BC Women’s Hospital in Vancouver was unable to accommodate the birth of our child due to a bed shortage in our province and the high risk birth that it would be. Our health system provided the alternative of the Bed Line program. The nearest hospital that could accommodate us was Deaconess Hospital in Spokane, Washington. I was transferred by leer jet. To stop my labour, they gave me medication that the BC health care system does not offer. I was able to hold off on delivering for three weeks. Finally, an emergency c-section had to be performed due to infection.
On May 17, 2007, our miracle baby came into the world. She weighed only two pounds. The hospital said would not survive and even if she did she would have major health problems. The first few weeks of Kelsey's life were a struggle for her and everyone in her life. Kelsey was a fighter, “small but feisty” we called her. Testing discovered that the only thing Kelsey would struggle with was immature lungs and a Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA), a type of heart defect. Both of these issues are common in pre-mature babies. Kelsey stayed at Deaconess Hospital for 3 months. Our family had to live two separate lives which was extremely tough. At home, my husband struggled to balance a job and two other children, aged 6 and 18 months. On weekends he made every effort to travel the 9 hours to Spokane so he could visit his new baby and so I could see my other children.
Variety eased this struggle for us a great deal. They provided us with funding for groceries, accommodation expenses in Spokane, gas expenses for my husband’s travels back and forth and numerous other things. They helped us with the financial burden of maintaining two dwellings, something that was completely unexpected. It seemed our health care system sent me to the United States and then forgot I was there. When we contacted them they explained they did not expect me to stay in Spokane and I could go home and the baby would be sent back when they had a bed available in BC. To me that option did not exist. I could never leave her alone, I’m not sure if any mother could.
In February 2008 it was discovered that her heart was enlarged and was the size of a three year old’s. The cardiologist recommended a PDA Carterization. In April 2008 her surgery was cancelled twice by BC Children’s Hospital. Meanwhile, Kelsey struggled to breathe on a daily basis and was not permitted to go out in public for fear she may catch something. In early May, her surgery was performed but the outcome was not what we wanted. Her PDA was too large and tubular to put the plug in and the next step would be a ligation. Shortly after her first birthday Kelsey's ligation was performed. Two days later Kelsey was released. Her PDA closed up and her heart returned to normal size. We then began noticing that Kelsey could not eat or drink and that she choked on everything. She developed a high fever and became lethargic.
We returned to emergency at BC Children’s Hospital. It was discovered that one of Kelsey's vocal chords had been clipped and was paralyzed. Kelsey remained in hospital for tests. It was discovered through feeding studies that Kelsey was aspirating all foods and liquid. Kelsey was then put on a nasal feeding tube. Thankfully Variety came to our aid once again and helped us with her medical supplies, formula, feeding pump and more. Kelsey remained on the feeding pump for seven months. Due to poor growth she was put on Pediasure, which Variety provided funding for.
Kelsey struggled with learning to eat and swallowing liquids again. She has spent time with occupational therapists to get to where she is today. Kelsey still has some breathing issues through winter months but her doctors believe she will overcome this as she grows older. During the winter season to help her breathe she requires special medication that she receives through a portable nebulizer, which Variety purchased for her.
Kelsey has overcome many obstacles throughout the first two years of her life. Variety made these obstacles easier to climb for Kelsey and the rest of her family. We are very grateful to have found our way to Variety and for all they have done to save our "miracle baby".
The James Family
Variety - The Children's Charity 4300 Still Creek Drive Burnaby, British Columbia Canada V5C 6C6 Phone: 604.320.0505 | Fax: 604.320.0535 | Toll-free in BC & Alberta: 310.KIDS (5437) | E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org