On June 24, 1989, after 29 weeks of pregnancy, I gave birth to our first daughter, Melissa. Pre-eclampsia forced a midnight run from bed rest at Scarborough General to a fast caesarian at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto.
It was overwhelming to see Melissa turn her head and wink at us on ultrasound that night. The doctor was surprised and said it was a rare occurrence. Knowing she was a reassuring and viable 4 pounds, we chose her middle name, Joy, right then.
She was only on oxygen for one hour as luckily she could breathe alone after that. The monitors and sensors made us feel so disconnected from her. All we could do sometimes was to rub a small area of her back for contact and comfort. At one point they shaved her head ready to insert the IV there but it wasn’t required in the end. Her weight plummeted to about 2 lbs. before it rose again.
After five days in the NICU the incubator was needed for incoming twins and triplets so she was transported to our nearest hospital, East York General. There I learned to breast and tube feed her. Her father, Stewart, was thrilled to be able to tube feed her from his finger.
Two weeks later, at five pounds, she was able to come home. The daily bus trips to feed and be with her each day were over.
Today Melissa is a healthy 17-year-old, karate black belt, getting ready to go off to University. She has chosen Kinesiology as her area of study. Her birth and her interaction with medical and alternative therapies have pointed her in that direction.
I admire the Linden Fund very much for its work and support its efforts. The emotional and physical stresses are hard to describe. So many tears are shed – feelings of joy, of fear, of inadequacy. Every kindness at this time is truly appreciated.