Born at just 24 weeks, Kevin’s daughter weighed one pound, six ounces. Aubree was a micro preemie who had months of isolation, monitoring and surgeries ahead of her. Kevin and his partner Jessica spent 150 days by their daughter’s side in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at McMaster Hospital.
Even with the support of a skilled medical team, dealing with a sick child is an emotional roller coaster. Nothing could prepare the young couple for what they were going through. Although they were overwhelmed and busy dealing with Aubree’s health issues, their love, strength and positivity have made them the ideal advocates for Aubree’s ongoing treatments.
I think it’s safe to say that we’ve experienced every human emotion at one point or another, but my first thought was simply an overwhelming amount of love. I remember being in complete awe of her and felt a fierce sense of protection.
I’d be lying to say it wasn’t a struggle some days and it would have been near impossible without the support we received from family, friends and FCT colleagues. Jessica spent 14-16 hours a day at the hospital. I would go to work then go straight to the hospital afterwards. I would come home late, eat dinner and go to bed only to wake up and repeat the same thing the next day. But I wouldn’t change that for anything—my daughter is a miracle and it’s been an incredible journey watching her grow.
Aubree is an absolute champion! She continues to amaze us with her progress so far. In her first nine months of life, she’s had six surgeries, two spinal taps and six blood transfusions. She’s also had a portion of her bowels removed and has a brain injury that can possibly limit her ability to grasp objects or walk. She has also faced challenges with abnormal blood vessel growth in her eyes.
We would often read stories aloud to her while she was in the incubator and you could see her heart rate decrease on the monitors. She was responding to our voices which made us both feel more at ease knowing there was something we could do to soothe our baby.
If I had any advice for other parents, it would be to advocate for your child and to learn as much as you can. Seek support at the hospital because no one really understands what you’re going through better than another parent who is facing a similar experience. Remember to stay positive. There are days when things won’t be going so well or when you’re going to dread going to the hospital, but your child will respond to your positivity.