By Lisa Ashdown
A grateful patient
In the delivery room at the Red Deer Regional Hospital, the doctors and nurse are watching the monitors very closely and I’m doing my best not to panic.
My baby hasn’t even been born yet and she’s already in distress.
A call is made to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and before I know it a team is there to help deliver my little girl. The heart monitor they’ve attached to her reads 225 beats per minute. Anything over 180 is considered high. My baby’s tiny heart is racing.
Finally, she is here, safe and warm in my arms as I hold and comfort her. And then Kaylee’s heart rate spikes again. She’s rushed to the NICU. My husband goes with her and I am suddenly alone, riding a wave of emotions. What’s wrong with my little girl?
In the NICU, Kaylee is assessed and diagnosed with supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) – an abnormally fast heart rhythm from improper electrical activity in the upper part of the heart. She’s given medication with the hope that it will stop the high heart rate episodes.
After she’s taken to the NICU, I spend two frantic hours in recovery before I’m strong enough to go see her. And for the next 11 days that’s where I stay, rarely leaving my baby’s side.
Thankfully, I’m never alone. The nurses are always there to comfort me, to squeeze my shoulder and give me a hug. I find reassurance in the expertise of Kaylee’s doctors. Together, the NICU team cares for my baby like she is their own child.
Community’s support makes the best care possible
In spite of my fear I always knew Kaylee was getting the best care possible. That’s in large part thanks to you. Your support helps buy the latest equipment and technology so patients of all ages can get the lifesaving care they need close to home.
Today, I hope the hospital can count on you again. Your thoughtful donation will help ensure the talented staff at the Red Deer Regional Hospital continue to have the up-to-date equipment they need to do their jobs. Your generosity will help fund the innovative technology and compassionate care you or someone in your own family might need one day.
The next 11 days were a rollercoaster ride as the doctors worked to stabilize Kaylee’s heart rate. She’d be fine for a while and then another episode would cause her small heart to race.
All I could think about was taking my baby girl home to meet her big brother, Gage and sister, Jazlyn. But Kaylee had to be episode-free for 48 hours before that could happen. In the meantime, the nurses in the NICU became my family. With my husband at home caring for our two older children, they were the ones I leaned on through all the highs and lows.
Eventually, my husband and I were able to bring our little girl home. And that’s when I realized just how lucky we are to have such an excellent hospital close to home.
For one month, Kaylee’s high heart rate episodes brought us to the Emergency Department (ED) at the Red Deer Regional Hospital for an EKG and treatment almost every day!
Perhaps you can see why our hospital means so much to my family – why we’re so proud to support them financially. It’s good to know we have access to expert care in our community.
For the role you played in my daughter’s care with your own generosity, thank you so much. Because you have it in your heart to give, Kaylee got the care she desperately needed. The equipment that helped diagnose and treat her condition was there at the hospital waiting for her.
Growing community brings greater need
But our community is growing and so is the need for your support. Your donation will help fund the vital equipment and leading-edge technology the Red Deer Regional Hospital needs to keep up with demand in the NICU, ED, and every department of the hospital.
At 10 months old, Kaylee is doing great. She still has episodes sometimes and may need a non-invasive procedure one day. But for now, she’s doing well on her medication and is a happy, healthy little girl.
Sometimes I look into Kaylee’s laughing eyes and think about the first friends she ever made in the NICU – the ones who were there for her in her time of urgent need.
And I think about all the people who will turn to the Red Deer Regional Hospital in the days to come. With your help, they too will find expert care, hope and comfort when they need it most.
Learn more at rdrhfoundation.com