World Prematurity Day celebrated at Red Deer’s hospital

Families praise work of city’s NICU

Giant steps in development achieved by tiny babies in Red Deer’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was recognized on Thursday during World Prematurity Day.

“These little guys are great survivors,” said Sandra Walker-Kendall, NICU and pediatrics unit manager at a celebration for past and present families at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre’s NICU.

“It’s a team approach. There’s pediatricians, nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, dietitians, that all work together to support these babies from the time of birth to the point they are going home.”

Red Deer’s NICU has 17 beds available for premature babies. In 2015, the unit had 478 admissions. Up to Oct. 31 this year, there were 260.

Mother Lisa Smikles, 32, of Ponoka, said her son Keaton, who turned 36-weeks old on Thursday, was making great progress in the NICU where there was lots of support and resources and a wonderful staff.

“He’s doing really, really well. What they can do for them now is amazing,” Lisa said.

“There’s hope for them. Just because they’re born early doesn’t mean they’re not strong and they’re not going to do well and not going to develop properly.”

Keaton’s father Andrew Smikles, who was in recliner holding his tiny infant, agreed they had everything they need in the NICU.

The couple had another premature baby in 2015 who died and Andrew said if there’s a chance that something is wrong with a pregnancy and the baby is viable, having a premature birth is the safest option.

“In my opinion, if there are any signs of distress or anything, you’re better off in here with all the technology and all the staff. At least you can know what’s going on with them as opposed to just making assumptions,” said Andrew, 27.

Another NICU mother Jennifer Jerome, 35, said her daughter Naomi, who was born at 29 weeks weighing 850 grams (one pound and 14 ounces), was making fantastic progress.

“There’s been a few bad days, but mostly good days. She’s gaining weight like a champ. She’s my chubby little baby now, almost two and a half times her size,” Jerome said.

City Coun. Lynne Mulder, who declared Nov. 17 World Prematurity Day in Red Deer, said it’s startling that one in 12 babies born in Canada are premature and Alberta has the highest rate of premature births among in the country.

“Our overarching goal at the city is to build a healthy community and that every citizen has access to a high quality life and it’s because of places like this,” Mulder said.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Sunny weather improves farmers’ prospects

A harvester kicking up dust. It’s a picture that will bring a… Continue reading

Rural transit pilot project being considered

Penhold, Innisfail and Red Deer County councils to decide whether to go ahead with project

Red Deer fire station up for sale

Home sweet home at Fire Station 4

Most surveyed Innisfail residents give urban chickens the thumbs up

Town of Innisfail will discuss whether to allow backyard chickens on Monday

WATCH: Two weeks away from Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer

In just two weeks, Ponoka’s Shayna Weir will compete with the best… Continue reading

Coyote on the prowl near Penhold

This coyote was out on the prowl in a field just west… Continue reading

Sky’s the limit as Calgary opens testing area for drones and new technologies

CALGARY — The sky’s the limit as the city of Calgary opens… Continue reading

Hi Mickey, ‘Bye Mickey: 6 Disney parks on 2 coasts in 1 day

ORLANDO, Fla. — Heather and Clark Ensminger breathed sighs of relief when… Continue reading

Court weighs ‘Apprentice’ hopeful’s suit versus Trump

NEW YORK — President Donald Trump’s lawyers hope to persuade an appeals… Continue reading

StarKist admits fixing tuna prices, faces $100 million fine

SAN FRANCISCO — StarKist Co. agreed to plead guilty to a felony… Continue reading

Annual pace of inflation slows to 2.2 per cent in September: Statistics Canada

OTTAWA — The annual pace of inflation slowed more than expected in… Continue reading

Jury finds Calgary couple guilty in 2013 death of toddler son

CALGARY — A jury has convicted a Calgary couple in the death… Continue reading

Study of U.S. hospital figures links pot use with increased risk of stroke

MONTREAL — New research is being presented at a conference in Montreal… Continue reading

Most Read