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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

11 rafters rescued from Red Deer River

Red Deer RCMP rescued a party of 11 river rafters Saturday afternoon… Continue reading

Tuesday marks 20th anniversary of Pine Lake tornado

‘Devastation was apparent’ following F3 tornado killed 12 people on July 14, 2000

Red Deer woman loses student visa, ‘has no choice but to leave’ Canada

Victoria Forschle and her family came to Canada in 2008

Red Deer up to four active COVID-19 cases

Province announced 77 new confirmed cases across Alberta Friday

You can’t put a price on memories

Some people would rather buy something than sell something. Some people are… Continue reading

Masks and gloves: Elections Saskatchewan preparing for pandemic election

REGINA — Elections Saskatchewan estimates it will need 400,000 face masks and… Continue reading

Quebec police say they found 2 bodies in St-Apollinaire during search for 2 girls

SAINT-APOLLINAIRE, Que. — Quebec provincial police continue to search for the father… Continue reading

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, NHLPA chief Don Fehr reflect on RTP, CBA deals

Gary Bettman and Don Fehr finally have a chance to catch their… Continue reading

NHL’s road to Edmonton and Toronto featured plenty of obstacles

Since early March, the novel coronavirus has affected almost every decision facing… Continue reading

Florida sets record week for coronavirus deaths

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Florida’s coronavirus death rate rose again Saturday, setting… Continue reading

Trump’s defiant help for Stone adds to tumult in Washington

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s intervention into a criminal case connected to… Continue reading

With debt, deficit numbers out, experts say Liberals need plan for growth

Borrowing will push the federal debt past $1 trillion by the end of the fiscal year

Most Read