In Canada, around seven per cent of babies are born prematurely each year.
Theresa Joyes knew that she could have another quick labour and delivery like she did with her 3 other children. What she wasn’t expecting was for Luke to arrive within minutes of her water breaking at 27 weeks.
On November 13th, 2017, Theresa called her husband Guy to tell him to come home from work because she knew something wasn’t right. From the time he drove from Collingwood to their family home in Wasaga Beach, Theresa’s water had broken and she was having strong contractions. Baby Luke was on his way into the world – 13 weeks early.
Theresa’s husband called 911 and they did all they could to prepare for a home birth. The 911 operator stayed on the line and talked them through the delivery while they waited for the ambulance to arrive.
The ambulance response time was quick, but Luke’s delivery was quicker.
When the paramedics arrived, they quickly got to work to save Luke’s life. Before transporting him to the ambulance they laid him on Theresa’s chest so that she could hold him and know that he was ok. Moments later her beautiful baby boy was rushed off to the Collingwood G&M Hospital (CGMH).
The emergency team at CGMH had 20 minutes to prepare for the arrival of Luke and Theresa. They quickly prepared all the neonatal equipment they had, alerted Sunnybrook Hospital, assembled a large care team of Emergency and Obstetrics Doctors & Nurses, Respiratory Therapists, an Anaesthetist and a Midwife.
When Luke arrived they immediately worked to stabilize his temperature and breathing.
Without community support, the lifesaving equipment they used would not have been available to help save Luke’s life.
Last year, donations from the community helped purchase a new neonatal ventilator. This meant that the Respiratory Therapists were able to stabilize Luke for 3 hours while maintaining a sufficient seal and minimize air accumulation in his stomach. If CGMH didn’t have this equipment, the Respiratory Therapists would have had to hold a mask to Luke’s tiny face and manually ventilate for 3 hours.
The infant warmer Luke used helped to keep his temperature stable but it did not have a scale built in. This meant his weight couldn’t be determined at that time which is critically important in the treatment process in such a delicate emergency situation with an infant. The team could have saved precious seconds if they had an infant warmer with a scale built in.
While all the tests and procedures were being performed on Luke to save his life, the CGMH team allowed Theresa to stay by his side the entire time. She said, “The medial staff were amazing; they made sure that I was with Luke during his examinations. It was huge to be with him and see he was receiving the best possible care”.
After four hours, Luke was airlifted to Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto, which has one of three high-risk regional neonatal nurseries in the Central East Region of Ontario. This is where Luke remained for 3 months.
Today, Luke is off oxygen, weights 5 ½ pounds (almost three times what he weighed when he was born) and is now home with Theresa, Guy and his 3 siblings.
At the Collingwood General & Marine Hospital, an average of 550 babies are born annually. Our dedicated team of medical staff use sophisticated equipment to check temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate to ensure the baby gets the best possible care.
Even more care is required for babies that are born prematurely, as rates of survival are dependent on the action taken and accessibility to necessary medical equipment.
CGMH wants to be ready for every neonatal emergency and needs updated equipment and technology, like a new infant warmer, in order to do so. The goal of the WasagaGives Campaign is to raise $100,000 to purchase equipment for the Obstetrical Department which is used in neonatal emergencies, like Luke’s.
They say it takes a village to raise a child, and we say it takes a team of passionate and caring medical staff to ensure that each baby receives the best care right from the start.
A special thank you to the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital Medical professionals, the Nottawasaga Midwives, and the County of Simcoe Paramedic Station for all of your compassion, care, and service to your community.