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Deborah's Story

I gave birth to my son in May 2008. He was born at 25 weeks and 6 days. At the time I was attending classes at York University with plans to finish my last year early by powering through so I’d be done by his due date of August 14. It caught me off guard and completely turned my life and plans upside down.

The amazing team at Sick Kids rushed to North York General where I had my emergency C-section. I woke up to my big brother by my side and the tiniest baby I’d ever seen was rolled in a few minutes later. He was 1lb 9oz, wrinkly, hairy and as adorable as anything. Before surgery I remember asking the doctor about his chances of survival. I think his main goal was to keep me calm under pressure, because he seemed pretty optimistic. The nurses were sweet, caring and reassuring as well. The impact and trauma of his birth didn’t hit me until a few nights later when I lay in the hospital bed unable to sleep. I prayed like crazy all night long that God wouldn’t let my baby die.

I ended up dropping out of my summer courses and spending every day at Women’s College Hospital where one of the best NICUs in Canada was located at that time. He was on life support in the very early days and was consistently losing weight. The doctors discovered that there was a valve in his heart that hadn’t closed and that surgery needed to be performed asap. He was taken to Sick Kids. The attendant there, describing the risks of surgery, was a little less optimistic, which I’m sure was part of his job. He outright told me that my baby could die. But he didn’t. He was a champ and recovered more quickly than they anticipated. He was soon returned to Women’s College and his health rapidly improved.

In total, he was hospitalized for 108 days and, because of a sore throat which prohibited me from visiting, I only missed 1 day. His sister and I were at his side every other day. At just 8 years old, she was also a champ. Giving up her summer to be by her brother’s side. She took pictures (a lot!), often wanted to hold him when she could and never complained. My siblings also visited. My brother almost every day after a long day at work and at nights when I couldn’t be there. Even my parents flew in from the East Coast. We rallied around him and watched him claw his way back.

His cousin was born on August 22. The very next day, to my surprise, the doctors informed me that he was ready to go home. It literally happened overnight. I guess he was just ready to be with his family. Which tracks. He’s a very loveable and family oriented kid. Today you wouldn't know of his journey unless I told you. He's very healthy and taller than me (I'm 5'4" and he's 12!).

He's a miracle and a big piece of my heart.

Deborah, 40

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