Olive and her twin brother, Kash, were born Oct. 30. Parents Brad and Jocelyn knew twins sometimes come early or with complications, so they were prepared for one or both babies to need an NICU stay. However, Olive and Kash arrived safely and seemed to be in good health so the family was able to go home together – a big relief! Little did they know, they WOULD need a NICU stay for reasons they couldn’t have foreseen. Just hours after coming home, Olive was vomiting, lethargic and hadn’t pooped. HealthLink said to take her to the Alberta Children’s Hospital. The team in the Emergency Department found her temperature was unusually low, so they began gradually warming her up. Her oxygen levels dropped and she was unable to breathe properly on her own. Olive was hooked up to oxygen and IVs, as specialists ran tests and bloodwork and took X-rays, trying to determine why she was crashing.
Olive was finally stable enough to move to a room on Unit 2, but the next day, when, her vitals plummeted and her lips turned blue. Brad remembers answering a number of important, but unsettling questions, such as “Is there any history of sudden death in the family?” Olive was rushed to the NICU. One doctor said caffeine could help stabilize her heart rate, and sure enough Olive’s “caffeine drip” did just that. She was being tube fed in small doses and had been given a suppository in hopes her digestive system could learn to work on its own, and slowly but surely, it did. Brad and Jocelyn never thought they’d be so happy to see poop! After a few days of intensive care, Olive was able to graduate back to Unit 2 where the team ensured she was eating and gaining enough weight to go home. An observant nurse there also noticed Olive seemed to be experiencing acid reflux, which could be contributing to her eating/digestive issues, so they got her onto some meds for that and quickly her feeds improved. Though they were restless and eager to take their baby home, Jocelyn and Brad appreciated the diligence of the team and the kindness they experienced, including a nurse who cuddled Olive at night so Jocelyn could feed Kash and get a bit of sleep.
All the tests came back negative for any serious illness or underlying condition, so it’s likely Olive’s body was just so fragile and overwhelmed, it needed some help learning what it was supposed to do, says Brad. Today, Olive is at home, eating, growing and meeting all her milestones. Brad and Jocelyn are so grateful the life-saving expertise and resources at the Alberta Children’s Hospital were available when their daughter needed them.
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