“There’s really nothing that can prepare you for the experience of becoming a parent – or at least – I don’t think there is,” shared new mother, Kyla Rutherford. “You can read all the books about ‘what to expect’ and talk with friends and family, but the day you become a Mom, it’s unlike anything you thought it might be. Truthfully, it’s so much more.”
Kyla and her partner Steve welcomed their son, Emerson, at the Hospital on Sept 24. She said, “The past few months have been a blur, if I’m being honest. But one thing I do recall is our care team at the Hospital – from the nurses to the doctors – they provided us with incredible care. Even before I gave birth, I met with a nurse in Labour and Delivery, who explained how every step of the process would work. She was – no word of a lie – absolutely phenomenal.”
Continued Kyla, “After Emerson was born, he needed to go the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit just for a little while to help clear his lungs from fluid. Then we stayed in the Hospital for another few days as I gained strength after my C-section to be able to care for him. Now that we’re home, I’ve been reflecting on our experience and realizing just how lucky we are to have a Hospital and a healthcare team that can provide such individualized, professional, and quality care for all of us – but, in particular, for my child.”
“I know that doesn’t happen by chance,” she emphasized. “There are individuals in a variety of roles that make that happen – from administrators, to housekeeping staff, to clinical care teams including nurses and doctors. What I’ve learned recently is that there’s another important piece to providing the level of care we experienced – and that’s thanks to donors.”
“I cannot tell you how comforted I felt knowing that – should either Emerson or I require additional care – that we would be somewhere that could provide it,” Kyla recalled. “Donors continue to fund new equipment, so that babies like Emerson, and older children, can receive the competent and quality care they deserve, here at home.”
At present, there are several new pieces of equipment that are needed at the Hospital to provide care for infants and children.
Crystal Edwards, the Director of Women and Children’s Programs explained, “Currently, when children need to have a diagnostic test called an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), they must either be able to lie very still for an extended amount of time (up to 40 minutes), or might be provided with sedation so the test can be performed.”
She continued, “If you’re not familiar with an MRI – let me give you a visual. You have to lie down and go into a large donut-shaped machine. There’s not much room above you or to your sides. Then, throughout your test, the machine ‘clunks’. It sounds like a lot of odd banging, and it’s pretty loud. It’s something most adults aren’t really comfortable with, let alone a child. Let’s put it this way – it’s not the most inviting environment – and can be quite difficult for people to get through, especially children.”
Child Life Specialist, Brittany Oliver added, “While sedation can help many children complete the test, there are also drawbacks, including the need to insert an IV (needle) to provide the sedation. Additionally, children cannot eat or drink prior to receiving sedation. Further, there are some children who react extremely negatively to the sedation. This can cause a particularly uncomfortable situation for the kids, their parents and our care providers. It’s something we never want to happen.”
“Right now, we’re hoping to purchase cinema goggles so that kids can watch a program of their choice, with audio, while they’re having their MRI,” continued Brittany. “These particular goggles are the same ones used by the Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre for their paediatric MRI program. The goggles are compatible with our MRI machine – meaning they have absolutely no metal within them. And, kids can actually bring in their favourite movies to watch, or choose from a list of programs we have already loaded.”
“It’s going to be a game changer for kids and for our team at the Hospital,” Brittany enthused. “The kids will be fully immersed in the audio and video from the goggles during their MRI, and we expect to drastically reduce the amount of sedation we provide to kids and decrease the amount of time each of these procedures currently takes.”
“Our overall goal,” said Crystal, “is to improve the comfort of our paediatric patients. We recognize that children are vastly different from adults and we need to ensure that the setting and care environment we provide directly caters to the needs of children.”
The goggles are just one piece of new equipment required in the paediatric and infant programs. Just like most other products out there these days, nothing lasts forever, including medical equipment. It’s critical that our Hospital be able to purchase new equipment to provide care for infants and children from across Northwestern Ontario.
The Hospital is the only facility in Northwestern Ontario that has a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit that can provide the highest levels of care for mothers and infants that require it. Additionally, there are about 1,500 births occurring annually and the Hospital is the only one in the region to have a paediatric inpatient unit, where children can be admitted. There are more than 1,100 patients that require the care provided in this unit every year.
Kyla shared, “As a new Mom, it’s a bit staggering to realize just how critical our Hospital is to both new and seasoned parents, but I’m darn glad that we have a wonderful facility with incredible professionals that can care for ALL our kids. I’m so grateful for donors and the impact they have at our Hospital each and every day.”
She concluded, “I’m hoping you will consider giving to the Women and Children’s program this holiday season – a gift that will continue to make a difference all year long. Be it for the MRI cinema goggles, or to another critical piece of equipment like infant warmers, or a phototherapy light. Thank you so much for your consideration and may I take this time to wish you a wonderful holiday season. I can’t wait to share the magic of it with Steve and Emerson.”
Your donation will give children and their families the gift of your generosity for years to come, and will be used directly to improve the patient experience for the youngest patients at our Hospital.
Please donate at HealthSciencesFoundation.ca/Children or call the Health Sciences Foundation at (807) 345-4673.