The Pothier family never expected to welcome their third child, Bruin, into the world during a global pandemic. They also never expected their baby boy to require life-saving care in the IWK’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Bruin Pothier arrived six weeks early in the Annapolis Valley. He was breathing but needed assistance. The situation quickly became more critical when he required intubation and was flown to the IWK by EHS LifeFlight. Bruin’s mom, Andrea, was taken to the IWK by ambulance while her husband, Eric, followed behind in their car.
Bruin had lost oxygen and blood flow during delivery, which had led to several complications. He had a brain injury, and his liver and one of his kidneys were not functioning well.
While in flight, Bruin required a blood transfusion and, once at the IWK, received a plasma transfusion through the night. Eric remained by his son’s side in the NICU while Andrea was admitted to the IWK’s Family Newborn & Adult Surgery Unit (FNASU).
When Andrea was discharged a few days later, they had to make the difficult choice to have Eric leave the NICU while she became Bruin’s primary support person because of COVID-19 support person restrictions.
“Bruin was very sick, and it was very difficult to be in the NICU by myself. It was also tough to be away from my other children, Lukah and Piper, but I knew the restrictions were in place to keep everyone safe,” says Andrea.
After spending 27 days in the NICU, Bruin was finally able to go home. He is followed closely by the IWK.
In November 2020, Bruin was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a condition that affects balance, movement and muscle tone. There’s currently no cure for cerebral palsy, and this condition will impact Bruin for the rest of his life. However, he hasn’t let that stop him!
Now two and a half years old, Bruin has made great progress. He can crawl in his own way and continues to get stronger. He loves playing eye gaze games using his eye movements, watching his brother and sister play hockey and listening to music.
The nurses became my best friends during our 27 day stay and they fought hard for Bruin. I’m so grateful for the amazing care we received.