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Ainsley McIsaac

For first-time mom Stephanie McIsaac, the experience of pregnancy was new and a rollercoaster of emotions and physical changes like many first-time mom’s experiences. At 24 weeks, Stephanie was admitted to her local hospital when staff realized something strange was going on after she came in for what she believed was severe indigestion. After further testing, Stephanie was quickly transported by ambulance to the IWK. This is where her daughter Ainsley was born at just 24 weeks gestation, weighing one pound and six ounces.
Since Ainsley was born so early, there were many complications. She required very specialized care from the team in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Ainsley’s small, fragile body was on many machines that gave her a fighting chance at life including a ventilator, heart monitor, CO2 monitor, temperature monitor and an incubator, to name a few. 

According to Stephanie, “Her family was the IWK staff. They were fully invested in her life and everything was tailored to her. We, as parents, got to be very involved in her care and treatment plan. I’m still amazed by the staff."

At one-month-old, Ainsley needed to have heart surgery to fix an open duct in her heart that hadn’t closed as it should have. 

“She had heart surgery performed by the incredible team at the IWK. This surgery was a huge turning point because of the bleeding in her lungs,” says Stephanie. 

Within two weeks of her successful surgery, Ainsley’s breathing tube was taken out, though she still required oxygen for another two months. Thankfully, as time passed, less and less intervention was required. 

“We weren’t sure for a period of time if she would make it home. She has come so very far thanks to the IWK.”

Ainsley is what we at the IWK Foundation like to call an IWK hero. 


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