In 2020, Elizabeth Cushing and her husband, Stephen, were overjoyed to discover they were pregnant with their first child – a daughter they named Ruby.
Throughout the pregnancy, Ruby was always showing signs of being an active and healthy baby at every medical appointment. She had a strong heartbeat and was developing well. But, sadly, that would all change.
At 32 weeks pregnant, Ruby passed away in the womb while Elizabeth was sleeping. The news that they had lost their first child was devastating.
After Ruby’s passing, doctors induced Elizabeth, and Ruby was delivered stillborn the following day. To support them through this heartbreaking experience, the doctors and nurses created a calm environment with soft lighting and relaxing music. And Elizabeth and Stephen were given time with Ruby to say their goodbyes. “We will always treasure those few hours we had with Ruby,” says Elizabeth.
Unfortunately, the support groups for women who experience pregnancy loss were paused due to the pandemic. But Elizabeth was able to find support through the IWK’s social workers and reproductive mental health team.
Although they suffered an unimaginable loss, Elizabeth and Stephen were still feeling ready to be parents to a living child. In January 2021, they found out they were pregnant again – and to their surprise, with twins!
Because Elizabeth’s pregnancy was deemed high-risk, she was monitored very closely by the IWK. “The support, care and close monitoring at the IWK were crucial for my pregnancy,” shares Elizabeth.
At 32 weeks pregnant with the twins (the same gestational age Ruby was when she was born), Elizabeth began to experience slight discomfort around her ribs and fatigue. She and Stephen immediately went to the Early Labour Assessment Unit (ELAU) at the IWK. Thankfully, they did.
Blood work showed that Elizabeth’s liver enzyme levels were higher than normal. She was admitted to the IWK, and after three days of close monitoring and tests, she had an emergency C-section to deliver the premature twins. They were immediately transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for care and support as they continued to grow and develop.
Today, the twins – Edith (Edie) and Marigold (Goldie) – are thriving and developing their personalities. In August 2022, they will turn one year old.
“We are so thankful they arrived safely,” says Elizabeth. “The IWK played a key role in that. They listened to our fears and concerns and did all that they could to put our minds at ease.”