Baby Elliana and Baby Louella were born at 25 weeks to proud parents Rachal Deevey and Jesse Snow. Each baby weighed nearly two pounds and they were admitted to the IWK’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Both girls required support to help them breathe. On their third day in the NICU, the twins had brain scans where it was revealed that Elliana was doing well but, unfortunately, Louella was not.
The doctors explained that Louella had a brain bleed, excess air in her chest cavity and that one of her lungs wasn’t working properly. They told Rachal and Jesse they weren’t certain Louella would ever have a decent quality of life.
Together, Rachal and Jesse made the heartbreaking choice to remove Louella’s life supports and spent the rest of their time as a family of four together happily, enjoying the remaining days they had left with Louella until she passed away at 13 days old.
The night before they said goodbye to Louella, the family watched a Montreal Canadians playoff game. “It was the first time I got to hold both of my babies at the same time,” recalls Rachal. “It is my most favourite memory of all.”
Over the next few weeks in the NICU, Elliana continued to grow. However, her blood sugar gradually started falling and she needed her feet pricked every day, sometimes as often as once every three hours. Around the same time, she started showing signs of apnea and, frightening her parents, would often stop breathing. “We felt so helpless,” says Rachal. “All we could do was depend on the doctors and nurses and equipment to help make Elli feel better.”
Elliana got better and worse several times before her health eventually stabilized. After spending a total of 106 days at the IWK, Rachal and Jesse were able to bring Elliana home.
Today, Elliana (or Elli, as her parents like to call her) is almost one and doing very well. She still visits the IWK routinely for checkups and is part of the perinatal follow-up program at the IWK.
“Against the odds, Elli survived and thrived and is doing remarkably well,” says Rachal. “We are so grateful to the IWK for all they have done for our family.”