Frankie Hartlen Côté’s IWK journey began even before Frankie was born when the IWK cared for Frankie’s mom, Krysta. Krysta was admitted to the IWK just over two weeks prior to Frankie’s arrival. She was experiencing complications due to complete placenta previa—a condition that can cause bleeding.
After Frankie’s birth, they were able to head home together as a family and celebrate this incredible new life that just arrived in the world.
As mothers, both Krysta and Jackie experienced the scariest days of their lives when Krysta was nursing Frankie at only five weeks old. While in her arms, Frankie suddenly stopped breathing. Frankie was transported immediately to the IWK Emergency Department and many tests began, starting a two-month admission that included a week in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).
While they still don’t know the root cause of the event, the IWK diagnosed Frankie with Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, which resulted in Epilepsy, Cerebral Palsy and the need to be tube-fed. Unusual to happen outside of birth, this brain injury has affected Frankie’s fine and gross motor skills, muscle tone, cognitive function, breathing, swallowing, eating, vision and communication – in short, everything. Frankie’s IWK care team most certainly saved Frankie’s life, but they also provided Krysta and Jackie emotional support to get through days that were unbearable. The IWK and its teams gave their family hope when things were grim.
Today, Frankie is doing really well and is still being regularly monitored very closely by several IWK teams. Frankie loves smiling, laughing, swimming lessons, cuddles, textured things, lights, and music. Frankie turned one in August 2021 and is getting ready to start daycare soon. Every day, Frankie brings joy to everyone they meet and has become a little comedian full of giggles.