Patient Story – Middleton Family
A Rewarding Journey is Not Always Easy
“The baby wasn’t crying or making any noises and I’m seeing it all …knowing what was happening and trying not to freak out,” said Myles Middleton, “But I can’t because she’ll freak out too.”
“I remember the nurses being really supportive when the team was taking the baby away. I remember them saying ‘Just let her see the baby, let her see her for a quick second,’” said Aline Middleton. “And that tiny little second where I got to see her helped as much as it could – given the crisis of the moment.”
On Valentine’s Day 2015, Aline and Myles began the tough and distressing journey of their daughter Layla’s birth. After experiencing a difficult pregnancy, Aline’s labour was induced by her Obstetrician, Dr. Ade-Conde, as her birth was deemed high-risk. The following day her long and arduous labour experience began. “I was in labour 31 hours in total from when the induction process began until the birth at 4:02 a.m. Monday morning,” Aline said.
During the delivery, Layla became stuck in the birth canal – this occurs when babies are unable to complete their journey through the birth canal to deliver. “She had stopped breathing and it was too late for a C-section. The doctor explained the options and suggested forceps was the way to go to get her out,” said Aline. When a baby gets stuck in the birth canal they can have a reduced oxygen supply. If labour isn’t progressing or the baby’s safety depends on immediate delivery, forceps can be applied to the baby’s head to help guide them out of the birth canal. “He explained what could happen with the use of forceps – marks or scars on the face and possible deformation of the head. We told him he makes the call,” Myles said.
After Layla’s arrival, she was immediately taken by the team to another room for resuscitation. “We couldn’t cut the umbilical cord because they took her right away. I remember being hysterical,” Aline said. “But she wasn’t gone for long and when she was brought back to us she was breathing.” Although the forceps left some bruising and marks on Layla, the quick action of the team on the Women and Children’s unit ensured the best outcome in her high-risk delivery. “I remember Dr. Ade-Conde and the nurses were fantastic. They told us everything they were doing and explained everything that could happen and what couldn’t,” Myles recalled.
Layla was cared for in CKHA’s Special Care Nursery in the days following due to feeding issues. “About 12 hours after she was born she wasn’t eating, so they admitted her to the nursery and hooked her up to a feeding tube. All of the suggestions for her to latch and to eat just didn’t work,” said Aline. The Special Care Nursery provides Level 2 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) services, allowing sick newborns to receive appropriate care closer to home.
“Little by little they were trying to get some food into her belly and it wasn’t staying …it was coming close to the weekend and we wanted to go home and take her with us,” Aline said. Myles and Aline were supported through CKHA’s Almost Home Program, which allows families to room-in with their baby in preparation for discharge with support from the care team. Due to some babies’ healthcare needs, parents may not have had the chance to room-in yet with their baby before leaving the hospital. At CKHA, families are encouraged to visit and participate in their babies’ care as much as they are comfortable with. After weaning Layla off her feeding tube, she was sent home with her parents and they were reassured of the continued support from staff. “All of the nurses welcomed the opportunity for us to call them. They made sure that we had what we needed and were very kind,” said Aline.
Layla received a referral from her Paediatrician for follow-up care in the community after leaving the hospital. “During the delivery process she fractured some of the bones up near her shoulder so they sent us to the Children’s Treatment Centre of Chatham-Kent. We went there to do some exercises and they said she would outgrow it and she did.” Aline continued, “So right now there’s no issues other than a scar on her head and she is thriving.”
Myles and Aline’s blended family were also welcomed to the Women and Children’s unit shortly after Layla’s birth. “The first day the kids wanted to be able to come here and be supportive, which I have to say the nurses were all fantastic with the visitors we had,” said Aline. It’s fitting that Layla was the first baby born on Family Day, February 16, 2015 in Chatham-Kent, as she is surrounded by a loving family and has five older siblings; four sisters and a brother. “They love looking after her and the boy, he has his own couple of moments with her too,” said Myles.
Making the choice to stay in Chatham, Aline and Myles considered the benefits of delivering close to home. “We thought about the timeline and convenience, as well as Dr. Ade-Conde being here,” said Aline, “there was a winter storm that weekend too and we wanted to keep stuff in our own community if we could.” While not a part of their delivery experience, the family was pleased to see the new changes to the Women and Children’s unit. The refurbished space now features a design of birds and trees in vibrant colours and different sizes. “When we walked back in there it was happy, all the colours and everything, it’s a happy floor. That’s what I thought when I saw the birds,” said Myles. He concluded, “I can’t say enough about the hospital. I’ve seen a lot of nursing care over 20 years as a healthcare practitioner myself – the care here was more informative and it was comfortable.”
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