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‘It was like a bootcamp for us’: A birth story filled with opportunity

Bringing baby, Bethany-Kaye, into the world would be a roller coaster that the parents could never have predicted.
Rachel had experienced two miscarriages prior to getting pregnant in 2021. Dr. Shola Anjola, Obstetrician and Gynecologist, at Headwaters provided care following the miscarriages.

Tests were completed to try and determine what was causing the miscarriages and the next course of action. They discovered that Rachel’s blood coagulates (meaning it changes from a solid to a semisolid), which was likely the cause of her miscarriages. This could be treated by taking baby aspirin daily while pregnant. Dr. Anjola also suggested Rachel take medication to help her ovulate when trying to get pregnant.

When they found out she was pregnant for a third time it was a feeling of mixed emotions; scared of another loss but desperate to have a baby of their own. Rachel immediately reached out to Dr. Anjola who reassured her that he would help her bring the baby to term.

“I chose Headwaters because of Dr. Anjola,” said Rachel.  

Rachel also developed gestational diabetes early in her pregnancy and began visits with our Diabetes Education Centre.

“The entire Diabetes team were very helpful and knowledgeable. I felt like I was in good hands with them,” shared Rachel.

Stress tests were completed weekly leading up to the birth, which is where Rachel met Sherry, Registered Nurse on our Obstetrics unit. She shared her fears about being pregnant again after having experienced loss.

“Sherry was incredible. She spoke openly about her miscarriages and that she understood where I was coming from. She really made an impression on me,” said Rachel.  The Obstetrics team has bereavement packages for families experiencing a loss.

Due to COVID-19 visitor restrictions, Jonathan, could not accompany Rachel to her appointments at the hospital.

“I remember going in for my first ultrasound,” said Rachel. “It was really hard being alone as at the last two ultrasounds there was no heartbeat present.”

Jonathan waited in the parking lot. When Rachel walked through the Main Entrance doors and burst into tears, he turned to her and said, “No, not again.” Rachel explained that this time they were happy tears and they both cried.

Dr. Anjola had initially planned for Rachel to be induced but that quickly changed once he discovered the baby was breech; a matter only compounded by her gestational diabetes. A C-section was scheduled at week 38 in the pregnancy.

“When my daughter was born her oxygen level kept dropping, which is called desaturation,” explained Rachel through tears. “I knew something was wrong when they started hooking her up to machines and wheeled her out of the room before I even had a chance to see her.”

Rachel was sent to Day Surgery to recover from her operation and then to a room on Obstetrics. She was alarmed to not see her baby, Bethany-Kaye in the room when she arrived. The team explained that the baby was in the Special Care Nursery where they could monitor her oxygen level.

The team could not successfully stabilize Bethany-Kaye, and with no Neonatal Intensive Care unit onsite she would need to be transferred to SickKids Hospital in Toronto.

Headwaters transfers approximately 50 newborns to SickKids Hospital each year.

“At this time, I haven’t touched my baby. I haven’t even seen my baby. I went into a state of panic. I remember one nurse just holding me and consoling me as I cried,” shared Rachel.

Rachel was able to see and touch her daughter just before she was transferred to SickKids. As they were wheeling her down the corridor, they stopped at Rachel’s room and she was able to put her hand inside the incubator briefly and Dr. Seamus MacFarland, Pediatrician, was able to take a family photo.

After a short stay at SickKids, Bethany-Kaye, was able to be transferred to Brampton Civic Hospital, where Rachel and Jonathan were finally able to be with her. It took 16 days at the Brampton Civic Hospital to regulate Bethany-Kaye’s oxygen level.

“Looking back this experience actually became a blessing in disguise. Both Headwaters Health Care Centre and Brampton Civic Hospital were like bootcamps for us. We were with the nurses 24/7 and met with an Occupational Therapist. We learnt so much from them,” recalled Rachel.

Today, Bethany-Kaye, is a healthy baby and both mom and dad couldn’t be happier to finally have her home.

Photo caption: Family photo taken at Headwaters before Bethany-Kaye was transferred to SickKids Hospital.