Ryu Means “Fighter”
Just over half-way through her pregnancy, Randal Garcia was admitted to hospital for dangerously high blood pressure and preeclampsia. An ultrasound revealed that her placenta was not providing her developing baby boy with enough nutrients. In order to give him the best chance to thrive, her doctors hoped to get her son to at least 25 weeks gestation before taking him by C-section. Right on the 25-week mark, baby Ryu came into the world at the Foothills Medical Centre – thankfully, with a strong cry. Being born 15 weeks early meant that Ryu needed to immediately live up to the Japanese meaning of his name – “dragon strength” and “fighter”.
While the care they received was excellent, they had to navigate some very scary days. Ryu’s tiny lungs were still developing. He needed to be intubated for the first two months of his life in order to breathe. “Finding a breathing tube tiny enough for his irritated airway was a struggle,” explains his dad, Juan. “In order to safely extubate him, the best place for us was at the Edwards Family NICU at the Alberta Children’s Hospital so that pediatric ENT specialists could be directly and regularly involved in his care.”
In addition to respiratory concerns, Ryu kept his worried parents and the NICU team on their toes as he suffered a brain hemorrhage as well as a perforated duct in his heart. Thankfully, these issues resolved themselves without serious intervention. Understandably, it made for some sleepless nights.
“There were definitely moments when we weren’t sure which way things would go,” says Randal.
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Thanks to generous community support, a unique research initiative is underway in our city that has the potential to significantly transform maternal and newborn healthcare.Learn More
Ryu had a team of amazing NICU “aunties” along the way at the Foothills, the Alberta Children’s Hospital and Rockyview. These dedicated nurses always made the tired and stressed parents feel at ease when leaving him in their loving care for the night. After a total of 147 days in hospital, Ryu was able to go home with oxygen and feeding support. Today, he is breathing on his own and beginning to sample the world of solid food.
Randal and Juan will be forever grateful for the incredible support they received in those early days.
“We had no idea what we were in for when Ryu entered the world so early,” says Randal. “It’s so wonderful to know that brilliant researchers in our community recognize the toll that prematurity can have on parents and babies and are working to find ways to predict or prevent this from happening to other families in the future.”
Thanks to generous community support, a unique research initiative is underway in our city that has the potential to significantly transform maternal and newborn healthcare. Understanding the root causes and key contributing factors will not only enable specialists to better predict and prevent preterm birth, it will enable them to improve the health of babies born preterm and drive the development of innovations in care. Learn more.