Donor Profile: Meet Carol
Monthly giving is a wonderful and easy way to ensure consistent funding is available to Children’s Hospital. For Carol of Brandon, it’s also a great way to say thanks.
On October 3rd, 1973, Carol was in Swan River, admitted to hospital on strict bed rest.
“My unborn baby and I were in huge trouble,” remembers Carol. “I had been having heart palpitations and other symptoms. Back then they didn’t have baby monitors to check if the baby was in distress, but I was definitely in distress.”
On the afternoon of December 23rd doctors decided it was time to get the baby out. After an intense labour Carol’s son Danan was born.
“They didn’t even check to see if it was a boy or a girl because they were frantically trying to get him to breathe,” remembers Carol. “He was purple and I could tell that his head was misshapen from the delivery. They couldn’t get a decent heart rate, and Danan was placed in an incubator on the morning of the 24th. It was a horrid day.”
By that evening the baby still wasn’t breathing properly and the decision was made to get the newborn into Winnipeg and the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) at Children’s Hospital.
“It was Christmas Eve when the ambulance drove from Swan River to Winnipeg in an ice storm,” says Carol. “I wasn’t allowed to go because I had to stay in the hospital, but my husband went along with the baby – who I never even got a chance to hold.”
A doctor was waiting at the doors of Children’s Hospital when the ambulance arrived. Probes were attached to the tiny newborn’s head and electrical impulses got every organ in his body started.
“My mom and I were still in the hospital in Swan River and we just kept checking the clock,” recalls Carol. “I hoped and prayed that I would see my baby again, but I was told we would be lucky if he lived 72 hours. So for three days, we counted hour by hour.”
Carol was soon allowed to leave the hospital and recover at home in Swan River, but her thoughts were with her baby boy in Children’s Hospital.
“My husband called us Christmas Day and we were so relieved to hear that Danan was still alive and it looked like they were bringing him out of his distress and regulating his breathing,” remembers Carol. “It was a miracle.”
By New Year’s Day Danan was breathing on his own, and once he got his organs going everything seemed to be just fine. Carol can easily recall the excruciating pain of waiting to hold her baby.
“On January 2nd he was finally on his way back to Swan River,” says Carol. “My mom moved my chair right up to the kitchen door so that the moment my baby came home he could be in my arms. We didn’t have cell phones back then so I didn’t know exactly when he would be there. It was so emotional. I finally had my baby.”
Amazingly, Danan suffered no long-term effects from his difficult start. After monthly and semi-monthly checkups for a year, Danan was deemed as healthy as any other 1-year-old child.
Although Carol herself never spent time in Children’s Hospital she is deeply grateful.
“I give monthly to the Children’s Hospital because NICU gave me a miracle,” exclaims Carol. “I thank God for them every day. I cannot explain how important NICU is to me and my life. Children’s Hospital means the difference between life and death for so many babies.”
Carol’s daughter Brenwyn also had a challenging pregnancy with her son Ryder who was born 7 weeks premature and weighed just 3.5 lbs at birth. Born in Minnesota, Ryder spent one day in an incubator and was then in the NICU for 2 weeks. Ryder is now almost 12 years old and doing great!
“I got a request in the mail from Children’s Hospital asking me to be a donor, and I thought if there’s anyone who needs to be grateful that there are NICU’s in the world it’s me and I signed right up,” says Carol. “Even all these years later I tear up just thinking about how close we were to losing my little boy.”
Carol also makes blankets and clothing for the babies in the hospital. It is a labour of love to give back to the place that gave her so much.
“Even though you are not the only person with a child in jeopardy, Children’s Hospital treats your child as if they are the only one,” says Carol. “I can’t express enough how important that is to a new mother whose baby is hanging on by a thread. I don’t think there are actual words that a person could say to express the gratitude you feel for these amazing people.”
With her monthly donation, Carol is able to express her gratitude and support in a way that the Children’s Hospital can depend on to ensure more babies get to come home.
“Without Children’s Hospital my baby would have been a statistic,” says Carol. “NICU gave my baby back to me – and how can you thank somebody for that?”
Please consider becoming a monthly donor like Carol. You never know when you or someone you love will need the Children’s Hospital.