It's incredibly hard to hear that your newborn will need to go into open-heart surgery days after being born. For Kristal and Jermine Lightbourne, this news would mean travelling from Grande Prairie to Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton to ensure their baby girl, Jasmine, was growing well and would be ready for surgery days after she was born.
Jasmine was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) with Pulmonary Atresia. Babies with TOF have five different heart abnormalities that are typically corrected with surgery usually before they are six months old.
Within a week after being born, Jasmine had a complete repair of these abnormalities. For Kristal, it was hard to watch just days-old Jasmine recover.
"It was very difficult watching the recovery as she was just a few days old. She spent a few days in the PCICU unit and then went back to the NICU unit."
Because of COVID-19, Kristal and Jasmine were not able to access the services of Ronald McDonald House, who usually provides housing and meals for families with babies in NICU. This meant that the family was left to pay two rents on one salary as Kristal was ineligible for maternity leave. It would be a huge relief, in more than one way, to have Jasmine home.
Jasmine's vitals were strong enough for her to be discharged after spending a few additional days in the Cardiology ward. Kristal was delighted to take Jasmine home to meet her big brother, Joshua, and her grandmother who had come to visit.
However, Jasmine would be home for only a couple of weeks before having to be readmitted back to Stollery. Her surgery incision was not healing properly and looked to be getting worse.
After a debridement surgery to clean the incision and redo the stitches, Jasmine and Kristal spent another week in the hospital before they were discharged. After two months of living temporarily in Edmonton, Jasmine was finally ready to come home to Grande Prairie.
"She is enjoying being home. Joshua is still trying to get used to having another little one at home to share between his mum and dad. Overall, she has been doing well since the debridement."
We're so happy that we could help Kristal, Jermine, Joshua, and baby Jasmine during this incredibly difficult time. Of course, with an adorable face like this, it was hard to say no.