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Dance teacher Heather Murphy was having a fantastic pregnancy. Then at her 32 weeks checkup, she wasn’t really feeling the baby move. After a few tests, the doctor came back in the room and told Heather she was having her baby that day! Six weeks early! Baby Aubrey came into the world by c-section at the Peter Lougheed later that afternoon. Nurses flashed Heather and Ricky a quick glance at their new baby then rushed her away for tests. They suspected Aubrey had a blockage in her intestines and she would be moved to the Foothills. Heather remembers being relieved and thinking – well at least she’s not being taken to the Children’s. That means things are really bad. Sure enough, the plan changed and Aubrey was transported over to the ACH.
That’s where they soon met Dr. Anna Shawyer, who explained that things were a bit more complicated than they’d hoped. Aubrey had something called a duodenal atresia. It’s also called a “double bubble” and is a condition in which stomach is closed off from the lower intestine and contents can’t pass through. It happens in the early stages of development but never showed up on an ultrasound. With all usual scary thoughts running through her head, Heather broke down, but Dr. Shawyer reassured her that she was in the right place and that they would save her. So at just two days old, weighing just 4 pounds, Aubrey had her surgery to reconnect the two ends of her digestive system. They surgery was successful, but was really only the first step of her recovery.
The next priority was to get her bowel working properly – and able to accept food. They then embarked on a painstakingly long process of introducing a tiny amount of milk (less than a teaspoon over several hours) to Aubrey’s stomach. Aubrey took to her feeds a like a champ and by week three they tried her with a bottle and then attempted breastfeeding. There were a couple of setbacks with lots of vomiting, but she did turnaround, begin gaining weight and in just under a month, she was able to go home. Heather and Ricky felt very lucky – knowing how many babies are in hospital for much longer with similar conditions and were just grateful to have theirs at home to enjoy. And then, one day while Heather was making dinner, Aubrey stop breathing. Thankfully, Heather was right there, knows CPR and was able to revive her baby. They rushed her back to ACH where she remained for a couple of nights to assess the problem. Tests all came back normal and though incredibly frightening, they think it was just an apneac episode. Today, Aubrey is almost a year old and at 21 pounds, is obviously feeding just fine.
Heather can speak to the importance of knowing CPR when you have kids and how vital it is to keep your CPR skills sharp. When she heard that this equipment power hour is to purchase CPR feedback technology, she was very excited to take part.