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Becoming parents has been an emotional roller coaster from the beginning for Ann and Denny. When Ann was eight weeks pregnant, she found out she was carrying triplets, but one of them had already passed away. At 13 weeks, the soon-to-be-first-time-parents found out one of the two surviving babies had a high chance of being born with a trisomy, including Down Syndrome. Testing revealed the baby did not have a trisomy, but did have an unusually large bladder and would be born with kidney problems. Ann had an emergency C-section at 33 weeks to deliver Parker and Emma. Just 48 hours after his birth, Parker was whisked away to the Alberta Children’s Hospital with serious intestinal problems. Surgeon Dr. Wong said Parker’s bowel was twisted and backward and that he’d need surgery immediately. Specialists took out Parker’s appendix and rotated his bowel to a normal position. He was also given a colostomy bag and, later, an ileostomy bag.
In the first six weeks of his life, Parker had four surgeries (three here and one at Stollery) and he only weighed 5 lbs. He was suffering from many things, including a heart murmur, a small colon and enlarged kidneys, which forced specialists to give him a pyelostomy – put holes in his back to allow him to pass urine. He later began bleeding and vomiting blood and it turned out he had a massive ulcer. With 15 different lines in her baby, Ann wondered if she was doing the right thing, making him go through all of this. Since Parker was not able to digest food, specialists started him on Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) – an excruciatingly slow process of introducing just a millilitre of milk per hour into his system through an NG tube. They began physically teaching his large intestine how to work and eventually, they could remove his ileostomy bag, leaving him with just the colostomy bag. His bowel was reconnected and his pyelostomy holes closed.
Though Parker’s journey is not over, the team hopes one day his system will be able to function properly without intervention. Ann is so grateful to the all of the different departments and specialists that have worked so hard to save Parker and make his quality of life as good as it can possibly be.