There's a very tiny newborn at St. Joseph's that will carry a very large legacy with him through life. He is Joseph William Weir, named in honour of the hospital even before his birth, which came far too early. Even before he and his twin, James Patrick Weir, would need the expertise of the neonatal intensive care unit to survive. Even before their parents would experience and become so grateful for, the compassion, devotion and skill of those looking after them.
The story of little Joseph's name, in fact, begins many years ago - on June 15, 1977. That was the day his mom, Amanda, was born, also at St Joseph's, also too early. When Amanda became pregnant, she and husband Andrew knew she would give birth at St. Joseph's. They knew too that their twins would be born in the final year of the perinatal program, before the transfer to London Health Sciences Centre. What they didn't know was that it would be at 27 weeks gestation.
"Just before my second ultrasound at nearly 20 weeks, we were thinking of names,” says Amanda. "If they were boys, I thought of James, for my father, who passed away. My husband thought of Joseph as a tribute to the hospital because I was a preemie in the NICU, because our children would be born at the hospital and because it was the final year of the perinatal program."
During this ultrasound appointment, the couple learned that there were complications and that Amanda was at risk of delivering prematurely. She would spend the next three weeks on bed rest at home then another four weeks in hospital until the twins were born. They arrived on Jan. 8, 2011 – 13 weeks early - weighing a mere 2.5 lbs each.
Today James and Joseph are breathing on their own, growing and thriving. They are expected to go home in a few weeks.
"I thought they may need the NICU because they were twins, I just didn't know how much,” says Amanda. “We couldn't ask for better care. You can tell that the staff here are not just doing a job. Right from day one, I felt fortunate that our sons would have so many wonderful moms to care for them.”
Both Joseph and James will have a great story to tell about their early start in life and the namesakes they both carry. And St. Joseph's has a great story to tell too, about Joseph William Weir and the special place both he and his brother hold in the history of perinatal care.