Driving in from Chatham, Ontario, for her monthly prenatal appointment with specialist Dr. Renato Natale, Angela Pestowka never imagined just how much her baby would need St. Joseph's.
Angela, born with a kidney disease that can cause complications in pregnancy, made the hour-long drive to St. Joseph's each month. But 28 weeks into her pregnancy, one of these routine check-ups would turn into an unexpected and prolonged stay at the hospital.
Angela was admitted immediately when tests found a reversal of flow in the baby's umbilical cord. Three days later, Arden Estelle Pestowka was born by caesarean section. Whisked to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), Arden became one of 600 babies cared for in the unit at St. Joseph's each year. "The staff here are amazing," says Angela. "The nurses are incredibly supportive during such an overwhelming time."
Families from across the province find a second home amongst the incubators and machines that help their babies grow. Many find strength and comfort in the nurses who care for their tiny bundles. "We become like a second family for a lot of these parents," says care coordinator Betty Steer. "You can't help but become attached to the babies and their families."
For Angela and her husband MIchael, the surprise experience has filled them with appreciation for their daughter's care team. "Everyone from the doctors to nurses are always keeping us informed," Angela says.
As friends and family prepare for Arden's homecoming, Angela can't take her eyes off her sleeping newborn as she watches for every change. "I'm already noticing her legs are getting a little chubbier," she says smiling, knowing her daughter is in the safe, caring hands of St. Joseph's.
More than 100 years. More than 100,000 births.A Legacy of Life and Love
Countless stories of life and love. This is the tremendous legacy of care for women and newborns at St. Joseph’s Hospital in London.
In the spring of 2011, St. Joseph’s obstetric and newborn care program will be moving to London Health Sciences Centre as part of health care restructuring in London. This is an historic transition and we invite you to share in the send off.
Everyone who was born, gave birth and provided care at St. Joseph’s has a story – and together your stories tell of a legacy that can’t be described in words alone.