Bryan and Sarah Argue were excited first-time parents eagerly anticipating the birth of their first daughter. After an uncomplicated and normal start to Sarah’s pregnancy, she tested her blood pressure at 19 weeks and found it to be abnormally high. An ultrasound at 21 weeks indicated that Sarah and Bryan would likely have a premature baby. As new soon-to-be parents, this is the last thing they wanted to hear and they quickly turned to research to try and understand what this could possibly mean. However, nothing could truly prepare them for what it meant to have a premature baby. Bryan and Sarah were in shock.
“What is this going to mean for our child? For us as parents? It was a scary time with so much information to try and take in.” – Bryan Argue
They were told to aim for the best but prepare for the worst. Sarah was put on modified duties at work, then modified bed rest with many nights admitted to the hospital. After many ultrasounds, blood pressure testing, medication and ultimately being an in-patient at the Foothills Medical Centre, baby Zoey arrived at 29 weeks, 4 days. Zoey weighed 1080 grams or 2 pounds 4 ounces. After an emergency C-section, Zoey came out crying and was a fighter from the start. Zoey spent a combined 59 days in the NICU at Foothills Medical Centre and eventually at the South Health Campus where they could be closer to their home.
Their first couple of days in the Foothills Medical Centre NICU were a blur. It was overwhelming with so much information coming at them and it took two to three days for them to fully comprehend the gravity of the situation. It was the clinicians, nursing team and fellow families that helped them through the emotionally draining experience of having a NICU baby. The nursing team helped to break down all the information and they found the nursing staff to be as invested in Zoey as they were.
Today, Bryan and Sarah give back to this community through their involvement in the NICU Parent Advisory Council Team. It is important for Bryan to lend the Dad perspective and to support other families currently experiencing what they went through.
“The focus is not necessarily on the father, and as dads, we experience a different but equivalent stress.”
In Bryan’s case, he worked long days, to spend the evenings in the NICU and repeat the next day. It was an exhausting roller coaster of emotion for both Dad and Mom. However, often the support, understanding and empathy is still not evident in the work place which makes it difficult to juggle and often leaves dads burnt out at the end of their journey. Offering support through their volunteer involvement will hopefully help fellow dads in need of allies.
“Your donations to this campaign are going to be a great resource that is so needed to support families. You are helping to shape lives. To shape the future.” – Bryan
“To the staff, thank you for being the unsung heroes. NICU staff do such an incredible job. A huge thank you for being the champions for so many little lives. The NICU staff should be celebrated and we are forever grateful.”