Salima’s NICU Story

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In her fourth month of pregnancy, Salima Dharshi started to feel pain in her neck. Concerned, she immediately went to the doctor who diagnosed her with a blood clot and prescribed blood thinners to save her life.

As scary as the blood clot was she was more concerned about her babies. Salima was considered a high-risk pregnancy because she was carrying twins, and during a routine ultrasound not shortly after, she learned that she was five centimetres dilated. Her obstetrician put her on bed rest and she stayed at Peter Lougheed Centre until she was 27 weeks. It was then when she went into labour that couldn’t be stopped.

She was immediately transferred to Foothills Medical Centre – whose skilled Labour and Delivery and Neonatal Intensive Care teams deliver the tiniest and sickest babies in Calgary. On November 4th a little girl, Inaya was born followed seven minutes later by her little brother, Ilaan.

Because they were so small, Salima didn’t get to see them right away. But around 2 a.m., after longing to get a glimpse of the babies she fought so hard for, she got to see them. “I was startled at first,” she said, “They were so small, they looked like little kittens.” The babies, only two pounds each, were the size of Salima’s hand.

When Inaya and Ilaan were first born, they were so fragile that it was necessary to keep them separated, each in their own incubator with tubes and monitors to ensure they were growing. However, when they were stable enough to be moved to Peter Lougheed Centre, they got to share an incubator, giving them time to be close to each other, something that can be very beneficial for twins who can benefit from each other’s strength. Their bond was so close that one day a nurse snapped a picture of them holding hands!

When the twins were finally ready to leave, the hospital had Salima and her husband come and stay with them for a few nights to be sure that they could be confident taking care of them on their own.

Now, Inaya and Ilaan are eight years old. They still have a very special bond with each other and their parents.

“Inaya and Ilaan bring so much joy to my life,” says Salima, “I can’t imagine what would have happened to them if it weren’t for the amazing healthcare we have here in Calgary.”

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