Erin & Grace

Grace’s mother, Erin, describes her daughter’s story:

Special care for our daughter began early in my pregnancy. At my first ultrasound appointment at 19 weeks gestation, we found out our baby had developed a birth defect called Omphalocele – basically her intestines were on the outside of her body. From this point forward, I had weekly appointments with a high risk obstetrician at the Maternal Fetal Assessment Unit to closely follow the baby’s condition.

In March 2012, we anxiously welcomed our precious baby, Grace. She had surgery the day of her birth to repair the defect. Treatment for Grace’s case has required her to stay at the Janeway Children’s Hospital since birth, where she receives continuous feeds through a nasal gastric tube, and continuous nutrition via Hickman catheter (which was a surgical procedure to implant).

Grace’s recovery is certainly a slow and steady process. In time, Grace’s bowel will have healed and adjusted enough to sustain growth on her own, without the help of her Hickman or feeding tube, at which time we will celebrate by taking her home permanently. But for now we remain thankful that all steps are forward.  

I have driven back and forth to the Janeway every single day since Grace’s birth. We are very lucky to live just 20km away, but commuting 1, 2, and sometimes 3 times a day adds up. While rocking Grace one day at the NICU, the hospital social worker came to visit. She explained the Irving Oil Fuel the Care Program and offered me a gift card. I had never heard of the program before that day. I was so thankful and impressed that Irving Oil had such a helpful program in place. This really is a challenging time for me and my family and to know that others identify, empathize and offer help in some way means more than I can express in words.   

These gift cards help – they simply lighten the load. There are many stressors and sensitivities at this time, and the cost of fuel for our commute is one. Irving Oil’s Fuel the Care has reached out to our family and has relieved us in some way. Irving Oil has shown us that people care and that we have support - not just from our family and friends but from our community. Having just welcomed our first child, we are proud to raise a family in this community and share our experience with others.

From all sides of our heart, we thank you. We have great respect for Irving Oil’s efforts and spirit in supporting families who are faced with the challenges of caring for a sick child through the Fuel the Care Program.