Campbell River pulls together for baby Anabelle
Today marks a special milestone for Campbell River parents Danielle Girard and Yannick Duplain.
Their daughter, Anabelle, turns one-month old and their tiny baby, born three months prematurely, is fighting every day and getting stronger in the process.
Anabelle was due March 21 but couldn’t wait and was born at 6:54 p.m. on December 24 at 27 weeks gestation.
When she was born, Anabelle weighed just two pounds, seven ounces. Now she’s up to just more than three pounds and she’s starting to digest her mother’s milk.
“We hear all the time from the pediatricians and the nurses that A – she’s a good size for her age, which isn’t surprising because her sister was 10 pounds, two ounces, and B – that she is quite a strong baby,” says mom Danielle. “We love hearing that.”
Anabelle is also breathing on her own now, with the help of a C-PAP machine which periodically provides Anabelle with a puff of oxygen on her nose to remind her to breathe. Last weekend, Anabelle was able to come off the C-PAP for 40 hours before she needed the machine.
Danielle says steroid injections she was given in her hip prior to Anabelle’s birth are to thank for her baby’s healthy lungs.
“We were so fortunate we got all four (injections) in before Anabelle was born on Christmas Eve,” Danielle says. “That was a really good thing. That gave her a really good start. Her lungs were prepared because of the injections.”
The family is also seeing some good results with kangaroo care – two hour skin-to-skin sessions with mother and baby.
While Anabelle is thriving, it’s been tough on the family emotionally and financially.
Mom keeps a constant vigil over Anabelle at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster while dad and husband Yannick Duplain and Girard’s mother Yolande Girard take turns staying with Danielle and Anabelle. Danielle and Duplain’s two other children – Miko, 7, and Rosalie, 4 – have only seen their mom for a few days since Danielle was air lifted to hospital on Dec. 21 after going into early labour. They’ve yet to meet their new sister, as the neonatal intensive care unit is restricted to visits from only Danielle, Duplain, and Danielle’s mother Yolande due to the flu outbreak.
The situation has been hard on Danielle and Duplain who are both self-employed and are now unable to work. While Danielle is at the hospital, Duplain is either home in Campbell River looking after the children or he’s at Royal Columbian with his wife and new baby.
To help the family out, parents and staff at École Mer-et‐montagne, where Miko attends school and Rosalie goes to pre-school, are organizing two upcoming fundraisers.
The first is a community-wide garage sale to be held at the school on South Alder Street on Saturday, Feb. 1 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Donations of gently used items are being accepted from the community and can be dropped off in a bin at the school Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. All items at the garage sale will be sold by donation.
On Feb. 15, staff and parents from the French school will be bagging groceries at Superstore to raise money.
Those two events are the latest in a growing campaign to help the family, which began with a Facebook page, Blessing the Girard’s on the arrival of Baby Anabelle Girard Duplain, created by family friend Ludy Mennie. Since then, fundraisers have taken off and the family is overwhelmed by the outpouring of support.
“We, being self-employed, don’t get benefits, we don’t get time off, and neither one of us has been able to work in over a month and the truth of it is we can still care for Anabelle and our children back home after a month thanks to everyone’s generosity and only because of that,” Danielle says. “It really, truly is thanks to the community, friends and family across Canada. It’s what’s allowing us to survive right now.”
Danielle says she and her husband get emotional just thinking about all of the support they’ve received.
“It’s overwhelming and very humbling for us to accept all these offerings. How the community has come together is incredible,” Danielle says. “My husband and I never, ever imagined that this could happen.”
And there’s more good news for the family. Anabelle contracted a blood infection two weeks ago and after going on medication for a few days, the infection was gone. The tiny baby also underwent a blood transfusion on Jan. 12 for low hemoglobin counts which have already returned to normal.
“She’s just a little champ,” Danielle says. “We’re so proud of her.”
Brain scans have also indicated there’s no bleeding in Anabelle’s brain and no abnormalities. Danielle is confident her little girl will suffer no serious long-term damage as a result of her early birth; however, she’s expected to be smaller than her peers for the first few years and may take longer to reach the milestones that other babies her age will be reaching.
Danielle is a business leader with PartyLite, and she trains others to sell the products. As a leader, Danielle is required to meet a minimum quota each month or she loses her status with the company.
To help Danielle make her sales, which she is unable to do while at the hospital every day, a friend has set up a Facebook page where people can shop online for products. The sales will go towards Danielle’s quota for the month.
To help Danielle with her PartyLite sales, visit the Facebook page: Helping out an Amazing Partylite Leader!