Premature In a Pandemic | Marina + Fernando’s Story

August 26, 2021 • Story

In February of 2020, Marina and Fernando were delighted — and surprised! — to welcome beautiful twin babies. Though premature by 10 weeks and weighing 3.36 lbs, their son, Gabriel, was born healthy and able to go home. Luisa, however, spent the beginning of her life fighting to keep it. Born weighing an astonishing 2.17 lbs, Luisa was also born with severe pulmonary valve stenonis which required her to go through two angioplasties to open the valve and increase blood flow from her heart.

Having recently immigrated to Canada, Marina and Fernando entered into what should have been a joyous time of their lives, but was instead one that was filled with fear and uncertainty, without the support of nearby family members  and an established community to depend on. After three weeks of going back and forth to the hospital with one newborn at home, Marina recovering postpartum, and another child in the hospital undergoing life-saving surgery, the world shifted under their feet as COVID-19 struck in the Lower Mainland.

This further complicated Marina and Fernando’s ability to retain any kind of support to care for newborn baby Gabriel at home and Luisa at the hospital and, as a result, Fernando ultimately made the decision to quit his job to be present with his family as they faced the unknown together. After spending 84 days in the hospital, undergoing successful surgeries at one and two months old, and daily skin to skin time with Marina, baby Luisa was deemed healthy and was allowed to go home to be united with her family for the first time.

After BabyGoRound’s brief closure following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic here in BC, Marina and Fernando were one of the first families that we saw upon reopening and continuing to deliver our program. After learning their incredible story and being a mom of twins herself, this family’s experience landed significantly with our Executive Director, Lisa Brooks, who then helped to personally prepare their baby items and deliver them at their appointment.

“It feels like a parent gave these to us,” Marina shared with us, “I don’t have words to explain the surprise of the amount of things you covered. Everything had been so carefully thought of. I thought, ‘Who would have a double stroller to donate?’ BabyGoRound gave us matching cribs, matching blankets and put lots of care into making a twin gear package.”

“It’s like you thought of everything that babies and parents need — it felt like we had family here helping us.”

As an organization, we deeply value community and know first-hand of its special importance when families welcome babies into their homes. The emotional, financial, and physical challenges can be so overwhelming and we hope to be a place of safety, encouragement, and support to the families who access our services. ⠀

“To think about all the twins have been through… we are happy to see them playing and growing and meeting their milestones. It was the biggest dream of my life to have kids, to be a mom, I have always dreamed about it. It’s the biggest blessing. We are forever thankful for BabyGoRound and you will be a part of our lives and our babies’ lives. Fernando and I promise to help other people as much as we can like a way to give back to the world what you did for us, when we most needed it. We are trying to help other people in the ways that we can and will teach our kids to help others because we felt and we saw the importance of this.”

Baby Luisa continues to have check ups to ensure that her heart is working as it should and is doing well. Fernando was recently able to find employment and the family is working hard to find their footing once again after what has been the hardest year of their lives. We are so grateful to have met them, been able to provide support when most other means of help were not available to them, and to have been invited into their family’s story in this meaningful way.

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