Born premature at 26 weeks, weighing just 470 grams, Apple Tan’s daughter Brienne was the tiniest baby to ever come through the Regina General Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Tan and her husband Bryan Concepcion had been married for 15 years when she was diagnosed with uterine fibroids which would make conceiving very difficult. But shortly after that news, she found out she was pregnant with twins.
“When the babies were born I never even got to hold them, right away they were put into the incubators because they needed to breathe, they couldn’t breathe on their own,” Tan said.
“We were terrified, a lot of uncertainty, it’s just not the picture that I had in mind as a first-time mom,” Tan explained.
Even throughout all of the stress, she said it was comforting to know the doctors and nurses caring for her twins had access to the highly specialized equipment the Z99 Radiothon helps pay for.
When Brienne would stop breathing, which is common in premature babies, the equipment helped bring her back every time.
“She had quite the reputation in the NICU. They called her ‘tiny but mighty,’ they called her ‘the feisty one’ and ‘the little diva’ because even up until now she’s such a diva – so much personality in such a tiny package,” Tan said.
Sadly, Brienne’s twin brother Logan only lived 29 days due to a serious brain bleed.
“We feel that we’re still lucky that we were still able to have 29 days with him,” Tan said.
Although she was the smaller baby, Brienne did very well, spending 117 days in the NICU. She weighed seven pounds by the time she went home in November. Now, she is a healthy 14 pounds and still full of personality.
This year baby Brienne is the poster child for the 31st Annual Z99 Radiothon which kicked off at 6 a.m. Thursday at the Cornwall Centre. The Radiothon will run until 6 p.m. raising money for the NICU.
You can donate online at Z99.com or by calling 306-522- KIDS (5437) or in person at the Cornwall Centre until Friday.