At the 31st Annual Z99 Radiothon the heartwarming stories continue to pour in from families of babies who needed the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), proving that these donations truly do help save babies lives.
As of 10 a.m. Friday morning the total amount raised hit $173,872.
All of the money goes to buy life-saving equipment for babies like eight-month-old Kaci Johnson, who spent her first 104 days in the unit.
Kaci is Kim and Kal Jonson’s first child. The pregnancy was progressing along well, but around the 20-week mark, Kim said things took a turn.
“At 20 weeks they found on my routine ultrasound that I had a shortened cervix and that I’d need a cerclage,” she explained.
A cerclage is when a surgeon places stitches in the cervix to hold it closed to help prevent either a late miscarriage or a preterm birth.
So at 21 weeks, Kim had a cerclage put in.
“The surgeon was pretty certain that everything was good at that point and that I’d be able to carry (Kaci) ‘til at least 36 weeks,” she said.
But Kaci had other plans. About six weeks after Kim’s cerclage procedure she went into labour in Kincaid, which is two and a half hours outside of Regina.
“Kal got me to Moose Jaw where they were able to stop labour, (they) put me in an ambulance and brought me into Regina. They did all they could here in Regina for another 10 days and (then) she was delivered,” she said.
Kaci was born in critical condition and needed surgery so she was immediately placed in the NICU.
“It was a couple of hours later that she was stable enough for me to go and meet her so we did and everything was still going pretty good, until about day four,” Kim said.
That’s when doctors found Kaci had a blockage in her bowels. Doctors would do a quick bedside surgery and replaced a drainage channel in Kaci’s bowels.
Kim said it was so quick and just a blur from when they were told Kaci needed surgery, signing the consent forms, to Kaci’s recovery after surgery.
“I just remember sitting in the chair and waiting and watching. I had a couple of really good nurses, they sat with me, I sat there and cried and cried and they sat there with me the whole time, it was phenomenal,” she said.
Unfortunately, Kaci had to go in for a second surgery. Doctors thought the drain had done the trick, but over the next few months, Kaci’s stomach got bigger and more bloated.
“On September 7 (doctors) did a huge surgery along her bowels. They thought there was a bigger blockage or a hole in her bowels,” Kim said.
When the surgeon got into Kaci’s abdomen, he found a buildup of scar tissue, a piece of encapsulated stool and a hole in her colon.
On the morning of Kaci’s surgery, Kim said it was amazing to meet all the people who would be working on her daughter.
“It’s something that you think you have yourself ready for, or you think you’re prepared for it and I remember them wheeling her away and it was Karly, (a nurse), who picked me off of the floor, cause I collapsed, I melted,” she explained.
Kim said it was rough not knowing if they were going to be able to take their baby home.
“We had talked to a couple of other parents and nurses and they said the best thing was to try and leave the hospital while she was in surgery, just to try and get my mind off of it a little bit. It was the longest two and a half hours of my life,” she said.
But then Kim got the call that everything was alright. After 104 long days, Kaci was able to come home.
“(It was) overwhelming. I didn’t know what to think, am I ready to take her home? Am I ready to be a mom without all of these nurses and doctors with me at all times? We had so much support,” she said.
Over the last eight months, Kim said they’ve kept in touch with a lot of the nurses from the NICU and called on them a few time after bringing Kaci home.
“They are all angels, I don’t know how they do it,” she said.
Kaci has one more surgery for an incisional hernia.
People can donate to the Radiothon at Z99.com, by calling 306-522- KIDS (5437) or in person at the Cornwall Centre until Friday.