top of page

Alexander

Updated: May 14

Alexander Benedict Coupal, born September 4 2022 at 30 weeks + 1 day weighing 4 lbs 4oz.

Even after our busy little bumblebee arrived, we were told that we will never know for certain what caused the early labor. I experienced bleeding intermittently throughout my pregnancy with Alexander but was assured every time the bleeding was outside the cervix and not concerning. Alexander was never in distress, both of our vitals were always good. I was admitted to JPCH at 29 weeks, 6 days pregnant due to another large bleed and contractions.


While my first birth at the Children’s Hospital was great, the circumstances surrounding Alexander’s arrival were less than ideal. My care team was not very supportive or communicative and it led to everyone being unprepared for Alexander’s birth. The doctor had just walked through the door seconds before the NICU team.


While the lack of communication led to the NICU team rushing to prepare their equipment, Alexander was placed on my chest. The same baby that I was told days earlier would be too vulnerable to be held after delivery; I would only get to view him briefly inside the isolette before he went to the NICU was on my chest. The mixed emotions I felt are inexplicable. “He’s having trouble breathing.” The NICU team worked quickly.


Thankfully, with a little assistance, Alexander’s lungs were OK and overall he was a healthy baby.

When I arrived at his room the morning of September 5, a woman came to the door, it was straight to business… “The NICU is over capacity and your son is being sent to Regina, the plane leaves in half an hour.” I was in absolute shock. I went from thinking I’d get to hold my son to saying goodbye. I burst into tears – my husband works, we have a toddler, I don’t drive, we don't know anyone in Regina, my baby will be alone!

From the doorway, the woman simply said “everyone has their burdens, this one is yours.”


At 1 day old, Alexander took his very first flight.

During our time at the NICU in Regina our son received fantastic care and was making incredible progress. We learned he had a level 2 brain bleed and within days the brain bleed was downgraded to a level 1. He received light therapy for jaundice and was on CPAP for air pressure. By September 16, at 12 days old/ 31 weeks 6 days gestation, Alexander was wearing clothes and the roof taken off his isolette! He was thriving!


With the help of the Regina Hospital staff, on September 21 Alexander was sent back to Saskatoon! Upon repatriation, they reversed almost all the progress Regina implemented because it didn’t align with their timeline and protocols for care.


We were back to Square One.


This little guy was determined from the get go though and while he had a few hurdles to overcome along the way, most of our complications during our NICU stay were thankfully not health related. Alexander was so strong and resilient through all of it, and after 58 days in the NICU, our baby came home!

1 feisty preemie baby

4 ambulance trips

2 plane rides

2 NICUs

8 care providers

58 days

83 other Beads of Courage

and…

1 TRIP HOME!!

November 1, 2022

Welcome home Bumblebee

The BEST Facebook update I’ve ever shared!


It was wonderful having him home! Alexander was delayed in his gross motor skills and ate small meals frequently. At the peak of his frequent feeds, he was eating an average of 14 times in 24 hours. His JPCH team was not concerned because his weight gain was always good. Finally, exhausted and exasperated I asked his pediatric dietitian about fortifying his formula. I was told it’s normally only done for children who need help with weight gain but it couldn’t hurt to try! It helped!! He was finally able to get some solid sleep (and so was I).


At 6 months old (3.5 months adjusted) Alexander still needed support with his head. It was a strange feeling to be “stuck” in the newborn phase for so long.

Alexander started physiotherapy and occupational therapy through JPCH after his 6 month appointment. We learned they were monitoring for Cerebral Palsy and at one year old, his doctor made the official diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy and we were referred to the Alvin Buckwold Child Development Program. Alexander is eager to learn and receptive to his therapy sessions. He currently attends physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy, as well as sees a feeding therapist & pediatric dietitian. The medical social worker has also been wonderful to work with and help us understand all the resources available.


Alexander has been fitted for braces/splints and is making great progress in his gross motor skills. Initially it was thought his Cerebral Palsy would be a Level 3 or 4, but when he met with the ABCDP developmental pediatrician she is more hopeful of a Level 2 or 3; however she said she would not diagnose the severity until his 2 year appointment. His speech language pathologist is monitoring for autism but is not ready to request testing yet. Alexander is making connections and can say some words. He loves to sing and dance so he learns the words and motions to songs the fastest. Ms. Rachel, Danny Go! and Laurie Berkner are very popular in our home.


Alexander is still on a liquid diet. We are now in the process of transitioning to Pediasure and we are still hopeful he will eat food one day. Progress has been very slow and at times frustrating for both of us. He wants to eat food, he’s excited to see the food and wants to eat it! To know he wants this skill, something that most of us do with such ease, and yet he struggles with no clear explanation where the disconnect is can be disheartening. The smile quickly returns to his face though and it’s hard to stay down around such a happy boy.


Our journey is just beginning. We don’t have a full picture yet, some days we grieve for the things our son may miss out on. Toxic Positivity has been rampant from people during the past two years. I struggle with people’s comments in that regard but I’m learning to be more vocal about it when needed and to let it roll off my back when it’s not worth the energy.


Alexander is a very happy boy. He loves to explore and play with his sister, who is hands down his biggest fan and she is amazing at including him in activities. He can army crawl throughout the house and loves to be outside.


Preemie… Cerebral Palsy… Autism… whatever may come he is absolutely a blessing from God and brings so much joy to our lives. Alexander truly is a Little Wonder.



Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page