A Journey of Hope + Gratitude

A NICU Father’s Perspective

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Casey and Rita Vilensky had not just one, but two children in the NICU at BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre. “Both our children were born premature, and both stayed in the NICU for three months,” explained Casey. The first was with son Dylan, who is now 11 years old, in 2012, and then again with daughter Emma, now age 9, in 2014.

“My wife had pre-eclampsia, and my son was delivered by emergency C-section. Dylan was only two and a half pounds, and was born with a grade four brain bleed,” said Casey. Two years later, history repeated itself. This time, Rita was admitted very early and spent more than a month in the hospital before she delivered Emma by C-section. “Emma weighed only one and a half pounds at birth. The good news was that she was a healthy preemie so things went smoothly.”

Casey recalls the rollercoaster of emotions during those NICU stays. “Every day was a mix of hope and fear. Seeing your child connected to countless tubes and monitors is something no parent should ever have to experience. But through it all, the NICU staff were our rock, providing not just medical care but emotional support.”

Today, although Dylan does have some neurological and developmental difficulties, both kids are healthy, active and happy in school. And while the experiences were very traumatic for Rita and Casey, they are both so appreciative of the great care their children received by NICU staff. “They have a really hard job, but they do it with so much caring and smiles on their faces,” Casey reflects. “We’re still close to some of the nursing staff, who have watched our kids growing up, and with other parents who were going through their own experiences at the same time as us.”

A few years ago, Casey started a fundraiser for the NICU with his business partner, also a former NICU parent. “We’ve done three of them now, and we’re happy to give back to BC Women’s NICU. You just never know how much you’ll appreciate a great facility like this until you go through something yourself.” shares Casey.

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