Shannon Daae wants everyone to know how the physicians and staff at St. Joseph's Hospital saved her life, and the life of her six-year-old daughter, Shaya.
Their remarkable story led to Shaya becoming the Face of the Radiothon fundraiser – a 12-hour benefit organized by Golden West Broadcasting for the St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation. The foundation will use money that is raised to purchase medical equipment for the hospital.
This is the first year that the foundation has selected a Face of the Radiothon. And Shannon has been sharing Shaya's experience, as well as her own.
Shannon and Shaya's story started on February 8, 2008. Shannon was 29 weeks pregnant; it was the first child for her and her husband, Michael. The pregnancy had been normal to that point.
She was scheduled for a glucose test that morning, but she woke up suffering from the symptoms of a fever. She was also feeling weak.
“The hospital agreed that I should probably just cancel (the appointment),” she told Lifestyles.
Shannon and Michael were in Estevan already when the appointment was postponed, and her condition continued to worsen. So the Daaes went to the hospital, where Shannon was hooked up to a monitor.
She found out that she was having contractions equivalent to 10 per cent of labour.
Physicians initially diagnosed Shannon as suffering from a bladder infection. She was told to return to the hospital later in the evening for an assessment.
Her health didn't improve as the day progressed.
“By the time we got to the hospital later that night, I was in the final stages of labour, and when the on-call maternity doctor came, he said 'We have 10 minutes,'” Shannon recalled. “Sure enough, in 10 minutes, Shaya was born weighing two pounds and 12 ounces. She was 11 weeks early.
“And she tried to cry right away. But then her heartbeat stopped. I remember, at that point, all I could say was 'It's in God's hands.'”
Shannon watched as a nurse administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Shaya. Tears flowed down the cheeks of the nurse, who was relentless in her efforts to revive Shaya, Shannon said.
“A couple minutes later, Shaya revived again, and they quickly put a ventilator into her lungs, and hand ventilated for about four hours until the ambulance could come from Regina with the NICU (neo-natal intensive care unit) team,” said Shannon.
The ambulance's progress was slowed due to blizzard.
At the same time that the physicians and nurses were reviving Shaya, Shannon's health was deteriorating, as she was hemorrhaging. Shannon needed a transfusion of about five units of blood to survive.
“I just remember there were about six doctors and nurses in the room – three on Shaya and three on me – and they just did such a good job keeping the atmosphere calm and peaceful,” said Shannon.
“I never felt any panic when I was in there. It was just so quiet and calm. And organized. I was really impressed with that.”
A placental abruption caused the premature labour. Shannon said normally a baby born from such an abruption is stillborn. But a piece of placental stayed attached when Shaya was born, allowing her to stay alive. It was also the cause of Shannon's bleeding.
“They had to act really fast and give me a D&C (dilation and curettage),” said Shannon. “The doctor said that it normally takes 10 minutes to do a D&C, but because of profuse bleeding, it took an hour and 15 minutes.”
Shannon said a team effort by the doctors and nurses allowed her and Shaya to survive.
“God really worked a miracle through them that night,” said Shannon. “They just did such a good job. They acted tirelessly.”
Shaya was transported to hospital in Regina, and spent the next two months in the NICU. Shannon remained in the intensive care unit in Estevan for two days, before being taken to Regina.
Then she remained in Regina to be with her daughter.
Six years later, Shannon said that Shaya is a healthy and a happy girl.
“There's not one sign that she was even premature,” said Shannon. “She's just bright and healthy and happy.”
Shaya has to go to Regina for check-ups. When she was two years old, physicians remarked that they were amazed with her development.
Shannon's doing great, too. The family has grown to include two more children. And Shannon is doing what she can to help promote the hospital, its staff and the foundation
“We wanted to help out in any way that we could, and we also do want to give back to help the hospital, for how much they helped us,” said Shannon.
When the foundation first asked Shannon if Shaya could become the face of the Radiothon, it was something that Shannon knew they had to do. It's a little bit outside of her comfort zone, she said, but she'll support the hospital and its foundation in any way she can, because of the efforts of the staff that one night six years ago, and the equipment the doctors and nurses had at their disposal.
“The hospital may not have had the equipment that it needed to save our lives (without the foundation),” said Shannon. “We're just so thankful.”
The radiothon will run from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the 19th, and it will air on Golden West's local radio stations. There will be updates on the fundraiser throughout the day, and testimonials from Shannon, Shaya and other people who have benefitted from the hospital's life-saving work.
Proceeds will be directed towards the foundation, which purchases much-needed capital equipment for the hospital.