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Their teeny, tiny miracle
Erin Heard was around 25 weeks pregnant when she went into labour.
She was undergoing a routine gestational diabetes test when she started feeling lower back pain.
“I started getting what felt like contractions,” she said.
“I downloaded a contraction app on my phone and I quickly learned that my contractions were coming every three minutes.”
As the mother of two older kids, she remained fairly calm and drove herself to the hospital.
“I actually parked a block away so I wouldn’t have to pay for parking. I thought it would be like my other two kids,” said Erin of her seven-year-old son and five-year-old daughter.
But for Erin and fiance Jamie, this pregnancy and birth would be anything but routine.
Greyson was born on July 24, weighing just one pound, 14 ounces. He could have fit into his father’s hand, if he wasn’t covered in the tubes and ventilators that he needed to stay alive.
When he first arrived in the world, the baby didn’t breathe for a full 15 minutes. Doctors prepared the couple for the worst, saying they didn’t think Greyson would live.
But miracles do happen — “Greyson is living proof,” said Jamie, a first-time dad.
Greyson was rushed to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver and into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where he has spent the last five weeks.
So have his parents.
Erin and Jamie have remained by their baby’s side, and their world has turned into a day-to-day emotional rollercoaster as they fall in love with their tiny bundle of joy.
It was two weeks ago that both mom and dad got to hold baby Greyson for the first time.
“That was an amazing moment,” said Jamie. The proud papa has been keeping the Facebook world up to date on their journey, calling the public site “Greyson’s Page.” It already has more than 500 likes.
Not knowing if Greyson would make it through each day, Jamie has been on leave from his job at Target.
Erin didn’t qualify for maternity leave employment insurance because she wasn’t working at her job long enough. That means there isn’t any money coming in while the couple stay by their baby’s side, day and night.
Because Jamie doesn’t drive and Erin was told she couldn’t for the first few weeks after the birth, the pair were taking the bus into Vancouver. It took them two hours each way.
And because the couple is from Langley, which is within Metro Vancouver borders, they don’t qualify to stay at the Ronald McDonald House or Easter Seal House.
But Variety Club got wind of their situation and bought them some time at Ronald McDonald House, where they were scheduled to stay until Aug. 31.
But it will be at least three months until Greyson is allowed to come home.
“We can take him home hopefully on Nov. 6, which was Erin’s original due date,” Jamie said. That meant by next week the couple would be driving in from Langley, having to pay for tolls and gas along the way.
But the Ronald McDonald House just let the couple know that they are extended their stay until the end of September.
Erin has gone back to work once a week at White Sands Day Spa in Cloverdale to generate some income.
A week ago, Greyson had major heart surgery to close a valve that hadn’t fully formed. He now weighs three pounds.
He has been on life support but is a fighter, said his dad.
“He has been fighting the breathing machine. He’s like his mom, he likes to do it his way,” he said.
In the meantime, Erin’s other two children have been staying with their dad, full-time but are eager to be with their new brother. Everyone has been very supportive, they said.
To compound their stress, they need to find a new place to live. The current home they rent in Langley has mould problems in the bathroom. Although they have tried to mitigate some of it, they can’t take the chance of mould spores when they bring Greyson home.
They don’t know where they are going to find the money to rent a new place, they said. Erin is filling out paperwork for B.C. Housing.
If would you like to help out the O’Neills and support baby Greyson there are several fundraisers coming up.
One of two variety shows is being held at Townhall Public House on Sunday, Sept. 8. Come see celebrity impersonator Bonnie Kilroe and friends. Shows are at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 and come with a burger and beer. Tickets at the pub.
There is also a family fun day at Extreme Equestrian, 25039 8 Ave., on Sept. 22.
There will be pony rides, petting zoo, pig roast, all by donation for Greyson. Financial donations to help the O’Neills can be made at the Langley Envision Financial co: Baby Greyson O’Neill.