“Your Daughter has Brain Damage”

What started as a typical pregnancy for Shyanne and Michael of Welland turned into their worst nightmare.

 Catarina poses for a photo.

MacKid Catarina

While giving birth at the local hospital in St. Catharines, Shyanne required an emergency C-section. When baby Catarina was born, she had trouble breathing.

“The nurse told me Catarina was going to be transferred to McMaster Children’s Hospital,” says Shyanne. “Not being able to hold my daughter was the most heartbreaking thing I ever experienced.”

Life-altering care

Catarina was diagnosed with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) – a type of brain damage caused by a lack of oxygen to her brain. She underwent specialized cooling therapy in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to reduce the risk of brain damage.

“It’s devastating to hear the doctor say that your daughter has brain damage,” says Shyanne. “We were told we won’t know the full extent of the damage until she grows up.”

More tragic news

Blood clots later formed around Catarina’s kidneys and raised her blood pressure, causing a seizure and damaging her eyes. Multiple blood-thinning injections were required to successfully eliminate the clots, but significant scar tissue developed around her eyes.

“It’s devastating to hear the doctor say that your daughter has brain damage.”

“Catarina’s retinas detached before reattaching on their own a couple of weeks later, but the vision in her left eye was affected,” explains Shyanne. “With continued support from the Ophthalmology Clinic, she is regaining strength in her left eye and now wears glasses to assist in her healing.”

The ongoing MacKid journey

After a two-month inpatient stay, Catarina attended bi-weekly outpatient appointments with a dietitian, rapid-response nurse, occupational therapist and vision therapist. Despite everything she has experienced, Catarina is currently meeting her milestones.

“At one of our growth and development appointments, we were told Catarina is quite advanced for a baby with HIE. We were very proud to hear that.”

Catarina will continue to visit McMaster Children’s Hospital for ongoing assessment and physiotherapy, but her parents are hopeful for Catarina’s future.

“We’re excited to watch Catarina grow and develop into the wonderful person she is destined to be,” says Shyanne. “We’re so thankful to the team that saved my daughter’s life and the lives of countless other children.”