Grayson’s Story: Life in the Palm of Your Hands

Photo credit: Charmaine Mallari Photography

Michelle and Gilbert (Gil) De Jesus haven’t had it easy.

The last two years have been filled with incredible challenges for the couple – but with every hurdle, they’ve become stronger, taking hard lessons and looking at them with gratitude. That’s how they feel about their experience at St. Boniface Hospital, where their son, Grayson, was delivered at only 27 weeks in January 2018.

All signs pointed to a healthy pregnancy. Lucia, the couple’s daughter, was excited to become a big sister. But on the morning of a memorial service for Gil’s 99-year-old grandmother, who had just passed away, Michelle woke up early and knew something was wrong.

Within an hour, the couple was at St. Boniface Hospital – Michelle was in pre-term labour.

By the end of the day, Grayson was delivered, weighing only two pounds, eight ounces. So tiny, that he fit in his father’s open hands.

Every year, 15 million babies worldwide are born too early. Michelle herself was born prematurely in 1980 and spent a month in St. Boniface Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). “It was a rollercoaster of emotions. Grayson’s unexpected birth came during a time when we were mourning the loss of a few loved ones. And I had to come to terms with the fact that he was a preemie and that I had been a preemie myself – it was a lot to take in,” Michelle said.

“He was born a week after our grandmother passed away and a week before the anniversary of my dad’s passing.”

Grayson spent three and a half months in the NICU before he was able to go home.

“A lot of the families and nurses in the NICU while we were there, they weren’t just patients and staff – they became really good friends,” said Gil.

“We like promoting the NICU and certainly how well they took care of Grayson – and how they took care of us. It’s not just about the babies – they take care of the whole family,” said Michelle.

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