One hundred days, that’s the very longest a baby will stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Saskatoon’s Royal University Hospital (RUH). After that an infant will be transitioned over to the pediatric unit or celebrate a homecoming.
Kelly and Jason Keating say at one point they didn’t know when they would be able to take their son home or if he would even survive. During the second trimester of Kelly’s pregnancy, she was warned that because of a medical concern the couple’s baby would be arriving early and he did, too early.
“His due date was Jan. 1, 2014 but he was born on Oct. 1, 2013,” said Kelly Keating.
“He was born 15 weeks early and weighing only two pounds.”
Jaxson Keating was given just 48 hours to live.
“You’re trying to be the rock of the family and you’re trying to keep everything together and just trying to keep your life together,” said Jason Keating.
“It’s just seems to be crumbling before your eyes.”
The couple says the support of family and friends got them through their darkest hours and against all odds, their son survived.
“The NICU is not a place where you want your child to be but when your child is sick it’s the only place that you want your child to be,” added Kelly.
Staffed with a health care team of 180 people, every year more than 600 babies and their parents are cared for at RUH. Families say it is “the unit where the most miracles happen.”
“The people there are just amazing, the doctors are amazing, everyone there,” said Jason.
“It’s quite an amazing place.”
A little over a month into their journey, Jaxson’s parents would finally get to hold him for the first time. Every ounce gained by Jaxson would be celebrated and after a three-month stay at the NICU weighing five pounds, the Keatings were told they could take him home.
“One day we just went in and they said ‘I think we’re going to discharge him’ and I nearly fell over,” said Kelly.
Jaxson is now two and a half years old and his parents say life couldn’t be better.
“It’s fun, you’re seeing your son grow and be happy,” said Jason.
“We get to go and experience different new things and it’s everything you kinda hoped and dreamed for.”
According to the Keatings, Jaxson has met the majority of his milestones and they say it’s a true blessing.
They say at times little Jaxson can be a bit of a handful but …
“He’s just a very happy little boy, very adventurous and you couldn’t ask for anything better.”