Gene Warner, “Women & Children’s Cares for Ontario ‘Miracle Baby’—Shortage at Hospital Where Ava Was Born Necessitated Journey,” Buffalo News, July 02, 2009
One-week-old Ava Isabella Stinson — all 2 pounds of her — has made quite a dramatic entrance into the world.
First her birth. Last Thursday, her parents, Natalie Paquette and Richard Stinson, rushed to a Hamilton, Ont., hospital, where she was born 20 minutes later — more than three months before her due date.
She weighed 2 pounds 4 ounces at birth.
Then came another complication that doctors couldn’t treat — there was no room at the inn for Ava in the Hamilton area.
Lack of any empty beds in a neonatal unit in Hamilton’s McMaster Children’s Hospital forced authorities to prepare to take Ava across the border to Women & Children’s Hospital in Buffalo.
But an intense storm that afternoon grounded the helicopter, so the McMaster neonatal transport team brought her here by ambulance…
“It happens all the time,” Ryan said [Dr. Rita M. Ryan, Women & Children’s chief of neonatology]. “They have a certain number of NICU beds [in Southern Ontario], and sometimes they run out”…
When there are no beds available at McMaster, hospital officials look for other neonatal beds in Ontario. If none can be found, they look to the United States…
Ava’s story, with all its cross-border twists and turns, also remains a human one.
Stinson said he has found only one way to explain the whirlwind of events in the last week.
“I was an atheist,” he said in a lengthy phone interview from his Hamilton home. “Now I’m considering going to church and being a believer. There’s got to be someone up there who’s saving our little daughter.”
On Tuesday morning, Stinson got up and prayed for little Ava. That day, he and Paquette learned their baby had been taken off the ventilator the day before.
“That’s enough for me to be a believer,” he said…
“She’s the smallest baby in the world,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
And he’ll never forget the first time he saw Ava.
“The first thing I did was cry. Then I cupped her head in my right hand. Her head was way too small for my hand. I was talking, and she reached up and touched my finger”…
The whole experience has changed Stinson, and not only in a religious way. He also has a different view of Americans.
“The American people have been so awesome, I’d like to go back there and vacation,” he said…
“I’m just going to tell her she’s a celebrity — and a miracle baby.”