Like all parents, Sarah and Trevor Topilko, from Edmonton Alberta, were looking forward to starting a family.
Unforunately, though, Sarah’s pregnancy took a horrific turn when she was diagnosed with a life-threatening pregancy complication called HELLP syndrome.
Sarah’s organs started to fail and she was immediately sent to intensive care for surgery.
But it wasn’t just Sarah whose life was in danger — her baby was delivered just 27 weeks in the pregnancy.
The boy, whom they named named Connor, was so small, he only weighed 2 pounds, 1 ounce (900 g) and could fit in the palm of your hand.
Thankfully, Sarah survived the emergency operation.
When she finally saw Connor, she broke down. He was surrounded by hoses going in and out of his tiny body.
“They wheeled me up in my wheelchair and I was still very weak. I finally stood up and saw him in the isolette. My knees just dropped out from underneath me,” Sarah says. “Luckily, the nurse had the wheelchair underneath me.”
But it wasn’t just any nurse who caught Sarah.
Nurse Gwenn O’Neill works at the Royal Alexandra Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit and takes care of her patients as if they were her own children.
She also looked over little Connor during the 65 days he stayed at the hospital.
Sarah says that nurse O’Neill helped normalize the situation for her and her husband during the stressful time.
She even knitted tiny outfits for Connor since stores don’t stock baby clothes that small.
And nurse O’Neill even made holes in the outfits for all of Connor’s tubes.
“It was probably the most wonderful gift anyone could have given me,” Sarah told Alberta Health Services.
Two weeks after Connor was born, it was Sarah and Trevor’s wedding anniversary. But in the midst of all chaos, the couple hardly thought about celebrating.
Nurse O’Neill, however, had other plans.
She urged the couple to leave the hospital for a while, and she booked them a restaurant so they could go out and some time for each other.
Nurse O’Neill, of course, stayed behind and kept a watchful eye over Connor.
“Without Nurse O’Neill, it would have been very different. Gwenn went above and beyond her job; the way she made us feel. She made us all come together as a family,” Trevor says.
Thanks to nurse O’Neill’s support and expertise, Connor grew stronger by the day. Then one day two months later, he was strong enough to go home.
Now four years later, Connor is as healthy as his peers.
But the Topilko family hasn’t forgotten what nurse O’Neill did for them, so they decided to surprise her at the hospital and thank her!
Little Connor, now full of life, gave her a bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates that weighed as much as he did when he was born: 2 pounds, 1 ounce.
Check out the surprise visit below and keep an eye on nurse O’Neill’s reaction! So heartwarming!
Spending time in the hospital is never fun, but people like nurse O’Neill make it possible to feel hopeful when life seems to be at its worst.
Despite the long hours, low wages, and stressful working conditions, nurses are always there to make us feel better and protect us if anything happens.
A big thank you to nurse O’Neill and all the other nurses out there who treat their patients like members of their own family.
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