Sharon's Story - North York General Foundation

Ali and Sharon with their twins Aurora and Adam, surrounded by the emergency team that saved the twins’ lives.

Sharon’s story

After a high-risk pregnancy that filled us with so much worry, we were blessed with our beautiful twins Adam and Aurora. They were born on December 12, 2018, healthy and strong — our gift for the holidays.

We took them home. Three weeks later, the twins’ coughing and sneezing started. Our older daughter Ayla had a cold so we hoped it would be something similar, just a few sniffles and nothing to worry about.

But things got worse, very quickly.

Baby Aurora was lethargic. I called my husband Ali to come home from work. We packed the twins in the car and took them to North York General — our community hospital. We knew something was wrong, but we didn’t know how bad it was.

The doctors and nurses in the Emergency Department took Aurora in immediately. When Dr. Targonsky assessed her, I saw a look in his eyes that I’ll never forget. I knew right then and there that something was seriously wrong. He called in one pediatrician, then a second pediatrician arrived. We heard the words Code Pink called over the PA system, the code for a life-threatening situation involving a child. Ali was staying strong, like he always does, but I could see that he was terrified — just like me.

Baby Adam was also sick, and I knew we had to admit him too, just in case. At that moment, Aurora’s condition went from bad to worse. Her breathing became laboured — she was struggling to get air. She was struggling to survive.

There must have been fifteen or so doctors and nurses swarming to her side – trying with every ounce of their being to keep her breathing. They worked together as a single unit – all focused on my daughter’s tiny body. They tried to intubate her – to help her breathe through a tube – but the tube made her throw up. And that’s when my 3-week-old baby girl stopped breathing and flatlined.

My world stopped. I was in shock. I watched as the team switched to manual CPR, desperately trying to get Aurora to take just one more breath.

Then Adam’s condition got worse — he was struggling to breath too. We heard the words Code Pink called over the PA system again. It was our worst nightmare come true. Two emergency teams were working simultaneously between two rooms — one trying to resuscitate Aurora, the other trying to keep Adam breathing.

It was a mass of people in blue and white, tubes, needles, paddles, machinery being rolled in and out. Everything was happening so fast, we didn’t have time to react or even think. Ann Shook, an emergency nurse, stayed by our side explaining what was happening to our babies.

That’s when we heard the most beautiful sound you could ever imagine. Aurora’s heart monitor started to beep again. The doctors and nurses were able to stabilize both our babies, helping them take in life sustaining oxygen.

We’re lucky beyond belief to have North York General in our community — and even more so to have such skilled and compassionate doctors and nurses caring for us. They’re heroes living among us. They saved our babies’ lives.

But they didn’t do it alone. Years ago, donors helped fund the equipment they needed to save the twins’ lives. We’re endlessly grateful for their support.

I didn’t know this at the time, but important pieces of equipment that were used to save Adam and Aurora, things like heart monitors and assisted breathing devices, are nearing the end of their lifespans and need to be replaced. The government funds many aspects of patient care, but it’s donors who fund new and replacement equipment, technology advancements and many other upgrades throughout the hospital.

After Adam and Aurora were stabilized, we learned that they had contracted an RSV infection — a common but sometimes life-threatening virus. Today is their birthday and they’re now one-year-old — healthy, strong and ready to celebrate the holidays with us for a second year, all thanks to the incredible team at North York General who did everything they could to save their lives.

If you feel inclined, your donation could mean improved care for another child, mom, dad or someone else in our community.

With my warmest gratitude,

Grateful mother