“Dr. Sally Kenawy saved our baby’s life. She will be in our hearts forever.”
At 35 weeks pregnant, Stefanie was alarmed when she started experiencing sudden pain in her side.
“I didn’t think I was in labour,” remembers Stefanie. “But we went to the Hospital to be safe.”
An ultrasound revealed that her baby was fine, but that Stefanie had 2 cysts on her left ovary that were possibly rupturing. Her care team admitted her to the Hospital with the goal of managing her pain for two weeks before delivering the baby by caesarean section. But her pain grew increasingly worse until it became unbearable. She was rushed to the operating room where her doctors helped her deliver a beautiful baby girl, five weeks before her due date.
“We were so happy,” remembers her husband Nuno. “We named her Serena.”
Dr. Sally Kenawy, the paediatrician on call, knew the family well as she was also the paediatrician for Stefanie and Nuno’s two sons. She congratulated the couple in the operating room, where everyone was celebrating Serena’s arrival.
Suddenly, Serena stopped breathing.
The team called a Code Pink and a NICU nurse named Shannon immediately started CPR. As a paramedic, Stefanie felt helpless lying on the operating table. She turned her head away. Dr. Kenawy took over CPR and Stefanie remembers listening to Shannon counting breaths. After seven minutes she said to Nuno, “It’s too late, it’s been too long.”
Dr. Kenawy continued CPR on Serena. And then, ten long minutes after she had coded, Serena’s tiny heartbeat returned. Stefanie was moved to recovery and Serena was moved to the NICU.
Four months later, Serena is a happy, healthy baby and is adored by her parents and her two older brothers Amadeo (3) and Sebastian (2).
“Dr. Kenawy was so resilient,” says Stefanie. “She knows our family. She takes care of us. She will be in our hearts forever. I have always admired her knowledge and competence with our boys, and I am so grateful that Serena’s life was in her hands.”
“I was there when Serena was born and now she’ll be in my care for the next 18 years,” says Dr. Kenawy. “I feel like I’m part of the family. I understand what they went through because we went through it together.”
Serena stayed in the NICU for eight days. On the night that she was discharged Shannon, the NICU nurse who had started the compressions that saved her life, was on shift.
“Serena had come leaps and bounds since the day she was born. It was a nice feeling to see her leave,” says Shannon. “I’ve always wanted to work in the NICU, and have dreamed of working in a place like Humber River Hospital. I hope Serena and her family have a great life.”