1. The Thiel Family

2. Hailey

Taking the Financial Stress Away


My family has had incredible support from friends of children and I would love to share our story.

My name is Stephanie, I'd like to share our story and experience with Friends of Children to help others going through a difficult time and also to share awareness of this amazing organization.

In February 2016, my fiance Tyler and I found out we were expecting. After suffering two miscarriages in the past we were very excited to find out we had another chance. Everything seemed to be going well until we went for an ultrasound at about 19 weeks. We found out we were having a girl, but the ultrasound tech seemed to be holding something back. He asked us a couple of times to double check how far along we were. We had to wait to hear the report from the ultrasound from our OGBYN. The doctor told us that our baby was measuring a couple of weeks behind, which happens a lot but there was also an issue with blood flow. Along with that, my blood pressure was consistently and alarmingly high. He wanted us to go to Calgary for a second opinion. We went to the health sciences center attached to Foothills Medical Center. The specialist there told us that the outcome of the restricted blood flow and high blood pressure most likely was that our little baby was not going to make it past the next few weeks of the pregnancy. At first, they had suggested being admitted to the hospital at just about 21 weeks to be constantly monitored, but after discussing it further we decided to come back for weekly ultrasounds. Every week was the same thing, our little baby was falling further behind the growth curve because she wasn't getting enough nutrients from my placenta. Every week, she gained a little bit. Whether it was 80 grams or 100 grams, we took every growth we could. Every week, we were told that things were looking bleak. I was 27 weeks and 1 day when I was admitted to Foothills Medical Center after having our weekly ultrasound. I was given two doses of steroids to help our baby's lungs have a chance of working when she would be born. 3 days later, our sweet Hailey Michelle was born weighing 1lb 2.5oz via emergency c section. She was 27 weeks and 4 days but was smaller than a 23-week baby. She was immediately taken to the foothills NICU. We had a long journey in the NICU, battling typical preemie struggles. Tyler and I stayed at the Ronald Mc Donald House of Southern Alberta so we could be with her as much as possible. After 116 days, Hailey was finally able to come home, with constant oxygen therapy. She was about 5lbs when she came home but was over 4 months old. We had follow-up appointments through the Alberta Children's Hospital, for oxygen, cardiology and vision. Our weekly appointments eventually worked down to biweekly, then monthly, then every few months until we were able to get rid of Hailey's oxygen therapy when she was 1.5 years old. We had incredible support and still do from a lot of people. One place that gave us the most support was Friends Of Children. Without them, we wouldn't have been able to stay close to Hailey while she was in the NICU,  and they have continued to support us with travel costs for appointments.

Friends of Children is an amazing organization that helps so many families like my own. We are forever grateful for the help that we have received in our time of need.