Honouring Baby Ezra

Written by Ezra’s parents, Harpreet & Tariq

On July 13, 2021, I discovered the most amazing news of my life: I was pregnant with baby Ezra!

This was my first pregnancy, and it caught us by surprise! Nevertheless, I was excited and ready for this new journey. The first several months of pregnancy were challenging as I struggled with subchorionic hematoma, a pooling of blood surrounding the embryo inside the uterus. My doctor told me that if it worsened, there was nothing they could do to save my baby. My pregnancy journey became a nightmare. Finally, by the sixth month, the bleeding completely stopped. Baby Ezra was measuring perfectly, and my pregnancy progressed smoothly.

At 30 weeks gestation, I felt some pressure while getting ready for work. I didn’t think much of it, and I just continued with my workday. Around 2pm, the pressure grew. I called my hospital and was told to come in immediately.

It turned out I was having contractions and was 3 centimeters dilated. My baby was going to arrive 10 weeks early. Beautiful Ezra was born that evening at 9:04 pm.

Ezra was immediately rushed to the NICU. My husband and I were able to visit him anytime — but not at the same time due to COVID-19 restrictions. Ezra made great progress and started taking my milk — I was exclusively pumping, bringing my milk to NICU to ensure Ezra always had enough.

When Ezra was about a week old, there was a massive snowstorm. I waited for the snowplows to come so I could drive to be with Ezra at the hospital. While waiting, the NICU called to say Ezra had been throwing up and showing signs of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). We had never even heard of NEC. We were asked to come immediately to join Ezra so he could be transported to a more advanced hospital for surgery.

Due to the snowstorm, the transport was delayed, and it took them almost two hours to find an available bed at the new hospital. I started to panic. Seeing tiny Ezra all wired and strapped up to so many machines was heartbreaking.

We were terrified about NEC’s unpredictability – Ezra’s doctors were unable to tell us anything meaningful about Ezra’s chances of surviving surgery.

Around 10pm, Ezra’s surgery finally began. We were told it would take about 3 to 4 hours. Around 11:45pm, one of the doctors came into the waiting room and asked to speak with us. My husband and I looked at each other and thought to ourselves, They finished the surgery quickly, Ezra must be okay!

But we were taken to a low-lit room, where the nurses were looking down, and we immediately knew something bad had happened. The doctor shared with us that Ezra wouldn’t survive. The NEC had spread so fast that they couldn’t salvage any of his intestines. The only thing keeping our baby alive was the breathing tube.

Our hearts shattered into pieces.

We were escorted to a private room where we spent our final moments with Ezra. We removed Ezra’s breathing tube, and the nurses created keepsake impressions of his hands and feet for us to cherish forever.

The following week, we had a beautiful funeral for Ezra.

There are no words to describe our grief and the heartache that we carry with us, always. We have so many questions about Ezra’s experience with NEC, but they will likely remain forever unanswered. We are committed to redirecting our grief and love for our son to raise awareness about NEC. We are dedicated to honouring Ezra by helping the NEC Society improve outcomes for other babies, just like our sweet boy.

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