(Photography by Kevin Van Paassen)
What a difference a year can make.
The Fall 2018 edition of Sunnybrook Magazine featured a full-page photo of Navendu Dogra holding his son Arjan in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
“The photo is a hard-hitting reminder of the hope, and hopelessness, we felt every day having a baby in the NICU,” says Navendu. “We wanted to run away, and stay, at the same time.”
Arjan was born weighing 710 grams – less than two pounds – in Kriti’s 24th week of pregnancy. Reeling from the shock of having a micropreemie, the couple also had to care for their three-year-old son, Angad, as their extended family all live in India.
“Sunnybrook took care of me, so I could take care of my baby,” recalls Kriti, who would arrive at the hospital around 5 a.m. and stay late each night to be with Arjan. She recalls staff making his room as comfortable as possible, so she could pump breast milk and still manage to get a little work done.
Meanwhile, at home, their older son was having difficulty adjusting to the significant time his parents were spending at the hospital. NICU staff recommended bringing Angad to the hospital to visit Arjan.
Just minutes into his first visit, “he became a big brother,” says Kriti with a smile. Angad visited his brother regularly at Sunnybrook from that point on.
Arjan celebrated his first birthday on Feb. 2, 2019, and now weighs 7.2 kilograms (nearly 16 pounds). He is crawling, pulling himself up and talks animatedly. His favourite word is “Angad,” which he yells gleefully the minute his brother arrives home from school.
“I love this photo of us enjoying a day out together,” says Kriti. “There is so much joy and wonderful noise each day. Our lives are content and our family is complete. Thank you, Sunnybrook.”