Relieved parents have a little Faith

Premature baby born on Cayman Brac is named after Faith Hospital

A disturbing dream about twisted
fingers and twitching hands woke seven-months’ pregnant Faye Tassioulas in the
early hours of Saturday, 31 July on Cayman Brac. Then she had a violent seizure.

Her next memory is of waking up in
hospital in Grand Cayman that night and being told by Andy Zaremba that they
were now parents to a baby daughter.

Unconscious following an eclampsia
seizure, she missed a frantic dash to Faith Hospital on the Brac, an emergency
Caesarean section in which her baby was delivered, and an air ambulance ride to
the hospital in George Town.

On the morning her baby was born,
she woke up around 4.30am. “I was having a dream that my hand was twitching and
my fingers were growing and twisted. I woke Andy up and said “I’m having a
seizure”…

“After that, the next thing I
remember is waking up here [in Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town] on
Saturday and Andy told me the news that I had a daughter. He said he’d named
her Ella Faith and said he hoped I was happy with that. We’d already discussed
the name Ella and her middle name is Faith after Faith Hospital on Cayman
Brac,” she said.

The couple, both 31, had been on a
“babymoon”, taking a three-week holiday from north Vancouver, Canada, to stay
at Ray and Karen Zaremba’s home on the Brac. The mother-to-be had been given
the go-ahead by her doctor to travel because she was fit and healthy and she’d
had a trouble-free pregnancy.

She said she first began to feel
ill during an overnight visit to Grand Cayman a few days before she gave birth,
but had been diagnosed with a urinary tract infection.

Mr. Zaremba filled in the blanks of
what happened while Ms Tassioulas was unconscious. “She went into a full
seizure. I protected and supported her while the violent shaking was happening.
After she relaxed a little bit, I told my parents we needed help. Luckily, they
were home, they were due to leave the Brac on the 6.30am flight that morning.”

With his parents’ help, he carried
Ms Tassioulas to their car, placed her in the back and drove to the Faith
Hospital.

As soon as they arrived at the
hospital, the pregnant woman was taken into emergency care and treated by Dr.
Venkamma Bonigi. The medical staff determined that Ms Tassioulas had eclampsia
– a life-threatening complication during while some pregnant women experience
seizures and convulsions.

Dr. Bonigi told him that Ms
Tassioulas had to undergo an emergency C-section to save her and her baby’s
life.

By the time Ella arrived at 9.03am,
a team for the neo-natal unit in George Town had flown to the Brac to take care
of the tiny baby, who was born weighing 1.98 pounds and measuring just 12.6 inches
long.

“The neo-natal team of Dr. [Linden]
Swan and Nurse Annie Rose [Gloria] were already there and started working on
her. They basically kept her breathing for the entire day until we got her in
the air ambulance,” said the father. “They made her survive her first day.”

Ms Tassioulas, who is a high school
teacher, said that the ultrasounds taken before she came to Cayman indicated
she was 29 weeks and three days pregnant when she gave birth, but medical staff
in Cayman say based on the child’s development and skin tone, she was born at
about 27 weeks’ gestation.

Mr. Zaremba said that he had decided to name
the baby after the hospital on the Brac because of the care she and her mother
had received there. “It was just above and beyond what I could ever have imagined,
not only from the hospital, but from the other members of the community on
Cayman Brac who came together as well…

“All the staff at the hospital were
unbelievable. The dedication and love from that whole island and from the
people at the hospital was like nothing I’d seen before. That’s why we named
her Faith,” he said.

Without even asking for it, Mr.
Zaremba said the Brac District Administration office sorted out an emergency
birth certificate that was necessary to secure a passport for the baby for when
she leaves Cayman. The passport was quickly secured with the help of the
Canadian consulate in Grand Cayman.

Ms Tassioulas said the care the
baby has received at the neo-natal unit at the George Town hospital has also
been outstanding. “It’s phenomenal how much people care here. They’re so
skilled and professional and they care so much. They’re so warm and comforting.
I come in here and tell them that because of them I can sleep at night,” she
said.

Paediatrician James Robertson has
taken over primary care of little Ella. He said she was doing well, but, as
with all babies, it would be two years before they could say she was out of the
woods.

The parents hope to return to the
Brac at Christmas and pay a visit to Faith Hospital to show off its namesake to the staff who helped bring her into the world and to post a photo of
their little girl on the wall where pictures of other babies born there are
hanged.

“They said only five babies are
born on the Brac a year and now Ella’s one of them. She’s a Bracker!” said Mr.
Zaraemba.

LOCALrelievedparentsSTORY

Baby Ella Faith has been named after the Faith Hospital on Cayman Brac.
Photo: Norma Connolly
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