Born 14 weeks early, baby saved at Cayman Islands Hospital

Lizza and Glenn Halili hold baby Linzie at Cayman Islands Hospital.

Lizza and Glenn Halili had been trying for seven years to have a baby. The road to parenthood, however, was complicated by health issues and the pain of a miscarriage.

So when Lizza gave birth to baby Linzie on 9 May, the couple felt a mix of emotions. The joy of welcoming a new life into the world was complicated by Linzie’s premature arrival.

The Halilis had not expected their baby for another 14 weeks, on their 11 Aug. due date.

“When I heard the word labour, I went into panic mode,” Lizza said.

While she was emotionally ready to be a mother, Lizza was not ready for such a premature baby. And the couple’s birth plan, to travel to the United States, was thrown into to disarray.

Instead, they checked into Cayman Islands Hospital, unsure of the future and the health of their first child.

At birth, Linzie weighed just 2 pounds, 3 ounces, and required intensive medical care.

More than four months later, Lizza says the work of neonatal doctors from Integra and paediatric nurses at Cayman Islands Hospital is what kept their daughter alive.

Linzie went home earlier this month, about a week after her original due date. While she will require oxygen until her lungs become stronger, she is improving by the day.

Dr. Sara Watkin, a specialist in newborn and pre-term care, explained the challenges in getting baby Linzie to this point.

Glenn and Lizza Halili, right, pose with baby Linzie and members of the neonatal care team at Cayman Islands Hospital. – Photos: Submitted

“An infant born at 26 weeks gestation isn’t even close to being ready for life on the outside. Her lungs and vascular system were still developing, and she would have been very susceptible to infections,” Watkin said in a press statement.

“Linzie required round-the-clock specialist medical and nursing care, including multiple periods of being ventilated.”

Babies born before 28 weeks are typically sent to Florida for care, but the Halilis’ insurance did not permit that option. So neonatal specialists at Cayman Islands Hospital served as the frontline defence for saving Linzie’s life.

The baby required careful support and constant monitoring for 15 weeks at the hospital.

During that time, Lizza, still scared for her daughter’s future, had to return to work and trust that the neonatal care team would provide the necessary care.

“As a care team, especially in the early days, we were constantly mindful that one wrong move can have very serious consequences. That’s where experience and training are crucial and I am lucky to be supported by great nurses too, both in NICU and on the Paediatric Ward, as well as having a colleague with neonatal training, Dr. Jasmina Marinova,” Watkin said.

With Linzie home for about a week now, Lizza said emotions are still high.

While the demands of new parenthood can be overwhelming, tasks such as bathing the baby and putting her to bed bring Lizza joy.
Little steps forward, like Linzie feeding on her own, are cause for celebration.

“We are so happy. We are so blessed that she is OK and she survived.”