- Zeina, a Kuwaiti baby, has spent nearly the entire first year of her life at Abu Dhabi’s Corniche Hospital.
- Weighing just 600 grams at birth, Zeina has grown to a healthy 8kg under the care of the hospital staff.
- In addition to tending to all her needs, the staff have been providing her with daily physiotherapy sessions.
Abu Dhabi: Baby Zeina turns one in less than two weeks from now.
Zeina is special, as the Kuwaiti baby has spent nearly the entire first year of her life at Abu Dhabi’s Corniche Hospital.
The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) staff at the hospital have become her second family during this period, as her parents communicate with her virtually from their home in Kuwait.
According to a statement sent by the hospital, Zeina — one of a pair of twins — was born at the facility on August 8, 2019. Her parents had come down to the capital to avail of the advanced medical care offered by the hospital’s fetal medicine unit.
Virtual visits from parents
Zeina was delivered prematurely at just 24 weeks, and admitted to the NICU for specialised care.
After being with her for six months, her parents had to fly back home to Kuwait to tend to the rest of their children. Since then, Zeina has been under the full responsibility of the Corniche NICU staff.
In addition to tending to all her needs, the staff have been providing her with daily physiotherapy sessions and have developed a special bond. Weighing just 600 grams at birth, Zeina has grown to a healthy 8kg under their care.
And despite the coronavirus-related restriction, her parents have remained in close touch with Zeina through virtual visits offered by the hospital. These visits allow parents who cannot visit their children due to movement restrictions or medical conditions to bond with their newborn, and communicate with the medical team that cares for their baby. Lina, mother to Zeina, has also tuned in daily to Zeina’s physiotherapy sessions.
She and the family now hope to welcome Zeina back home in time to celebrate her first birthday.
“Our 64-cot Level III NICU is the largest and most advanced in the country. We care for newborns with critical illnesses at all gestational ages beyond 22 weeks of pregnancy. We follow strict precautionary measures that exceed international standards and assure the health and well-being of newborns. We also recognise the role of parental bonding in a baby’s healthy development.” said Linda Clark, chief executive officer at Corniche.
Zeina’s parents had reportedly chosen the hospital during pregnancy due to the in-utero complications associated with twin pregnancies. They were treated by a team of fetal medicine consultants, who performed fetoscopic laser on the twins inside the mother’s womb — a highly specialised procedure that is needed to treat severe twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome in some monochorionic pregnancies.
Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome is a rare condition affecting identical twin pregnancies, in which the babies share one placenta and a network of blood vessels supplying oxygen and nutrients to the babies in the womb. These pregnancies are known as monochorionic. Sometimes the vessel connections within the placenta are not evenly dispensed and there is an imbalance in the blood exchange between the babies. This requires surgical intervention, otherwise the donor twin gives away more blood than it receives, thus running the risk of malnourishment and organ failure, while the recipient twin receives too much blood and is prone to overworking the heart.
“The Fetal Medicine Unit is the only centre in the UAE and one of the few in Gulf region that offers this procedure. We have completed the 100th fetoscopic laser procedure this week, a milestone that marks our legacy of expertise in the fetal therapy. Mothers and foetuses are our patients.” said Dr Leanne Bricker, fetal medicine consultant in Chair of Fetal Medicine and Medical Imaging at the hospital.
“I express my utmost gratitude to the Corniche Hospital for their efforts in taking such great care of my daughter Zeina despite the conditions, and I also express my heartfelt thanks to the country of tolerance and humanity, the UAE,” Lina said in a statement.