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Shuswap parents focused on caring for son born 3 months ahead of due date

Fundraiser set up to help former Sicamous couple to stay with son in Kelowna

Though not technically due until April 17, micro-preemie baby Dougie has already been in the world for the past three months, fighting for his life in the Vancouver Women’s Hospital neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Douglas “Dougie” Mounce weighed just 2.2 pounds when he was born extremely early on Jan. 8 at just 25 weeks old to first time parents Julie Foster and Connor Mounce, embarking the new family on a stressful journey.

“There’s definitely been a lot of scary days, thankfully less of them now, but still moments here and there. He is doing really good, all things considered,” Julie said, with Dougie now over four times his birth weight at 8lbs 11oz.

There is still a long road ahead, but it has finally led them a bit closer to home after spending the past three months at the hospital in Vancouver.

“On Saturday the stars finally aligned and we were flown to Kelowna to finish out the rest of our stay in the NICU here,” Julie said in an April 8 Facebook post.

That puts them much closer to their families and support system as both grew up in Sicamous but recently moved to Tappen. Though the transfer to Kelowna is a positive step, she added that the past month had been particularly stressful on the “preemie rollercoaster,” with Dougie experiencing a lot of bradycardia (low heart rate) and low oxygen levels in his blood.

Julie said now, however, he seems to be doing OK off oxygen, and they’re focusing on breastfeeding so they can remove the feeding tube.

“We are on step four of a 12-step plan, but we’ve been stuck on this step for four days now so I don’t really know how long we expect it to take,” she added. “I sure wish I had a more concrete answer on what the next steps are, but one thing I’ve learned through this is that things happen when they happen.”

For the past three months, Julie and Connor’s time has been fully dedicated to Dougie, with both constantly at his side in hospital. Though the move to Kelowna has allowed them to each have a quick visit home while the other stays with the baby, they continue to be unable to work as they navigate this journey, so Connor’s sister Paige Mounce started a GoFundMe account to help cover costs and accumulating household bills.

The fund is currently at $4,876 of the $7,500 goal, but as there’s no estimated date Dougie will be released, they appreciate the continued support.

“We look forward to… getting to go home and getting settled into our new life as a family of three,” Julie said in Facebook post. “I know Connor is looking forward to getting back to work on his business, but the reality is that just aren’t there quite yet.”

Donations can be made on the GoFundMe website under Dougie’s NICU journey, allowing them to focus on their little fighter.

“He is a tough little guy indeed,” Julie said. “And we are so proud of him.”

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About the Author: Heather Black

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