Meet Jodie: A mom explains why Jeneece Place is vital for Island families

Jodie Bittner and Island kid outside

When Island mom Jodie’s water broke only 25 weeks into her second pregnancy, she knew something was very wrong. After rushing to the hospital, she was told that she was in the early stages of labour, and to go home.

Jodie travelled back to her home in Metchosin and waited, feeling worse and worse. She had deep-rooted knowledge that she needed medical care. And three days later, she returned for an emergency ultrasound where doctors learned that her baby needed to be born, and he needed to be born now.

Little Brandon was born a micro-preemie, meaning he weighed less than a kilogram. He was immediately swept away to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), where he ended up staying for the first two years of his life.

“I lived in Metchosin on Kangaroo Road, where there’s no bus access. It’s a very, very dark road and super windy in the winter. I had to walk 45 minutes to the bus stop, wait for the bus, and then take an hour-long bus ride down to the hospital,” says Jodie. “To get home, another hour on the bus and a 45-minute walk home in the dark.”

The following months were extremely turbulent for Jodie. Once, she got a phone call at 3:00 a.m. saying her son had stopped breathing. They had to intubate him and put him on life support. She was stuck all the way in Metchosin, trying to find a way to the hospital and feeling a million miles away from her baby.

After months of fighting for his life, two-year-old Brandon was able to leave the hospital with his mom. They could go home.

Brandon is now 12 years old and lives with multiple complex health conditions. If Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island’s home away from home, Jeneece Place, had been open when Jodie had needed it most, everything would have been different. She would have been only minutes away from her micro-preemie son, staying at a safe and comfortable home across the parking lot from the NICU.

“If I’d had a place like Jeneece Place, it would have made life so much easier,” says Jodie. “It would have been a complete and utter life changer when we were doing our best to push through and help our little soldier get better.”

Thankfully, you can help keep Island parents like Jodie next to their kids at a safe haven like Jeneece Place or Qʷalayu House. With your gift to Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island, you can help hold Island families close.


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