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About Sickkids
About SickKids

June 17, 2013

Spending his first Father’s Day in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

‘It’s a roller-coaster ride that I never expected,’says dad James Steel with tiny baby, Lucas

Lucus Steel in NICU

At just over two pounds, baby Lucas is not yet big or well enough to come out of his isolette – but that doesn’t stop James Steel from being his dad.

Steel never expected to spend his first Father’s Day in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). With his wife Christine, he spends virtually all day at his son’s side.

“I talk to him and I tell him, ‘Lucas, you’re going to get better and you’re going to get out of here,” James says.

When Lucas was born at just 25 weeks gestation at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre a month ago, his father had to switch gears overnight. In his profession as a crane operator at CN, James has the sensitive job of safely moving giant shipping containers that weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Here in the NICU, he is focused on every ounce that Lucas gains.

Problems with his heart, lungs and bowel made it imperative that Lucas be moved to the NICU at SickKids within days of birth. For James and Christine, spending each day at the NICU is a roller-coaster ride that is made bearable by the skill and support of the medical team, and by the encouragement of other parents who say “My baby survived, and Lucas will too.”

“James and Christine are doing exactly what they need to do to be a family right now,” says Rita Visconti, parent liaison in the NICU. “Every way that they are providing personal care and attention to Lucas is part of his medical plan too. That’s why family-centred care is now fully integrated into how the NICU operates.” (Visconti knows what they’re going through: she was a mom of triplets in the NICU six years ago.)

As James approaches his first Father’s Day this Sunday he wants other dads and future dads to know that spending Father’s Day in the NICU is special. “It’s special because this will be another day
that Lucas gets better, little by little.”