Sonia Purewal

Sonia Kaur is the gem Narinder and Sarbjit Purewal have been waiting for – a sweet reward at the end of a 14-year struggle with fertility.  

When the Surrey couple found out nearly two years ago that they were finally expecting a child, they were ecstatic, to say the least. Narinder enjoyed a healthy, uneventful pregnancy. But near the end of her pregnancy, Narinder found out that the baby had too much fluid in her abdomen – an early sign of Down syndrome.

When Sonia was born in July 2014, the couple learned she didn’t have Down syndrome. But her daughter’s first days at home convinced Narinder that something was very wrong.

Whenever Narinder tried to feed Sonia, the baby would immediately vomit; though she cried out in hunger, she couldn’t keep any food down. Baby Sonia was restless and didn’t seem to be gaining weight. It took a trip to their local hospital, and then a transfer to BC Children’s Hospital, to finally get a diagnosis.

Sonia suffered from jejunal atresia, an uncommon disorder that occurs in newborns when the bowel is blocked.

“There’d be abdominal distension and she’d be vomiting right from birth; as they try to feed her nothing would stay down because everything’s blocked. It would be very obvious on an X-ray that something is abnormal,” says Dr. Eric Webber, head of the Division of Pediatric Surgery at BC Children’s, and the surgeon who would lead Sonia’s three operations.  

Jejunal atresia is uncommon in the pediatric population, says Dr. Webber. BC Children’s Hospital surgeons see between eight and 10 cases a year.

The operation to treat jejunal atresia demands that surgeons cut the blockage in the intestine and re-attach the section of the bowel upstream from the blockage back to the downstream section. But since the upper section is usually dilated, and the mostly unused lower section is narrow, it’s not an easy task to match them well. It took three procedures to completely repair Sonia’s condition.

Today, Sonia is back to her comfortable self. She’s a happy and curious baby, and developing well under the care of BC Children’s Hospital’s Intestinal Rehabilitation Program – a specialized program led by specialists who focus on Sonia’s full rehabilitation and care.

Dr. Webber is confident that Sonia will continue to grow into a healthy, happy little girl.

“I anticipate that she will do very well,” he says.

In fact, she already is doing well. In mid-July, 2015, Sonia turned a year old; that same week, she received her shots and underwent several allergy tests, and came out with flying colours.

“She’s perfect,” Narinder beams.

Sonia will be featured this year as our 2015 A Night of Miracles gala Champion.