Thanks to NICU staff, this couple's babies were able to join the wedding
The shocks haven't stopped coming for a year.
First, Chandra and Tyson Dahl were told it might be difficult to get pregnant.
But a month before an appointment with their fertility doctor, they found out Chandra was carrying.
Then, at the first ultrasound, the technician found two heartbeats.
Chandra's pregnancy went smoothly, if quickly.
Twins Jaycen and Arianna were born prematurely on April 11, about six weeks earlier then Chandra's scheduled C-section. They weighed just under and around three pounds.
"They're so small and so frail. It's the most difficult thing we've ever had to go through," Chandra recalled.
Chandra and Tyson Dahl were surprised by NICU staff who, on the day of the couple's wedding, dressed their preemie twins up as a ring bearer and flower girl. Jaycen, pictured here, and his sister Arianna were born six weeks before Chandra's scheduled C-section on April 11 at around three pounds. As of June 15, Arianna was expected to be able to come home in a couple of weeks.
With the twins being cared for by the neonatal intensive care unit, the couple decided to go ahead with their planned April 24 wedding.
"There was no reason to hold off on it, and I thought it was very important and special to continue going through with it," Tyson said.
"We thought we were just going to have a quick little COVID wedding and then go see our kids in the NICU and get a few more photos while we're in our dress clothes and stuff, and then that special thing happened."
When the family's NICU social worker and the unit's assistant head nurse heard the Dahls' plans, they began their own.
"It started with Gurinder telling me about the date for the wedding, and I remember circling it on this peice of paper, and I was like, there's a girl and a boy, so how cute would it be to have this flower girl and this ring bearer?" Lauren Roberts told CTV News Edmonton.
Gurinder Dhillon added, "They can't really be a ring bearer and flower girl without cute outfits."
Finding a tux and flower-covered onesie in preemie sizes wasn't easy, but the pair did it, and fitted the babies' isolettes with knitted blankets, flowers and a ring box.
"I cried, of course, because that's what I do. It was amazing," Chandra said.
Her husband added, "It was magical. It was more than we could imagine, really."
OPPORTUNITY TO 'DO A LITTLE BIT EXTRA'
The surprise was a continuation of the thoughtful and expert support the Dahl family has been given for two months.
"When we have to leave the hospital, we know we can leave resting because we know that they're in incredible hands. It's not just a job to them," Chandra said. "Even learning about the wedding, they were excited as if they were in the wedding party."
Arianna will come home in a couple of weeks, the staff expect. But until then, the family is welcomed comfortably in the NICU.
"Our first visit with Arianna, they already had a bed for (Jaycen) to have naps in when we visited," Chandra recalled.
Tyson said, "We started at the Grey Nuns and then moved over to the Stollery, but it doesn't seem to matter which one you're at, the level of care and professionalism is top notch."
Dhillon and Roberts said their philosophy is family-centred care.
"We're just there for a brief little snippet, but it's these parents that are going home, starting a life with these kids, so anything we can do to support them and to help out, we're happy," Roberts commented.
"This was just that opportunity, right, to do a little bit extra."
"It's indescribable how much we appreciate it, how grateful we are," Chandra responded.
"These are memories that are going to last a lifetime when these little ones grow up. They're going to cherish them in the way that we cherish them."
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Matt Marshall
Edmonton Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says China has released detained Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor after Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou and U.S. Justice Department officials reached a deal to resolve the criminal charges against her and a B.C. judge discharged the extradition matter.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has apologized for the first time for the horrors that occurred in residential schools it ran for the federal government for more than a century.
The head of emergency medicine for the Alberta Medical Association says major components of triage have already begun in Alberta.
CTVNews.ca tells the story of the 44th federal election in six charts, breaking down the percentage of total votes won by each party, what was gained, what was lost, and where in Canada saw the closest, nail-biter races.
Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam says "active" discussions are underway with various countries, including the U.S., to permit the entry of Canadians with mixed COVID-19 vaccine doses.
The 14 highest patient ICU patient counts have all come in September.
New Brunswick to reinstate state of emergency as province reports record COVID-19 cases, three more deaths
New Brunswick will be returning to a state of emergency as the province continues to battle the growing fourth wave of COVID-19, officials announced Friday.
Nearly 10,000 Afghans are waiting in German refugee camps desperate for their new lives to begin, including those destined for Canada.
'A critical time': Alberta's top doctor calls out individuals trying to use fake COVID-19 vaccine cards
It's been nearly a week since the Alberta government adopted an easy-to-use tool to produce a printable proof of vaccination card, but the project has been criticized by many as being flawed and easy to exploit.
Michael Purity, a former University of Calgary classmate of Michael Spavor, was camping in the California backwoods when he got the news from CTV that Spavor, one of the two Michaels, was on a plane home from China.
A pair of Saskatchewan doctors say the province should share COVID-19 modelling data to help both physicians and residents prepare for what could be coming.
A case of animal cruelty has resulted in a $21,000 fine and lifetime ban on cattle ownership for a women from Love, SK.
As Saskatchewan's Missing Persons Week comes to a close, a high profile missing person in the United States is driving conversations around similar cases closer to home.
As parent Brittany Snow peruses a list of Nova Scotia schools affected by COVID-19 exposures, she worries what it means for the safety of her children, who are too young to be vaccinated.
The community of Amherst, N.S., came together on Friday to collectively grieve the loss of six of their own who were taken much too soon.
The demographic makeup of COVID-19 cases in British Columbia has shifted dramatically in recent weeks, with children under 10 years old now making up the biggest share of confirmed new infections in the province.
The B.C. government announced 743 new cases of COVID-19 and seven coronavirus-related deaths Friday, as the province marked a new vaccination milestone.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is calling on Justin Trudeau's newly elected Liberal minority government to get back to work as soon as possible and provide a pandemic recovery playbook.
It's day three of the new proof of vaccine rule and people need to have a valid proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter many private and public places.
The Ontario government is easing restrictions on capacity limits for some indoor and outdoor settings where proof of vaccination is required.
'Rise in numbers is always concerning': Southern Health Region seeing climbing COVID-19 infection rates
COVID-19 infection rates are climbing in the Southern Health Region at a pace much quicker than the more densely populated Winnipeg Health Region.
Elections Canada says it is awaiting official word from lawyers before a recount is called in a Winnipeg riding where Conservative incumbent Marty Morantz clung to victory with just 24 votes.
A movie starring Woody Harrelson is set to shoot in Winnipeg, and people living with disabilities may have an opportunity to be in the film.
The new cases were among 743 cases found across the province over the past 24 hours.
We knew COVID-19 had started to spread among unhoused people in Victoria, but we didn't know exactly how many people were affected until now.
More than 300 middle and high school students from across Greater Victoria walked out of classes to take part in the "Our Earth – Our Future" strike for climate action on Friday.
B.C. woman turned away from popular Toronto tourist spot because vaccine certificate doesn't include key detail
A woman from British Columbia travelling to Toronto was turned away from one of the most popular tourist destinations because her province's vaccine certificate doesn't include a key piece of information.
It's a luxury trend used to build mansions that are built primarily underground.
Quebec's health and social services ministry (MSSS) is raising alarm bells after fake versions of the province's VaxiCode vaccine passport application have been spotted.
'We have to confront our clients,' Quebec bars and restaurants struggling with COVID-19 vaccine passport rollout
Two groups representing Quebec's bars and restaurants say that three weeks into the vaccine passport program, establishments have had enough and risk ruin if the government does not step in with financial assistance.
'You are shocked, but you shouldn't be': Montreal exhibition celebrates female body hair, fantasy and beauty
Esther 'Queen Esie' Calixte-Bea's first solo art show launched in Montreal this week, and celebrates female body hair and beauty inspired by the artist's roots in West Africa.
A serious crash on Wharncliffe Road sent two people to hospital Friday night.
COVID-19 crashed the party in 2020, but London may not be so lucky this weekend.
All London Transit Commission drivers will need to be fully vaccinated or provide proof of an exemption by Nov. 12.
Waterloo regional police are asking for the public's help to identify a man who was found dead in Kitchener on Friday morning.
It's been two-and-a-half weeks since the school year started and youth cases of COVID-19 are already spiking in Waterloo Region.
Brian Turnbull, who served as Waterloo's mayor for three terms, has died.