Sinéad & Paddy's Letter for you
We were home for Christmas. The three of us, Mammy to be, Daddy to be and our lovely ‘bump’. We hadn’t even thought of The National Maternity Hospital at that time. We were supposed to be having our first baby in Dubai.
Everyone was so excited for us. Being home in Ireland for a few weeks over Christmas was amazing. It was so good to see everyone after being away, and we were having great fun surprising everyone with the news of the baby. Lots of excitement, hugging and happy reunions.
When the first sign of trouble came in the middle of the night with a pain that wouldn’t go away and a slight bleed, we automatically called the doctor in Dubai. She said we should go to the emergency room. It’s a strange one, when something is ‘off’ when you’re pregnant. You don’t want to make a big deal out of it, you don’t want to call an ambulance, so we were a bit lost to be honest.
We asked Paddy’s mum and she said to call The National Maternity Hospital. Little did we know on the drive up from Wicklow, that we would be spending the best part of 3 years in and out of there.
Everett was born on Sunday 22nd December at just 24 weeks. We were surrounded by the most incredible team. So calm, so sure, so considerate. Everett was rushed to the NICU while the team spoke to us about his condition, the risks and the challenges ahead for him.
He did really well for the first couple of days, and we worked up every ounce of hope and positivity between us. He was an active little baby, bursting with personality and wrapped his little hand our fingers. We were on a high when they took him off the ventilator on Christmas Eve.
And then, Christmas Day, at around 4, we were called down to the NICU. Everett was struggling to breathe and the team wanted us to be part of the decision to put him back on the ventilator. Despite the setback, he opened his eyes that day and our hearts just exploded with hope, love and pride.
But it was just too much for his tiny body. He started to have seizures, and Dr O’Donnell came to see us on the Saturday morning, and explained that the outlook wasn’t great. The seizures were likely to be having a damaging effect on his brain, and we could see that the struggle was just too much for him. We didn’t want him to be in any pain.
We are so grateful for the short time we had with him. Shirley christened him in the hospital that day, and then we got to hold our baby boy for a few hours before they turned off the ventilator. We captured his handprints, his footprints and took photographs.
In those few hours everyone wrapped around us like we were family, everyone pulling together and everyone had a cry with us, sharing the immense sorrow that it was, knowing that he wasn’t going to make it.
The shock and the grief were hard to process. It was so sudden, so traumatic. Our friends didn’t know what to do or say. We decided pretty quickly that we wanted to honour Everett’s short life by giving back to The National Maternity Hospital through the Foundation. It seemed like a positive thing to do to even though we were still reeling, and our friends and family agreed. We raised a lot. We take comfort in knowing that families going through this experience have what they need in the NICU because of Everett.
We found out October 2020 that I was pregnant with Beauden, and because of Everett and two miscarriages in between we were put under the care of Dr Corcoran, and the TLC clinic. The TLC lives up to its name and is an incredible service, and unique to The NMH. It is part funded by NMH Foundation supporters who are like us and want to give something back.
So, we had a phone number that if you just wanted to go in and have a scan just to put your mind at rest you could, and they made sure that we understood everything that was going on week by week. The cervical stitch was doing its job and the baby was thriving. And then in June 2021 Beauden was born at thirty-eight weeks, an overwhelming sense of relief. He was perfect and healthy, and everything was great.
We thought that we were more in the ‘normal’ category after Beaudy. But at The NMH it didn’t matter that we had had a successful pregnancy. We were back in the TLC last year with a new bump that we hoped to be a baby brother or sister for Beaudy. We had the same wrap around care from the amazing team and we were planning to have a quiet Christmas with Beaudy and bump.
Emerson had different ideas. He was born eyes open, breathing by himself, on 26th November 2022 at 28 weeks, weighing 3lbs. And would you believe it, the midwife who delivered Emerson was the same midwife who delivered Everett. Total coincidence, after 3 years. We are convinced that Orlaith being there on that day for Emerson was a little sign from Everett, his eldest brother.
Emerson spent Christmas last year in the NICU, and we had such mixed emotions, remembering Everett, missing Beaudy at home without us at Christmas, and cherishing Emerson, still so tiny but thriving every day.
And this year, we will be home together. Everett is very much part of our Christmas celebrations.
It’s his birthday as well as his anniversary and we want the boys to grow up loving Christmas time, cherishing family. Everett, Beaudy and Emerson are brothers, and we love them all so very much.
We can’t thank The NMH enough or the people who help families like ours by donating to such a special place. We’d just like to say keep doing what you are doing, keep making a difference in someone else’s life, because you’ve definitely made a massive difference to ours and you are enabling an amazing team to do the same for others.
Sinéad and Paddy