Galway to Dublin – a 204km challenge for love
Every day babies are born with tiny little fingers and toes. Sadly some babies are also born with life-threatening illnesses, and they are scooped up from their doting mothers, and entrusted to our front line heroes. Rebecca Ott from Galway lived this experience when her son Tadhg was born, and he was immediately transported to CHI at Crumlin for life-saving surgery.
“Tadhg was transferred up to Crumlin the day he was born in Galway. There happened to be a space in St. Peter's Ward so he went up there that same day. He had duodenal atresia [intestinal obstruction] so he had to have surgery for that when he was only a day old. We had known before he was born that he was going to have this so we thought we were kind of prepared but nothing can prepare you,” says Rebecca, “while this was going on, I had become really sick with Paralytic ileus [also called pseudo-obstruction or intestinal obstruction]. I got to see him a few hours after he was born but then he was taken straight to Crumlin followed by his Dad. I ended up being really sick in Galway up to when he was 8 days old, and I didn't get up to Crumlin to see him until then.”
“He did really well after his surgery. He started recovering kind of straight away. Martin, his Dad, was between Dublin and Galway and the nurses in the hospital gave him all of his care. For his first week, Martin was there as much as possible. The nurses were so kind, not just in terms of medical care but we were so content knowing that he was so minded. There was nothing he was missing because he was in an incubator and he got cuddles and everything he needed from them while we couldn't be there.
When I was in Galway, I could ring any time of the day or night, and the nurse would give me an update. I never felt I was ringing at an inappropriate time, and they would just tell me exactly what had happened that day. They would tell me exactly how he was doing not just medically but what his little form was like.
When I first got up there to see him, I was so nervous to see him as he was eight days old at this stage. I didn't even know what Crumlin was like because I had never been there myself or known it. As soon as I got up to the ward one of the nurses hugged me and was like 'hello mummy' and it was so lovely.
They were so helpful to all of us, they minded Tadhg so well. It's not included in their job but they took so much care of us as his parents. Tadhg was there for 33 nights in the end. In that time we got to know the nurses so well and if we were tired or hungry they'd send us for a sleep or breakfast or for a walk. They took such good care of everybody. It is so much more than a hospital. Even if you had a sad day, the nurses were just so positive and happy all the time.
So Tadhg is seven months old now. Initially he had one surgery and that was for his tummy. He also has Ptosis on his eye so he had to have minor surgery on his eyelid when he was 29 days old. So he's been up there a few times now for follow ups. He might be going to Crumlin more often because his eyesight may be a little bit more affected, and he wears a patch for a few hours a day at the moment. He's built up a great tolerance for pain, and his vaccinations are not a bother to him. He doesn't get too upset about things, he's very happy and relaxed and a great sleeper as well.
For the fundraiser we chose St. Peters because we have seen all of the work done first hand there. We were going to have a family fundraiser for our friends in the summer, and then with the virus and lockdown we weren't going to be able to do that. So then I just googled the distance between our house and Crumlin, and it was 204km so I decided that I would run and walk that. I looked it up on the 2nd of June and then on the 3rd of June I started doing it. So it's from the 3rd of June to the 3rd of July, I'm going to do 204km.
I run in the morning or later in the evening by myself before my partner goes to work or is home from work. I'm no good at running and pushing a buggy so Tadhg comes with me in his buggy on the walks and my 9 year old is on his bike. So they are part of the challenge too. Throughout the month I'll have some little helpers on foot and bikes and some of my friends are going to join me on the walks while socially distancing with their buggies, and some of them will join me on the runs too at the end.
Tadhg has been thriving during the lockdown, loving all the company. At the start I was a bit worried but he's so interactive and it's lovely that he's gotten to spend all of this time with family right now. It’s just ourselves but it's been nice.”
Rebecca, Tadhg’s Mum
With your support we will continue to do #WhateverItTakes
To find out more about Rebecca’s 204km challenge and to donate click the following link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rebecca-ott