Sarah-Jane wants you to take part in Christmas Jumper Day
“We found out our little baby Seán Óg had a congenital heart defect at our 20 week scan. We were completely shocked as we had never heard of it before and we didn’t know how serious it was. Three days later we were seen by Prof McMahon who confirmed that our little baby had multiple defects, but we wouldn’t know the full extent until he was born. We didn’t know if he would survive the pregnancy let alone the birth so we tried to enjoy every second we had. He continued to grow and when he was born he was transferred to CHI at Crumlin straight away. I stayed in Holles Street that night and my partner went to Crumlin. During the night Seán Óg was struggling to breathe and had to be ventilated to keep him alive. I got out the next day and finally got to see my little boy properly for the first time. The nurses in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) absolutely adored him and had washed and cleaned him before I arrived.
I planned to breastfeed but as Seán Óg was so sick I had to express for him. The nurses were on hand to help me at any time and provided me with so much support and encouragement throughout his stays in hospital.
The team discovered that Seán Óg had eight heart defects in total, with three of them being rare. He had his first heart surgery at two days old and was christened in ICU when he was a day old. The christening was so special and personal - it was such a lovely moment for us. The nurses caring for Seán Óg were absolutely amazing. They treated him like he was their own and I trusted them 100% which made leaving him a little more bearable. Seán Óg responded really well to the surgery and he was allowed home at six days old. One of the nurses from ICU came up to the ward before he went to give him one last cuddle which was so touching.
Our little boy wasn’t due his next surgery until he was around eight months old, but at Christmas his little heart was failing so he needed his operation sooner. After five cancellations he eventually had his open heart surgery at four months old and just four days before Christmas. He was so strong and he responded really well so we got him home within a week.
The staff made his first Christmas so special. Santa visited him and left him presents, I was left a big hamper and there were presents waiting for his big sister when she came to visit. These are the special moments that stand out and they are facilitated by the incredible fundraisers who give their time and energy to making sure that they’re doing all they can for sick children. Christmas dinner was also provided in the restaurant so we could have dinner as a family which was so important to us and something we are so grateful for. Every single staff member from household staff up to consultants made our stay as comfortable and special as it could be. The support we received went way beyond the operating theatre and we are so grateful for everything so far. Nobody wants to spend Christmas in hospital but it was such a festive atmosphere that it didn’t feel like we were in hospital at times. It’s not just the incredible heart centre that fundraising has supported, it’s the little things too, like a present for our little girl who spent Christmas day in the hospital with her sick brother.
Seán Óg has a tough road ahead of him and needs another open heart surgery when he’s around three but he’s absolutely flying it now. He’s such a happy little boy. We will be forever grateful to Crumlin hospital for saving our little boy especially, Mr. Jonathan McGuinness who is Seán Og’s surgeon, and Orla Franklin, his cardiologist.
We will never ever be able to express our gratitude to CHI at Crumlin, the staff and the fundraisers who saved our baby, but we will continue to help out in any way we can.”
Sarah-Jane and Seán, Seán Óg’s mum and dad.
Sarah-Jane is encouraging all schools and companies to wear a Christmas Jumper, just like Seán Óg, and help to raise vital funds for sick children this festive season. Email Sinead Nolan on email@example.com to get involved and get your Christmas Jumper Day pack.