AN OMAGH mother has raised £2,000 to ‘give something back’ to the midwives who saved the life of her son born 14 weeks premature.
Shirley McGlone (née Crawford) has hosted a wealth of fundraising activities in recent times to support the neo-natal unit in Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry – the unit where her first-born son, Theo spent the first 19 weeks of his life.
Recounting the ‘rollercoaster’ of Theo’s birth, on October 16, 2014, Shirley said that his first few days were ‘touch-and-go’.
Not only was Theo fighting for his tiny life, but he also kept catching different infections and viruses which terrified his parents, Shirley and Darren further.
“When Theo was born, he was very, very sick and the first couple of days were so difficult for all of us,” Shirley recalled. “He was born at 26 weeks and three days at 5.25am, and I remember that I didn’t even hear him cry.
“Theo was just so tiny that my husband could hold him in his hand.
“When I went for my 21-22 week scan during my pregnancy, there seemed to be a lot of fluid build-up, and the unit think that’s what brought the labour on.”
Shirley added, “We went through a rollercoaster of emotions after he was born.
“There were happy times and very sad times, and we hoped that Theo would pull through but he just kept catching every infection and virus going.
“For our first child, it was an awful experience – one which I wouldn’t wish on anybody.”
Shirley believes that if it wasn’t for the expert care of the Altnagelvin nurses and midwives, Theo simply wouldn’t be here today.
“We hosted coffee mornings, a beauty night, a fun run and a male waxing night in aid of the unit to give something back for the excellent care Theo received,” Shirley explained.
“Any time we’re up in Derry, we always go and see the nurses to say hello.
“During the five months Theo spent in the neo-natal unit, myself and the nurses were like a big family; we had become so close.
“And the nurses have told me that they’ll never forget Theo as he put them through so much,” she laughed. “It isn’t easy being a premature baby’s parent.
“The only people that understand are people who have been through it themselves.”
Theo, who is now ‘doing brilliantly’, will be attending All Saints PS this September – a school located close to his home.
He is also now a big brother to his sister, Lily who will be turning one in just under two week’s time.
“Theo wouldn’t be like any other three-and-a-half-year-old, but he is catching up really well and he hasn’t looked back since leaving the neo-natal unit,” she said. “We thank God thank he has pulled through – he’s fantastic now.”
Shirley concluded, “We would like to thank all the nurses and doctors who cared for Theo – we owe them so much. They were amazing, and only for them our little boy wouldn’t be here today with us.
“We would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone, including my family, friends and clients, who donated very generously to the fantastic unit.”