Imagine being afraid to hold your own child. For parents of premature babies, this is the norm. Every time Aisling held her tiny little son, he flat-lined and had to be resuscitated.
The challenges parents face when their child is born premature are beyond the imaginations of most of us. There are so many potential worries… but there’s one worry you can take away…
“Two years ago, every pregnant parent’s worst nightmare happened. I went into labour with my twins at only 25 weeks. Kailum and Blake were born in a critical condition. Tragically my lovely Kailum passed away, and Blake was given very little chance of survival.
Over the next few weeks, as Blake struggled to survive, I kept a vigil at his incubator. I wanted to hold him, but he was too fragile. Eventually he began to stabilise and I was finally able to enjoy cuddling him, but the worries weren’t over. The doctors knew Blake was at high risk of a dangerous condition called retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) which can lead to permanent sight loss.
They kept a constant eye on him, scanning him for signs. But then they came and told us what we had feared the most. He had stage III ROP, which meant he had to have surgery to try and save his sight.
He was only three months old, and still not much bigger than my hand. After the surgery I was really shocked to see him back on oxygen and struggling. It had been a tough operation. Gradually though, he improved and we were told the surgery was a success. Blake’s sight was saved. I can’t tell you how that felt.
This Mother’s Day please will you help save the sight of other babies like Blake?
The more premature a baby is born, the more likely they are to be affected by this condition. This disorder—which usually develops in both eyes—is one of the most
common causes of visual loss in childhood and can lead to lifelong vision impairment and blindness.
You should see him now! He’s 2 years and 7 months old and walking and running!
But it’s like he knows he nearly lost his sight… He is so attracted to bright colours and chases and touches anything with patterns. He loves seeing everything!
Fighting Blindness have teamed up with the National Maternity Hospital to raise sight-saving funds for a specialised retina cam for their neonatal unit, so that all premature babies can be screened, and surgery performed in time to save their sight. Annually 500 babies born preterm in the hospital need to be screened.
Please will you help save a child’s sight this Mother’s Day? Your donation will bring us closer to buying this vital equipment.Please donate today at www.fightingblindness.ie/donate/donate_now/
Even after all this time, I still wake up to check on him that he’s still breathing. But then he opens his eyes, and smiles when he sees me and just looking back at him, its hard to believe he is here. I really appreciate him. Blake was lucky. The condition was caught early and although he will need on-going monitoring, his sight has been saved. But every week, babies are born at risk of losing theirs.
Please will you support this Spring, so that babies like Blake can see the wonderful world they have struggled to be part of ?
Aisling, Blake’s mum