Nappies at last
March, a pregnancy test came back positive.
‘Here we go again!’ I smiled nervously to Kevin.
Happily, after a 17-hour labour, little Aoife arrived on 2 November, weighing 7lb 10oz. ‘She’s really here!’ I sobbed. She was beautiful. But the next day, our joy quickly turned to fear.
Aoife started vomiting a luminous green, mucus-like substance, and her stomach had become swollen. ‘It’s bile,’ a nurse said. Scans showed an ominous shadow over Aoife’s bowel. So medics flushed the bowel to cleanse it. I watched, horrified, as muddy brown water was sucked out of my tiny baby. Tests soon confirmed that Aoife had something called Hirschsprung’s disease. ‘It’s a rare condition that causes waste to become stuck in the bowels,’ a doctor gently explained. We were told that it occurs as a result of missing bowel cells.
And left untreated, the severe constipation could also lead to a serious infection called enterocolitis.
Poor Aoife needed an operation to remove the affected part of her bowel and reattach the healthy sections together.
I was speechless. We’d waited for our precious girl for so long, now this.
‘We can’t lose her,’ I sobbed to Kevin, devastated.
In the meantime, Aoife’s bowel had to be flushed out three times a day.
And as she struggled to feed or keep anything down, she had an NG tube fitted.
Back at home, we tried to build up her strength for the upcoming operation.
But Kevin and I hated missing out on basic parent duties. Even changing her nappies. ‘Sounds odd, but I’d love to do that,’ I told Kevin.
In March this year, Aoife returned to Queen Elizabeth Hospital for her surgery.
We were a bag of nerves in the waiting room during the eighthour operation. But, thankfully, it all went well. And that night, she took a full feed and even passed a stool!
Amazingly, Aoife seemed to bounce right back after her op.
Whenever I looked at her, she was happily smiling away as if nothing had happened!
She’s still prone to enterocolitis and will need hospital treatment if she gets diarrhoea or sickness.
But she’s doing so well, hitting all her milestones.
And, yes, we finally got to change her dirty nappy – it made me so happy!
We couldn’t stop smiling the first time we did it.
In fact, Kevin and I might be the only parents ever to look forward to that job!