Nap­pies at last

Pick Me Up! Special - - News -

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!

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