Our son Alex is 11 years old and was born with Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy and a developmental delay. Like most parents we awaited Alex’s arrival with joy as he was our first child. I didn’t drink or smoke and I attended all appointments and did pre-natal classes but you never think anything can go wrong but as we have experienced this is not the case.
During Sunday night Monday morning of 3rd June 1996 our world changed. At approx. 4am I experienced pain but didn’t panic or think anything was wrong. I rang the hospital and spoke to a nurse who said I was not ready to come to hospital and maybe in the next 24 hrs. A couple of hours later I rang again to be told I was a first time mum panicking and there was no need to come in yet. As we lived in Ashbourne at the time and had to get to Drogheda we decided to go in and get checked. The nurse on duty asked was I was the person that rang during the night and said I didn’t look like someone in labour. She then said Dr. would be with us in about 10 mins to check me out. We were left in a waiting room for approx. 2 hours before Dr. came and that was only by chance, he was walking by the door and saw us through the window. Nobody had bothered to tell him we were there. After a quick examination Alex was born by emergency c section as the Doctor said he was in stress and he had to get to him quickly.
I remember the fear of what was about to happen and all I wanted was Jim to be with me but they said no. The next hour was filled with anguish as I was totally aware of what was happening and of the Dr. telling another doctor to keep the headphones on my head and not to let me hear what was being said. Alex was born and I saw him briefly being whisked away.
I then had the agonising wait because I had to stay in recovery. Jim was with Alex and my heart broke for him to because it must have been awful to be outside theatre waiting and wondering.
The next few days were waiting and wondering if Alex would survive but funnily I never really doubted that, he was a survivor from the start and very handsome as he is today. Eventually Alex was transferred to Temple St. where he spent several weeks before being told to take him home he was fine it was the shock birth that caused all the problems. Imagine how great that felt but it was short lived. We noticed a tremor in Alex’s body and when we rang the hospital we were told bring him straight in. Little did we know what was about to happen. We were transferred to a neurologist but by then they knew it was brain damage.
Several tests and scans later we were told Alex results would be available the following day. Jim asked what time and they said 1 o clock. I stayed that night and Jim was back at work. He said he would be in about 11 so we could be together for the results. At 8.30 the next morning the neurologist arrived with her team to give the results. I said I needed Jim there and had to phone him as they had said they would see us at 1 o’clock. They wouldn’t wait and said their was lots of sick children to be seen. I remember hearing Brain Damage and then the numbness. Jim arrived within a few minutes and thankfully he was a tower of strength and has remained that way.
We were eventually discharged and told to attend th C.R.C. clinic in Clontarf just to get Alex’s pram checked to see he had enough support. We did and they kept sending out appointments but we were naive. After being there a few times with Jim I said the next visit I could go myself as Jim was back at work. This app. was with Dr. Hensey and it was my first visit with him. During a conversation with him he mentioned the words “with this type of Cerebral Palsy”. We were never told this was Alex’s condition and the poor man nearly died when I turned white. He just said you don’t know do you. I was given a book that day to read about Cerebral Palsy but I’m convinced it contained a bucket of strength because I don’t know where we have found it but we have and we are stronger people because of our son.
That’s all the bad parts and the years following has been filled with hospital app. clinics therapy etc like everyone else and of course lets not forget fighting every step of the way to make life easier for Alex.
The positive side of the story is Alex has made us a much stronger family and has thought us a lot about life and whats important.
Let me tell you a little about this amazing boy. He is very happy, sleeps well, eats well and is gorgeous but I would say that ha. Alex has a fantastic personality and can light up a room with his smile. He has had several operations and he never complains. I don’t think I could go through what he did without the whole world knowing.
We have met some wonderful people and made great friends through Alex and the clubs and groups he is involved in.
It is tough and some days are very hard and you always want the best for your child but life does go on and you do cope and you can enjoy life if only you get to the acceptance level.
Many families that read this will have similar experiences but the only thing is we are not alone we have each other .