HAVING attended Craigavon Hospital for a routine scan, Lurgan woman Gail Higgins ended up giving birth to her first child the same day.
Gail, from Windsor Avenue in the town, and her partner Stephen Boyce were attending the hospital for a scan at 35 weeks when it was discovered that their baby had stopped growing seven weeks previously. A decision was made by the senior consultant to deliver him then and there via emergency section.
Jack turned nine-months-old last week and Gail says she’ll never forget the day he entered the world.
The 30-year-old said: “Everything happened so quickly that day, from the scan to Jack’s delivery. We were absolutely petrified waiting to hear Jack cry.
“We didn’t even get the chance to hold him as he was taken to the neonatal unit immediately. It was a waiting game. We just prayed that he would survive.”
Following his early arrival little Jack, who weighed just 2lb 6oz, spent five weeks in the neonatal unit as his sucking reflex had not developed and he needed to spend time growing and developing inside the incubator as this mimics the womb.
It was an emotional time for the couple, especially when Gail had to leave the hospital without her baby.
It was during Jack’s time in Craigavon’s neonatal unit that Gail and partner, Stephen became aware of TinyLife and the services they provide to families of premature and sick babies.
Gail said: “We first met Janice, TinyLife’s Family Support Officer soon after Jack was admitted to the neonatal unit. She was a wonderful source of support to us during what was a very difficult time.
“She gave us both practical and emotional advice which was invaluable. I availed of the TinyLife breast pump service and Janice made several home visits once Jack was discharged to discuss the possibility of getting some help at home from a trained TinyLife Family Support Volunteer.”
Gail also offered a massive thank you to all the staff at Craigavon, especially those in the neonatal unit.
“I can’t thank them enough,” she said.
On Saturday, June 8 at Stormont, Tinylife will be attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the number of prams being continuously pushed for one mile.
Gail said: “When we heard that the charity intended to attempt a Guinness World Record Pram Push, we jumped at the chance to be involved and to raise much needed funds at the same time, we felt it was a win-win situation for everyone.”
The day itself will be filled with family fun activities including face painting, balloon modelling and bouncy castles. Registration is only £5 per pram and we ask that each family raises £25 in sponsorship.
Anyone interested in taking part can register online www.TinyLifePramPush.eventbrite.com or by calling Samara on 9081 5050.