CORK parents are holding a fundraiser next month for the neonatal unit of the Cork University Maternity Hospital after their daughter spent more than four months in the unit.
Born just short of 25-weeks and weighing less than a bag of sugar, baby Desmond was aptly named Eva - meaning “life”.
Her parents, Danielle and Damien, weren’t sure their little bundle would survive but for two weeks she fought for her life; and a year on she’s still here and as determined as ever.
Eva was born prematurely, weighing just 820-grams; in Ireland, one premature baby is born every 116-minutes.
Her mum and dad weren’t allowed to hold her until she was 19-days-old.
Eva didn’t see outside the Cork University Hospital’s neonatal unit she was 132-days old and only then did she get to meet her big sister Ella, age 2, and the rest of her family.
For her parents, it was a frightening 132-days. Their baby was taken off oxygen just five days before she was left home to Kilbrittain, Cork. Only then did they feel a sense of normality return to their lives.
Eva is 13.5-months-old, or 10-months corrected in medical terms.
While her parents were warned their baby might come early they never thought it would actually happen until it did and Danielle had to have an emergency cesarean-section.
“It was traumatic, that was the bottom line, but when you're in the situation you don’t know what’s going on, it's all go, go, go,” Danielle said.
“When I woke up, that's when they told me I had a baby girl and she was in the neonatal unit.” “Our world turned upside down, it was unnatural and a surreal situation, we were ignorant to the whole thing having had such a normal first pregnancy,” Danielle said.
“We were told from day one the journey would be a roller coaster and the first two weeks would tell a lot - whether she would make it or not, she was a day off the 25-weeks, so they said there was a 69 per cent chance of survival.”
Danielle describes herself as having been “blissfully ignorant” about the risks of her baby being born prematurely. She wants to create awareness around premature births but also she wants to let people know about the lifesaving work being done in neonatal care unit in Cork University Hospital.
“If it wasn’t for the unit, Eva wouldn't be here today and that’s the bottom line,” Danielle said.
“The staff, they’re amazing; we can’t thank them enough and they’ll always have a special place in our hearts.”
To show support and appreciation for the Neonatal Critical Care Unit that cared for them and their baby so well, and to raise money for equipment that will benefit premature babies in the unit, Danielle and Damien will take part in a fundraiser at Spinfitt gym in Bandon on Saturday, September 2.
People of all levels of fitness are asked to take part in spinning classes throughout the day starting at noon - anyone interested can contact Rodney at Spinfitt Bandon on 085 7290040.
There’ll also be baby sensory sessions on the day and a sponsored waxing session for the adventurous.
People are asked to follow the causes’ social media accounts, @BurnShaveCUMH on Twitter, Burn & Shave Fundraiser Event on Facebook or donate on the day or through the Go Fund Me page at https://www.gofundme.com/neonatal-unitcumh