Back in June 12th 2009, our life took an unexpected turn.
Following a tough pregnancy, numerous trips and stays in the hospital (one lasting eight weeks), it was time for our baby to join the world. We had been through eight months of worry, emergency room scares and sleepless nights. Looking back, our mind-set was unlike many in the sense that, we envisaged (naively) the delivery piece of the journey to be the easy part.
This was our first child, so our understanding of labour was from prenatal classes and a couple of books we had picked up. Following two hours of doctors, nurses, midwifes, consultant surgeons, and anaesthetists running in and out of the delivery suite we knew something wasn’t right.
My wife Laura was rushed to theatre whilst I was asked to wait in the corridor. A million different things rush through your mind but ultimately you convince yourself everything will turn out fine. However, when the ‘crash-cart’ flies past, you know the odds are it won’t.
After maybe 40 or 50 minutes I received the crushing news that our little girl Ava had suffered some complications during the final moments of labour and had left us just 27 minutes after birth. So came the initial shock and all the predictable and clichéd questions enter your mind… How? Why? What could we have done differently?
Many months later, when these questions were still unanswered, and frustration was at a peak, I decided that I needed to do something to
1. Keep my mind off the situation and
2. Support others in the same position in the future.
The Baby Ava Foundation was formed and planning began on how we would raise funds.
The initial intention was to undertake a couple of runs and events over 12 months and try to raise between €2000 and €3000. However, the response to the Foundation was incredible. We were taken aback at the number of people around us who had been affected themselves or knew people who had been affected by neonatal tragedy. This made the decision to keep the Foundation going long-term an easy one.
Now, five years after losing Ava, her Foundation has raised close to €30,000 ($41,000) and a huge part of this has come from the incredible generosity of the EMC Community Service Award. Ava’s Foundation supports some of the leading research programs in the world and some of the sickest babies in Ireland.
Through the inspiring work of the Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research (INFANT), the Neonatal Brain Research Group (NBRG) and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in Cork, Ireland we continue to keep the memory of Ava alive and hope to create a legacy which helps many more in the future.
Thank you EMC.
Brad Wrigley & The Baby Ava Foundation