When you wake up tomorrow #RepealThe8th

B, Disability, Abortion, #RepealTheEighth, #Together4Yes,

This is how my beautiful disabled daughter greets me most mornings when I wake up. She loves me and trusts me to protect her. And I will always do my best. But I cannot protect her from the provisions of the 8th Amendment to the Irish Constitution. Especially after I’m gone. It frightens me stupid that so many terrible things can happen to disabled children and adults when their carers can no longer care.

And if the worst should happen, and she is sexually abused and made pregnant, what happens then? In Ireland today the tiny beating heart of a foetus is more important than my living breathing daughter. Even though her body may not be able to cope with pregnancy. Even though her mind will not understand. Even though any child conceived may not survive.

Many on the anti repeal side keep saying that the 8th amendment does not affect healthcare, and perhaps it shouldn’t in theory. But in the real world, it does. Women’s lives have been turned upside down. Some have even died.

Will anyone notice if she gets raped and pregnant? Will anyone make sure she gets whatever medical treatment she needs. If she needs an abortion, will anyone take her to England risking a possible prison sentence of 14 years? Will the State even allow her to leave as she lacks capacity?

My beautiful happy trusting daughter will be dismissed as a hard case by the anti repeal side, a statistic, collateral damage in their war against abortion. Because she doesn’t matter to them, because some of them don’t love both, don’t care once a baby is born alive. Or even if it’s not.

So when you wake up tomorrow, please remember my daughter. Please vote yes to repeal the 8th amendment. Because the next hard case could be your sister, your mother, your partner or YOUR daughter.

And once the 8th has been repealed, let’s make a start on making Ireland the best place in the world to have a baby, the best place in the world to bring up children, and the best place in the world to be a parent. Let’s provide ALL the supports and services that families need. And watch the abortion rate drop. That’s how we should love both.

Apologies if you received this twice, I’m experiencing problems with wordpress.

 

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My healthcare and the Eighth Amendment

Ireland's Eighth Amendment

I always thought the Eighth Amendment to Ireland’s Constitution was just about abortion, but apparently I was wrong. The healthcare implications were news to me apart from Savita Halappanavar’s tragic death from sepsis after she was refused an abortion. And yes, I know that Healthcare Professionals disagree over whether an abortion would have saved her life, but more treatment options would have been available to her medical team without the restrictions of the Eighth Amendment.

And since then I’ve read about many more women who have been affected by the Eighth Amendment on the In Her Shoes page on Facebook. It got me thinking about my three pregnancies and births, and whether they were affected too, and this is what I remembered…

On my first pregnancy I developed a breast lump. My consultant told me he didn’t think it was malignant, but advised removing it during the second trimester, because that was the safest time. I had the operation, and the lump was benign, so then why was a breast cancer counsellor sent in to me the night before the operation? At the time I thought it was an hospital error, now I’m not so sure.

My disabled daughter B was born at 26 weeks, 2 weeks after my waters broke. Three days before she was born I began getting pains and the waters began to be tinged with pink. From reading an article this week, I now know that this is a possible sign of septicaemia, but my memory is that nothing was done until I began dilating properly, just a few hours before she was born. I wonder now what would have happened to both of us if labour hadn’t started?

Then there was the difficult birth of my youngest. A back to back presentation – known to be particularly painful – didn’t help.

But this time I had a birth plan. It involved walking around during labour and pethidine for when things got difficult – pethidine had successfully helped me to cope with the gruesome aspects of B’s birth.

However the plan was ignored. I was not given pethidine. I was told their gas and air ‘was different’ and given that instead. And it made me sick and dizzy as it had on my eldest, but I kept sucking at it as the pains quickly spiralled way beyond my ability to cope. When I begged for an epidural, it was denied. I was told it was ‘too late’. The next hour is almost completely blank. Apparently I ‘lost the plot’ and refused to push until I got an epidural. Eventually the midwives gave in, and summoned the anaesthetist and consultant who pronounced ‘this baby is deliverable’ and so it was. But could things have gone differently? Was I denied the pethidine because of any possible effects on the baby? Even though I knew it was the best pain relief for me? Could something have happened to youngest if no epidural had been given, and I still didn’t push?

I was lucky. I recovered well from all three births, as did two of my children. B was not so lucky, and what happened during her birth may have caused some of her disabilities. But that’s a story for another day.

Did the Eighth Amendment affect the healthcare I received during pregnancy and childbirth? I’ll never know for sure, but I certainly don’t want it to affect any healthcare that my daughters may need…

 

 

Conversion

It’s been a week of achievements, but I was finding it hard to convert them into cheerfulness. And then Saturday happened.

It began around 6am, as usual. Followed by a tough but enjoyable Parkrun at 9.30am.

Parkrun May 12 2018

Home again to collect youngest and head to his activity, B and I eating a packed lunch in the sunshine with good company again, while we waited.

Then back home so B could use the toilet, and gathering everything I needed to help my friend run the end of year party for all the special needs children and their families at the Rainbow Junior Arch Club. Exhausting but rewarding.

Finally there was an 18th birthday party of a family friend and BOTH my younger two came with me. We weren’t able to stay that long, but long enough to enjoy the pièce de résistance, a delicious birthday strawberry and white chocolate cheesecake 😍

For all this to happen I had to get my daughter and her wheelchair in and out of my van 16 times in the one day and hoist her 10 times (on my own which is illegal for anyone else).

More proof of why I need to keep fit and strong, so I can continue to give my disabled daughter and her siblings the life they deserve.

The rest of the week consisted of a bank holiday and four days of appointments, including B’s annual neurology and orthopaedic appointments. Reasonably good news from both of these: her seizure rate may have slightly improved and her physical condition has not worsened, so no change to medications or her exercise regime. Steady as she goes.

There was a big meeting on Thursday, which I can’t really write about on here. But if the promises made are fulfilled, they could make a big difference to the future of my children and my ability to cope too. Everything crossed! But I was so exhausted after all the appointments that I didn’t have the energy to feel cheerful, at least not until Saturday evening. Then the conversion happened, and suddenly I’m seeing last week in a completely different light 💙

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart 

Lovin’ where I live #R2BC

I know I often talk about moving house, but on a mild spring day like today, I don’t want to move too far.

And I was planning all sorts of faraway trips over the weekend, but after the stress and angst of internet outage (fixed by an engineer remotely this morning) and the panic when my van broke (fixed by me at lunchtime*) I felt too tired to do more than take B for a short walk around the local area. It ended up as a long walk, and I decided to take some photos to show you why I still love where I live.

We began the afternoon’s adventures by sharing coffee and cheesecake at the Lovely Food Cafe. Well, she shared the cheesecake, I didn’t actually share the coffee!

Then we wandered down towards the Park, with B getting giddy from the sugar, and we admired the local cherry blossom tree.

We strolled past the National Botanic Gardens and enjoyed looking at the tulips, and a very pretty magnolia tree.

We passed by one of the local traditional pubs…

Hedigan's Pub

… And then we headed for home via the path along the Royal Canal: There were boys jumping into the deep water between the locks, as they have done for decades, and an old woman feeding the birds, but I didn’t think it right to photograph them…

It was a lovely afternoon that we both enjoyed, and a great reason to be cheerful for this week.

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart

*I will get it checked by a professional after the weekend, just to be sure.