Brother Part 2

When it comes to preemies
Everyday counts
It is not a countdown
It is a Count Up!

I wanted to write my "Brother" post last week as a lead in for my brother Steve to guest post this week, I am very proud of the little fecker so please have a read below. Over to you Steve…

My name is Steve and I am Will's younger brother. As Will explained last week I am here to continue his story. We seem to be the most unlucky family in the world in some respects sometimes and both of us have some really bad times over the past 3 years, hopefully I can give you an insight in to my story with fertility and babies. I set up a blog 4 weeks ago at, I want to document a virtual walk from Newport, Co. Tipperary to London in the United Kingdom in aid of NMH (National Maternity Foundation) at Holles Street. Over these next 15 weeks I intend on walking 695km virtually, I won't be swimming the channel it is all virtual. The question is though why am I doing this? Well I have done quite a lot of fundraising on behalf of the NMH over the past 2 years raising a staggering €7,166 for Irish Premature Babies. Obviously there is a reason why I am doing all of this, I didn't just pluck this charity out of a hat.

On the 19th of April in 2015 at 5:28 am my fiancĂ©e Sarah Jane gave birth to my little girl Ava Darcie De Korte at just 23 weeks + 1 day gestation. Ava was born miraculously born breathing, she weighed in at just over 500g and defied all the odds stacked against her to keep breathing. We had been told when we arrived in Holles Street the previous afternoon that Sarah was in the process of going in to labour. They team at the NMH said they would try a series of methods to prevent the birth of Ava allowing her to stay inside a little longer. Even with all their methods Sarah did her upmost as well mentally and physically. As I sit here and write this I can remember word for word what the main doctor was telling us both but being so new to this whole thing I couldn’t comprehend or process what was actually about to happen. Even to this day we are still not 100% sure what caused Ava’s arrival so early. When Ava arrived we hoped she would be a miracle baby that you would read about online. Each day brought with it peaks and troughs for every hour of every day of Ava’s life, it felt like we were living a slowed down world. The 24 hours after her birth was the first crucial period, then as that elapsed another milestone would be set. The next 48 hours would be crucial, then it pushed out to days and then finally judging by weeks, however when it got to weeks it was always weeks. Ava breathing was 1 challenge but she had so many other things to contend with to stay in this world, firstly she was born with a cleft palate and a hole in the heart, her task of living seemed insurmountable. We went through absolute hell at times and other times were the best days of our lives the slightest improvement gave us both so much joy. I will never forget the day I got to see Sarah holding Ava using kangaroo care that is probably up there with one of the best days of my life. The happiness that she brought us could not be bought and when things were bad she had a unique way boosting us. 

After 5 and ½ weeks of being on a ventilator assisting every little breath she took, the day finally came that they wanted to move her on to Continuous Positive Airway Pressure or CPAP for short. This is a form of airway ventilation which applies mild air pressure on a continuous basis to keep the airways open in people who are able to breathe spontaneously on their own. Ava done incredibly well on CPAP for 3 full days…. unfortunately on the 4th day she had an episode which caused her to have to be ventilated again moving off of CPAP. The following 48 hours are a complete blur and to be honest it’s something I still find really hard to talk about today. Ava sadly passed away on the 5th of June due to lack of oxygen shortly after her last episode. As you can imagine no parent should ever go through this, having to bury their child especially someone as unique as Ava was soul destroying, she was our little girl and I loved her to bits. Sometimes I wish it was me that was taken that day and not her I would have done anything to give her my life. 

It was so hard to move on from such a tragic moment in our lives but friends and family were our rocks for us both. Having been living in Dublin we decided to move back closer to home. We settled on Newport in Tipperary, a really nice quiet enough village. Soon after moving home we found out that we were pregnant with our second child who later we went on to call Luke, he was born 1 year, 1 week and 1 day after his big sister (almost Irish twins). There are massive similarities between the two and we are so thankful he is here because he has helped us hugely over the last 2 years that he will never understand. He’s coming up to this first birthday next month and we honestly just can’t wait. 

Before I finish up I just want to share some details about my walk. Over the past 4 weeks I have covered 177km in total which I am incredibly proud of as I have been severely unfit and over weight for years.  I have raised €376.71 so far to date and would love to try add more to this over the next 11 weeks.  If you would like to donate to this charity please see the link below, the NMH Foundation are a fantastic organisation and made our tough times so much more bearable, even a like and share on Facebook would be amazing.

Thanks for taking your time to read my post.