Mother Kath Fisher speaks candidly about the difficulties for parents looking after a sick child.

We found out I was pregnant two weeks after Geraint was deployed for a tour of duty in Afghanistan. One very tearful  phone call overseas, was made.

My 12 week scan was fine. Both grandmas attended as Daddy was still away. At the 20 week scan, I was ushered into a side room and told that our baby girl had a right duplex (double kidney) and an enlarged bladder. The midwife said not to worry, everything was ok and this was very common. Every other week we were scheduled for scans, tests and consultant appointments, all with daddy still away. At 37 weeks, the consultant decided it was time to deliver our baby as her kidneys were struggling.

Evie Mae Fisher was delivered via C- section on 9th January 2013, at UHW. Our joy was short-lived as the very next day she was scanned and the results confirmed bladder surgery was required to remove an obstruction. We were confident that this would alleviate Evie’s problems and we put our faith in the paediatric surgical team.

Evie was 4 days old, when she was operated on for the first time. Two very nervous parents waited for their baby to be returned. The anxiety and worry surrounding Evie’s ill health caused my breast feeding to fail and I couldn’t eat. This was the beginning of my slide into post natal depression.

We were finally able to take Evie home when she was 10 days old, but again our joy was short-lived as she was in pain. At 4 weeks old, Evie was rushed to the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital with a dangerously high temperature and a heartbeat so fast, she was unstable to move. Another week was spent fighting the kidney/bladder infection, before a second bladder operation. Time passed in a daze. I felt like I barely had a grip on reality. I had a new baby that didn’t sleep and was very poorly.

Evie was home again but I was living on my nerves, petrified that every cry meant another infection. Sure enough by the time Evie was 8 weeks old, we were rushed back to Noah’s Ark. This time things were serious. I remember collapsing on the bed after

being told that her right kidney was coming out and a stoma would be created to help the bladder. The right kidney received a stay of execution but the stoma was created….. I couldn’t touch it. Geraint was wonderful. He tended to Evie’s wound and encouraged me to gradually come to terms with tending the stoma. Again we returned home and whilst Evie went from strength to strength, my mental health deteriorated. I couldn’t leave the house or care for my child. The depression had convinced me that Evie and I were only safe at home and that Evie was safer with Geraint rather than me. She only ever got sick when she was with me, right? I was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression and my GP arranged for me to receive medication and counselling. I joined social media stoma groups and researched as much as I could. My coping mechanism was to always carry Calpol and a thermometer on me, just in case.

The stoma bought Evie enough time until she was old enough to have part of her right kidney removed in October 2014 when she was just 18 months old. Her operation was the longest 6 hours of our lives but the team successfully removed the bladder complication. Surprisingly for us, it was the calmest we’ve been out of the 4 operations. Evie’s consultant is fantastic and the professional nursing staff treat us like old friends. Anyone who thinks nurses have it easy should spend a shift on the paediatric surgical ward.

In return for the wonderful care and support we’ve received, we along with family and friends have organised and attended several fund raising events with the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital Charity. This is our way of supporting those, who have supported us. To date, we’ve raised approximately £6,000.

Evie is currently waiting to have her stoma reversed and remains in good health. It’s been a roller coaster 3 years for The Fisher Family but we wouldn’t be without our little Diva. People ask us how we seem so calm? We’re like swans, gliding along the top of the water and paddling like mad underneath…….and in case you’re wondering…..yes, I still go everywhere with Calpol and a thermometer – whatever gets you through.

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