Saturday 10 December 2016

'First birthday was extra special for my little miracle'

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

Published 06/04/2011 | 05:00

Melissa Redmond pictured with her son Michael. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Melissa Redmond pictured with her son Michael. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Melissa with husband Michael with children Cian (8), tara (3) and Michael. Photo: Steve Humphreys

For Melissa and Michael Redmond, the realisation that their now one-year-old son was almost taken from them before he was even born comes back now and again.

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Christmas, his first steps, his first words, but mostly his first birthday last month reminded his family how baby Michael was almost taken from them because of out-of-date machinery and bad work practices in one of the country's maternity wards.

"All those little milestones," Mrs Redmond said last night. "His first steps, he was walking at 11 months. Stuff like that always hits home that he may not have been with us.

"But his first birthday was extra special for everybody. His grandparents call him the little miracle. It was a great day. We had a party here, we had lots of friends and family around."

The story of baby Michael touched hearts around the country last year, and led many more women to come forward with similar stories, pushing the HSE into reforming miscarriage guidelines and undertaking a major review of similar cases.

The family have four scrapbooks of all the press clippings from last year -- after initially thinking they would only need one. They're safely stored away in their Donabate home for Michael to read when he gets older.

Although his older sister Tara (4) is largely unaware of what went on, big brother Cian (8) has been heard telling his friends about the miracle in his family.

"I've heard him even up in the park and the playground saying it to other kids. 'Oh that's my brother, he died but then he came back to life'," added Mrs Redmond.

Milestone

"And one little boy came over and said: 'Is that true? What's his name and I'll Google it.' And these are only kids!"

Michael's first steps were another milestone in his first year.

"That's a huge thing in all of their lives and it was a wonderful thing to see. His first words were 'hiya'."

But she's now shocked the HSE could be looking at another 24 similar cases to her own. But she knew there was another in Drogheda, where she attended.

"I didn't think it was that many and for some reason I had the number eight in my head. I'm very shocked. I don't understand how that could happen so many times.

"And nothing was done about it until we went public last year.

"I am glad I did it. I felt guilty at the time for all the women out there who were now wondering, 'what if'?"

And she feels she and other women have been left in limbo by the slow progress of the review.

"We were just left in limbo, we don't know what's happening."

Irish Independent

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