Mum-of-seven who used CPR to save her baby's life is crowned Mum of the Year
A mother-of-seven who saved her infant son's life by repeatedly performing CPR has been named Mum of the Year at the Boots Maternity & Infant Awards yesterday.
Jacqui O'Shaughnessy, from Termonfeckin, Co. Louth, said she was thrilled and honoured to have won the accolade.
"My friend Lucy Campbell nominated me and when Boots contacted me to tell me I honestly thought it was a joke," she told Independent.ie.
Jacqui's son Alex (1) was born prematurely on October 14 2014 at only 34 weeks.
As a result the little boy had to stay in hospital for 21 days.
Upon returning home Jacqui was concerned that Alex was still unwell.
"I just wasn't happy with how he looked so I brought him back to hospital and he was kept in for 3 days," she said.
A couple of days later Jacqui was on the school run when the apnoea monitor attached to little Alex alerted her to the fact that he was not breathing.
The weather that day was dreadful, the country was being battered by a storm, roads were flooded and some were impassable.
Jacqui carefully made her way home and phoned a nurse at Our Lady's Hospital.
Over the next few minutes Jacqui repeatedly gave her son CPR.
"He would respond to the CPR and begin breathing but then he would stop again.
"It was so distressing," she said.
The weather was so bad that Jacqui had to ask her neighbour who drives a Jeep to bring her and Alex to the hospital.
"What will haunt me until the day I die is how cold Alex was when they took him from my arms when we arrived at Our Lady's," Jacqui said.
"It wasn't until we reached the hospital that I fully realised the seriousness of the situation."
Jacqui said she couldn't bear to watch as medics worked on her son so she went outside for a walk.
"I bumped into a priest and told him what was happening.
"He said he had meant to walk a different way but had come this path by accident so I think we were meant to meet.
"He came in and the doctors allowed him to give Alex a blessing," she recalled.
Her other children Abigail (10), twins Ronan & Emma (7), twins Aaron & Ryan (6) and Sophie (3) were understandably very upset that their little brother was in hospital.
"Ronan wrote a letter to Santa last Christmas and he said 'Please Santa let Alex come home'," Jacqui said.
Alex was transferred to Temple Street Hospital in Dublin where he remained for two weeks before coming home to his delighted family.
He has since made an excellent recovery.
"It's wonderful to see him thriving and smiling," the Mum of the Year said.