Saturday 21 April 2018

Three years on: Little boy who weighed just 750 grams at birth starts play school

Mark Sheridan
Mark Sheridan
Mark Sheridan is now three and a half years old.
Liz and Denis Sheridan hold their little baby Mark for the first time.
Mark Sheridan was born at just 28 weeks.
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

Mark Sheridan was born at 28 weeks, weighing just one pound and six ounces.

His parents Liz and Denis, who had been devastated by the loss of their first baby at 18 weeks, were to meet Mark sooner than planned.

Liz, who had HELLP syndrome, a life-threatening pregnancy complication, was hospitalised when she was around 27 weeks pregnant as a precaution. One week later, little Mark arrived.

“We’re so, so lucky, for what was such a rough start. They didn’t expect much of him, we’re just one of the lucky ones. Our little man is perfect.”

“When Mark was born he wasn’t breathing at all and I wasn’t great. I was in a high dependency ward, and things weren’t looking good for Mark. My liver and stuff were acting up, they were trying to stabilise me.”

“My first recollection of being in the ward was to sign a consent for a plasma transfusion. He was two days old before I got to see him.”

It wasn’t until Mark was five days old that Liz got to touch her son through an incubator.

“The first thing that struck me was the noise, all the machines, all the beeping, it was like a high-tech factory with alarms going off.”

“The babies can stop breathing during the day - it’s just they get a little tired of breathing. The nurses are just so fantastic and they’d say ‘come on now Mark’ and they’d get him breathing again.”

“I couldn’t put my hand into the incubator until he was five days old – all the things other people take for granted. I didn't get to take more than three steps with him because he was attached to an oxygen machine.”

Mark didn’t leave hospital until October, and twice, he aspirated (inhaled his food), and doctors fought to keep him alive. 

Liz told independent.ie: “Mark spent over 20 days ventilated, and four months on different forms of oxygen support. In Wexford General Hospital he developed an issue with aspirating and I was pulled out of the room when his oxygen levels reached seven per cent.”

“He had his first operation when he was less than six pounds. He left hospital on ten drugs-a-day and had to attend ten different types of medical appointments.”

Liz praised the staff that Holles Street Hospital and Wexford General Hospital for their care and support for the family. He is now thriving.

“He just started play school in September and is doing brilliantly. His teachers notice no difference to him and any of the other children except that he's currently a little smaller,” she said.

“He's no longer on any medication and down to only a few appointments. Thanks to all the team at Holles Street,” she added.

Text UNIT8 to 50300 TO DONATE €4* to the NMH Foundation. Texts cost €4. NMH Foundation will receive a minimum of €3.25. Service Provider: LIKECHARITY. Helpline: 076 6805278.

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