At Christmas 2021, Chanelle was fighting for her life having just delivered her baby son at 32 weeks. A year later she could look forward to celebrating Christmas with her children and family, and to living life to the fullest. Here’s her story:
“This time last year I didn’t get to celebrate Christmas or do our yearly Santa visit with my two older kids as I was in ICU (Intensive Care Unit). I had tested positive for Covid in November at 31 weeks pregnant. Then in a rapidly escalating situation, I developed a bad case of pneumonia and started having stomach pains. They thought that my baby was pushing up on my lungs so I had to have a C-Section at thirty-two weeks in Cork University Hospital.
I don’t remember leaving the theatre after that as I was fading in and out, and they soon realized that my lung was actually collapsing. A team from the Mater was called to come and assess me.
The team spent five hours placing me on the ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) machine – which takes over the role of the heart and lungs – and safely transferring me to the Mater Hospital in Dublin.
I was in the Mater for just over a week and they managed to slowly wean me off of the ECMO machine and, once I was breathing on my own again, they were able to send me back to Cork. The staff in the Mater saved my life! They were so caring throughout my stay and found a way of accommodating visits from my husband and my mother and keeping them updated daily on my progress, which brought such peace of mind.
Now we’re a year down the road and it’s a year that has had its ups and downs. I had a lot of healing to do. Plus, lots of doctor appointments and vaccines to be had as I had a bleed in my spleen, which meant I needed all my childhood vaccines again. My lungs are still recovering but I’m glad I am in a different place as I was last year!
Three weeks ago we celebrated my son Cian’s 1st birthday. It was an amazing, happy and emotional day for us all. He is a healthy and lively little man and never had any complications. I’ve gone all out this year as I look forward to celebrating Christmas with my children and family. We are living life to its fullest as we know how quickly it can all change!”
Chanelle, Co. Tipperary