Sunday, April 1, 2012

Why This Blog

January 22nd 2010
I never really fancied myself as a blogger but I've decided to start this one for a few reasons.  As  mother of 5 beautiful (I think so anyway) children aged between 5 and 13 it was looking for a long time like that was it.  A sad pattern of miscarriage was emerging so baby  number 6 was looking  like a pipe dream.  Maybe it was time to move onto the next chapter?

Just before the summer  holidays the children's school had a fund-raising drive whereby the school benefited by €2.50 for each bag of old clothes, linens etc. collected.  I grabbed the bull by the horns, being both in declutter mode and  reeling from yet another miscarriage,  and filled some of the bags with all my babygros, baby sheets, socks, vests...the full gamut!  Can you see where this is heading? Within a month there were the two familiar pink lines and two early scans showed this baby was here to stay!!  We were thrilled!!
Unknownst to us, the children had been on a prayer drive headed up by the eldest, Rebecca, first of all for a baby and subsequently for it's survival!!  I'd always assured them that God  loves the prayers of Children and the Sick  and thus their confidence was high that they'd get their request.

Well anyway, after a very nervous few months for me, I was breathing easily and could hardly wait to discover at the routine Ultrasound Scan whether the little one was a boy or girl.  However, with the benefit of hindsight, I now recognise that God was gently preparing me for that day.  Firstly, for the only time since my first pregnancy, I'd asked John to take the morning off and come to the scan with me.  Then without seeking them out I'd read a number of articles, seen beautiful videos on FaceBook and so on which were laying down the foundations I was soon going to be needing.  Finally, that morning I did something I never do...wore no eye make-up! Leaving the house I tucked some tissues in my bag, again something I rarely do.

The rest of this post will show the reasons I'm sharing my story which is really just beginning.  I'm hoping it will help both me and also anyone else who's heading down a road that looks so scary.  Maybe as the road unfolds it'll be better than the beaten track and we can all come out better than before in spite of the bramble scratches, stumbles over unseen barriers and maybe even some beautiful sunny and refreshing copses.


After the usual wait, John and I were welcomed into the Ultrasound room by the Sonographer.  All was normal at first and we were told we were having a little daughter then she indicated to us that she wasn't seeing what she was hoping for and went on to point out the large fluid filled area at the back of the brain and the fact that the cerebellum seemed small.  Not alone that, moving to the heart it was clear even to me let alone John who is a GP that it didn't look right.  The girl explained that the tricuspid valve wasn't visible and that as a result the right lower ventricle was seriously underdeveloped.  A large hole between the two upper ventricles was also clear to see.  I slipped into surreal mode and presumed like a child going to her father with a broken toy that ' They can fix it, can't they?'

We waited for about an hour to see the consultant and fellow of fetal medicine who rescanned on another machine and came up with the same thing.   At this point it was presented to us that this could possibly be a condition incompatible with life and an amniocentesis test would be required to assess whether seeing any other specialists would be worthwhile.  We agreed to this and the test was done.  I was shaking slightly by now and of course pretty tearful but strangely at the same time I felt calm and that God was here in all this.

The next three days went by and I think I heard every tick of the clock.  Thursday came and the phonecall from the hospital gave us the only bit of news I wanted...the initial chromosomal results ruled out the 3 main fatal conditions...we could put up a fight for our beautiful daughter!!  It would be another 3 weeks before the full chromosomal result returned with a normal result. We were still of course left with these two serious anomalies but at least now we'd see a fetal cardiologist and have an MRI done on the baby's brain to get a more definitive picture.

Well without going into a blow by blow account, our lovely cardiologist  saw us pretty quickly and we came home on a high..he diagnosed tricuspid atresia and  was optimistic the heart could be operated on in 3 operations to reroute the blood to the lungs by an alternative route.  The MRI carried out on Monday of Christmas week resulted in the confirmed diagnosis of Dandy-Walker Malformation...DANDY WHAT?


  1. Submitted on 2010/12/15 at 7:26 pm

  2. Submitted on 2010/11/15 at 7:53 pm
    How is little Louise doing ? Its a long time since we have heard news . Hope she and all of you are super well . LOTS OF LOVE Nuala

  3. Submitted on 2010/10/22 at 4:23 pm
    Dear Jennifer,
    Just reading your “blog” on little Louise, it’s so amazing to travel down the road with you, John and all the family. What an inspirational person you are. Having met the beautiful little Louise for myself makes reading this even more special. You have always had my prayers, but now I will pray even harder. Would’nt it be great if everyone read this instead of reading the daily papers. Much love and a big hug for the bravest little girl ever.
    Saidhbh xxxx

  4. Submitted on 2010/03/17 at 12:26 am
    Jennifer, first of all congratulations on the very imminent arrival of your daughter, Louise. I had no idea that you were expecting another baby. Well done. You are now firmly in my thoughts and prayers as I too know the heartache of losing a child through complications invitro. May God be by your side during this time and help you through whatever is to be. No one could be more loved at the moment than your Louise and I wish you all every joy and happiness, courage and strength and most of all acceptance. Love and prayers, ANNE

  5. Submitted on 2010/02/21 at 6:40 pm
    Dear Jennifer & John,
    We have been following your blog and continue to be touched by each new entry describing your family’s courageous journey in anticipation of the arrival of your precious baby Louise. Through your words, we are all somehow sharing in this experience and already feel so connected to this tiny baby who is facing some challenges but couldn’t be blessed with a better set of parents and siblings to help her get through them. Hope to make the trip to Ireland one day soon to meet our newest cousin and her incredible family!
    Love and prayers,

  6. Submitted on 2010/01/24 at 7:29 pm
    What a great idea!! Sharing little Louise’s life with us so we can befriend her already. From experience I know that while the medical picture is bad children can surprise us all and please God with all the support this little life will beat all the odds!! Keeping you very much in mind… enjoy these days while she is still inside you …these are special bonding times …C

  7. Submitted on 2010/01/23 at 10:50 pm
    Hi Jen (and John et al).

    Just after I saw your entry on FB the other week, I did what probably many others will have done – googled this new “term”. I watched, with interest and a lot of hope and then happiness, the video you subsequently published afterwards. Thank you. I think you are doing the right thing with this blog, and I will check into it regularly.

    I can only imagine the shock you must have both got at that first scan, and I really hope that all of your prayers are answered – they are certainly well deserved. You’ve opened our eyes to Dandy-Walker, and I am looking forward to meeting little Louise, who if she’s anything like her siblings, will be an absolute delight!!

    If you need any help with the blog, please let me know, and I’ll do what I can.

    All our love – Simon and Pauline.

  8. Submitted on 2010/01/23 at 6:11 pm
    You were born to do this! I feel blessed to be able to accompany you on your road less travelled.

    God Bless you all, you’re amazing!

    In anticipation……….

    Yours aye, Steph xx

  9. Submitted on 2010/01/23 at 3:43 pm
    Dear Jennifer,

    I guess if anyone is able to write a blog at this ‘challenging’ time it is you. I feel very lucky to have met the Kehoe family and reading your Blog you are certainly inspirational.

    I look forward to keeping up to date with developments and seeing how we can all give ‘Team Kehoe’ support.

    Also, this Blog will need to do until we see you all again and meet Baby Louise. You know that you are in our prayers and thoughts.

    Love to all
    Frae sunny Hawick