Maria Radley is a Cappoquin-native and mother of two who told Damien about her experience of having a premature baby.
Maria found out she was pregnant during the pandemic, but it wasn't until her 11-week scan that there was a realisation that the baby was too small.
Christina, who was born at 27 weeks, is Maria and husband Johno's second child. They also have William who is 11 and a huge GAA fan.
Christina had been notably small at every weekly scan and was finally born at 1.2 pounds, the same size as a 24-week-old baby.
Maria had been in denial about the fact that her baby was small until she saw her with her own eyes. When the doctors had said the baby wasn't growing, Maria didn't realise they meant her brain, heart, lungs, muscles, and digestive system, rather than just length-wise.
She was sectioned at 27 weeks after being in the hospital for four days. Her husband was allowed to stay in the room on compassionate grounds, but unfortunately, the couple had to go back to the room without their baby.
Christina was in intensive care for 102 days before she was allowed to go home. During those days, Maria and her husband couldn't hold her, but were allowed to change her nappy every two hours, and touch her head in order to get some skin-on-skin time.
Christina was 7 pounds 1 ounce and 16 weeks old when she got home. She is now 22 pounds at age one.
Maria never feels as though she is unlucky and cannot express her gratitude for the support she has received.
She did a walk called "The Big Walk for Little Lives" this year, where she walked 102km in 24 hours to represent the 102 days her baby spent in 24-hour care.
The walk raised €21 thousand for Bru Columbanus and Cork University Hospital via a website called iDonate.
In the final 5km of the walk, the people in Maria and Johno's parish had parked outside their houses and on the streets to walk the final stretch with them.
When they finally got home, there were roughly 60 people there finishing the walk by their side.
To hear more about baby Christina, click the link in this podcast.
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