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What Inspired Us

Glenn and I had discussed this idea many years ago when we were first together. We looked longingly at the lawn and stared at the rotary washing line. My thoughts were, can we get rid of that first please! I’ve always thought them to be an eyesore! Great until it rains!

Plans were made and discussion after discussion late into the night with a bottle of wine was had.

In October 2006 I discovered I was pregnant. We had been trying for quite a while and were over the moon. We had planned to marry on Glenn’s birthday in December, but that was put on hold! People that know Glenn will always say he’s a thinker, planner and a ponderer, so what happened next was a complete shock!

We went to St Heliers for our final hour long scan. The gentleman that did the scan told us we were having a healthy baby, although there was a high risk of Tate having ’talipes’ because of the size of him and not much room in my womb left. Not a problem, we could deal with that.

After receiving such great news, we went to meet some friends in our ’local’ to tell them all is well. Then Glenn, out of the blue, turned to them and announced we were getting married in two weeks! Two weeks OMG, five months pregnant and a wedding to arrange! We did it though without any problems, and I even did my own catering!

Two months later (and seven weeks early) on May the 11th 2007, my waters broke. After sixty-eight hours in labour and an emergency caesarean Tate came into the world. Glenn knew as soon as he saw him that something wasn’t quite right.

A very quick ’hello beautiful’ and Tate was taken straight to the SCBU (special care baby unit) in St Heliers. i got to spend about an hour with him before they took him away again back to the SCBU.

The next day we were called into the ’quiet room’ where Dr Kundu and a nurse were sitting. He very beautifully and kindly told us that Tate had Downs Syndrome. I cried for about two seconds, Glenn didn’t flinch (because he already knew in his heart) we held each other and we both said, "that’s ok; he’s our son no matter what. Where do we go from here?" The nurse then burst into tears, she couldn’t believe how well we’d taken the news, bless her! Tate was then moved the next day to St Georges. It was heartbreaking seeing him in an incubator, wires all around in the back of an ambulance without his mummy or daddy being able to go with him (they didn’t have any beds available until the following day). It was only when we got to St Georges that we found out the extent of Tates’ problems. My beautiful boy had an imperforated anus (an operation to take a piece of his bowel outside of his tiny body an ‘fitted’ with a colostomy bag was performed before we got there), talipes (Tate is still not walking due to this and is very heavy!), a 7mm VSD hole in his heart.

I looked at my son wired up to very bleepy machines and a wave of pure love came over me. Speaking as a never before mother I now understand what my friends with children tried to explain to me. It nearly knocked me off my feet!

So helpless and dependant on those machines, his life in the balance, we weren’t allowed to hold him which broke my heart. Glenn was so strong for me, but I know he crumbled when he left us to go home.

Finally Tate got stronger and we were able to hold him. Born at 7lb 1oz he looked like a Russian shot-putter next to the little 2lb babies! Although to me he was the tiniest most beautiful thing I had ever seen. To us Tate was Tate. We knew, although rarely discussed it, that we had a very long way to go.

Tate has had seven operations, open heart surgery and reversal of his imperforated anus. He’s possibly going to have another on his legs to help him to walk, but hey-ho, we’ve been through so much with him it’s just ‘another’ procedure! But now he’s older I understand that he will be much more aware of what’s going on. This is my worry.

The past six years have been an incredible ‘journey’ with Tate in our lives. We’ve been to hell but come out the other side. Glenn and I have become less selfish, strong and as a couple, incredibly close and unbreakable.

So now you’ve read this you’ll understand how much we want to help other parents. Feeling how we felt, going through all those emotions and heartache, thinking that there is no-one else going through this, no-one to talk to about what's happening in their lives. The struggle to deal with the never ending appointments, hospitals and visits.... the list is endless....

This is why Tate has been an invaluable part in the ‘Little Eden’ plan. He has given us a kick up the backside to get things done, get things made and built and I can never thank him enough. Maybe he’ll never know, but we do and that’s all that matters really.

When you watch your friends with ‘regular’ kids (we don’t use the word normal!) and you see the milestones, it’s wonderful to see. But with ‘our’ children, the milestones get more and harder to get to. Yet you ‘collect’ more of them as time goes by and to watch their progress from week to week. Being told ‘they’ will never walk, never talk, and to watch them defy medical assessment never ceases to amaze and make me proud. I usually have a tear in my eye on a Monday, but happy tears. These children are amazing and so are the parents.

‘Little Eden’ was created for you. You are not alone and never will be. Thank you Tate Harvey, we couldn’t of wished for more!