Alannah O’Malley

Alannah was born on 7th May 2006 after a normal pregnancy and very fast delivery. All appeared fine and we were thrilled with our little girl. She didn’t feed that well in her early months and the GP was a bit concerned about her weight which was “yo-yo-ing” but despite various checks with various medical professionals, nothing was pin pointed until she was 4 months old. The worst day of our lives occurred on September 22nd 2008, when we went from having a happy but skinny little girl, to having a happy, skinny little girl which a heart condition. The next day she was in emergency surgery and 2 weeks later we received the diagnosis of 22q11 deletion. There’s no denying that her first year was tough on all of us (big brother Louis included), but we kept things steady thanks to the amazing help and support from Grandparents. There were numerous hospital trips, sicknesses and bugs too many to remember, nights spent coughing and vomiting…..I could go on! Alannah spent her 1st birthday in intensive care at the wonderful Brompton Hospital recovering from major heart surgery. Development was slow until she was around 3/4 years old but then we seemed to turn a corner. Nursery (with a Learning Support Assistant) did wonders for her and she moved on in her appropriate year group, to a mainstream primary school in September 2010. She has thrived at this school and has such confidence now that we would never have imagined possible. Sure, some things are still difficult for her but she has friends, she can talk, she eats, she can read, she can spell, she can add and subtract – all things that we were not sure would ever happen for her. We know that it won’t always be this way and that more heart (and possibly other) surgery will be needed soon, but we are grateful every day for the way our eyes have been opened and our lives changed, since having Alannah.

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