What would you do if this was your child? This was a powerful question I truly believe changed the course of Bobby’s journey at earlier stages when we had a lot of hope. Last week, almost 11 weeks on from Bobby’s death, I scrambled into the Insomnia coffee shop at the top of Grafton street before Lily and I were to board the Viking Splash with my friend Aoife and her son. That Justin Bieber song ‘Where are you now’ was playing; a song that brings endless tears when I hear it. My heart aches to know where Bobby is right now.
It brought me right back to March 12th when my obstetrician Deirdre had called me, as I sat in that same Insomnia coffee shop with Aoife, to see had we left the country. I had come into town that day quite literally dragged myself along with a smile on my face hand in hand with Lily. She knew nothing of the utter anguish I felt every day of my pregnancy from the moment of Bobby’s diagnosis. My heart was broken. Deirdre obviously knew us well by then; there was nothing we wouldn’t do for our son. Back then, Des and I had just sought a second opinion at 22 weeks following Bobby’s CDH diagnosis. I had queried the lack of lung bypass treatment readily available in Ireland. During the second opinion, our doctor had outlined the criteria for lung bypass (known as ECMO) and that Bobby may not even qualify. I then asked him that question ‘What would you do if this was your child’. And there it happened; it humanised our son and our doctor changed his answer. He would ensure his child was born where ECMO treatment was available. We had gone back to Deirdre all guns blazing wanting to move country; she managed to talk sense into us, for a short while. I urged Deirdre to ask her colleague that question; a doctor she had mentioned had worked with many CDH cases previously in Prague. Please ask him what would he do if this was his child?
I told Deirdre I was still in Dublin. And suddenly there was a plan. Deirdre had spoken to her colleague, asked him my question and suddenly there was a way forward! The tears streamed down my face. It was a Saturday; Deirdre was on call and she had had a lengthy discussion about our case. And now we were going to Belgium to see a CDH expert. I will never forget that moment, that feeling of hope, of feeling heard and it all went back to that question. Its a question I went on to use throughout Bobby’s journey; its a question I urge any parent with a sick child. Its a question I will never forget for the rest of my life. Its one of Bobby’s many footprints and I am so grateful to my own mother who always taught me to question things medically when in my heart I felt stones were left unturned.