A Kirkcaldy couple who lost their baby daughter have launched Children’s Hospices Across Scotland’s (Chas) Christmas 2021 fundraising appeal.
Gemma Munro and Andrew Coupar’s daughter Georgia died in June and the family were supported by Rachel House, the Chas hospice in Kinross.
Georgia was born on April 28 at 25 weeks and six days and spent most of her life in the neonatal intensive care unit in Edinburgh before moving to Rachel House.
And now her parents have spoken out, thanking Chas and its nurses for the ongoing support as the charity’s latest fundraiser gets underway.
As soon as Georgia was born, she was out onto a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine and a ventilator to help her breathing and lung development.
Her parents were also made aware of a few bleeds on her brain due to extreme prematurity.
Gemma said: “Over time, they continued to do more head scans and we got the sad news that Georgia’s ventricles had also burst.
“Doctors sat us down and explained this could lead to potential disability in Georgia, but as her parents it didn’t faze us as Georgia was our daughter and we would support her whatever the outcome of disability in the future.”
Georgia then began to show some encouraging signs of improvement and was transferred from the intensive care to the high dependency ward, and was also moved off the CPAP to high flow oxygen supply.
She was our little warrior who didn’t give up easily.”
But further tests showed she had contracted E.coli meningitis and had to be rushed back to intensive care.
Gemma added: “Although this was a massive step back, we continued to remain positive that Georgia would fight this infection and overcome this because she was our little warrior who didn’t give up easily.
“Doctors started Georgia on the strongest antibiotics to fight off the meningitis which was a three week course.
“A few days into this treatment, Georgia went back onto her CPAP to help support her breathing as her little body was fighting this awful infection.
“Due to the ventricles bursting the meningitis had then spread to Georgia’s brain. She was then started on another round of antibiotics as well as the first antibiotics but after a week both of these weren’t touching the infection.
“Doctors had tried all they could but nothing was fighting the meningitis. Test results were doubling in infection markers and Georgia was very poorly.”
‘We felt like a family’
After the family received the devastating news that nothing more could be done for Georgia, CHAS stepped up to provide support.
This allowed the trio to spend precious time together as a family at Rachel House.
Gemma said: “When there, we finally got Georgia all to ourselves; we felt like a family, able to cradle Georgia and sing to her.
“Simple things parents take for granted but to us it was all we ever hoped for with Georgia.
“We just wanted to take her home and have our family life that we waited so long for but we had to make the most of our final hours together.
“Georgia spent her final hours at Rachel House, free of the hospital environment, free from all her tubes and constant buzzing medical equipment.
“Georgia was given the chance to be cradled like a baby, have the fresh air upon her face and taken on a walk around the garden listening to the sounds of the birds chirping.”
She added: “We went through the worst time in our life but it was made a little easier having the right support around us, we can’t thank Chas enough for their ongoing support.
“We are so grateful to all the staff at the neonatal unit for taking care of Georgia during her hard journey and also to Rachel House for making us feel so welcome.”
Georgia died on June 7 2021 at 9.15pm.
Further information on the fundraiser can be found on the Chas website.