Emersyn’s traumatic birth caused brain damage and a host of complications. Sadly, she isn’t able to access care from the state, which is why Satan’s Little Helper stepped in to provide a “crucial” piece of equipment.
With a sense of ‘famous last words’, Mackenzie starts to tell her daughter Emersyn’s story.
“I had a normal pregnancy and everything was fine, until I got to the birthing unit and the midwives started looking for Emersyn’s heart rate. They couldn’t find it.”
When Emersyn was delivered, there were further complications. It took 16 minutes of CPR before she registered signs of life, and 32 before she took her first breath. The new family was rushed to Christchurch hospital, where they stayed for a month.
“Emersyn ended up having an MRI scan, which showed she had severe brain damage from lack of oxygen,” explains Mackenzie. ‘She’s also developed cerebral palsy as a result.”
Nobody told her that
From that moment on, Emersyn has defied predictions. Doctors initially said she may not eat, walk, talk or move.
“We like to say that nobody told her that!” says Mackenzie. “In the past two months, she’s started doing everything she’s not ‘supposed’ to do. The other day Jared [her dad] and I took her to see Disney on Ice and she was clapping and bouncing, which brought a few tears to our eyes because that’s not something we ever thought we could do with her.”
The reason for Emersyn’s progress has been her access to therapy, but, because of the lack of funding available to Kiwi families, Mackenzie and Jared were forced to look overseas for help.
“There’s not a lot of therapy options in New Zealand, so we got in touch with a place in Australia that was able to design a home program for Emersyn.”
Part of her program includes using a bench donated by Satan’s Little Helper – and it’s played a key part in her recent progress.
“The bench has been crucial. No therapy equipment like that is funded in New Zealand and without it, she wouldn’t have developed like she has. We use it at least five times a week for an hour a day to get her to sit down, stand up and lean against it.
“Those repetitive moments teach her the mobility her body needs for the future and helps to build her strength. For example, she’s just gotten strong enough to support herself when she leans against the bench, which is a huge achievement!”
Work to do
Emersyn is now two years old and is under the care of a physio, which Mackenzie and Jared have to fund themselves.
“She can roll, almost sit by herself and scoot around but her wee friends who don’t have access to physiotherapy or equipment are nowhere near her level of strength and mobility. It’s really sad to see.”
Mazkenzie has a GiveALittle page set up to help with physio and equipment costs, which can be found here.