ONE-hundred-and-forty-one hospital appointments in the first 11 months of your baby's life would see any mum having to re-write her mammy manual.
Mayo mum of three Orla Gibney is now reaching out to other parents with her blog, Our Own Journey, the latest instalment of which is catchingly called 'Travel advice for the journey you had not packed for'.
The story of Orla and her youngest son, Eoghan Freeman, is one that offers great hope, but the blog also delves back to darker days, of a mother's guilt that her son's deafness started on 'her watch' while in the womb.
Leaving hospital for home in Kiltimagh in November 2014, Orla and husband Shane Freeman weren't unduly concerned when Eoghan failed the newborn hearing test.
“I remember when we got Eoghan’s diagnosis, I wanted to look back and know that I was always OK with the fact he is deaf,” says Orla.
“There was nothing I could do to change the path of our new journey. I quickly realised that as time went on I would never want to change it. To change direction would mean not having Eoghan.
“He has brought us on Our Own Journey where he has inspired us to see, hear and feel life in an amazing new way.”
The blog, says Orla, is an idea that has been in her head for a while. Having kept a journal since Eoghan's birth, lately she started to put the pieces together.
“After talking to parents online or at different appointments, etc., it's always the same thing that is said: 'I wish I did this at the start or I wish I knew that'. I just want to reach out to any parent that feels vulnerable after a diagnosis to say that they are strong enough to deal with anything.”
Eoghan has surpassed all the doctors' expectations. “We went from no hope to seeing him progress each day in a way we were told would not be possible. I wanted to start the blog to share that hope.”
You can follow Our Own Journey at oureoghanjourney.wordpress.com or on Facebook – Our Own Journey.