Why did we start Love, Grace’s Place?
A little information on me. My name is Pauline Gabbett, I was a mammy to 2 beautiful children, Gerard
and Isabelle before my last pregnancy. Finding out I was pregnant after 7 years was exciting but so
daunting, back to night time feeds, nappies, starting all over again after kids were so independent!!!!
Everything was going smoothly, plenty of morning sickness and tiredness, all the usual pregnancy
symptoms. People would comment on how small my bump was but I never even give it a second
thought as I was small bumped on my other two children.
At 28 weeks I went in for my checkup and anti-d injection as I am O rh negative. An amazing nurse
noticed my bump was pretty small so sent me for a scan. Now the fun begins.
Turns out my beautiful baby just was not growing, we gave her a few days to see if she was just small or
was this a serious problem . It was a problem, so at 29 weeks my baby needed to be delivered by
emergency C-section. On 22 October 2018, at 11 weeks early, my daughter Grace was born weighing
780g, she was the tiniest little thing I have ever seen.
Grace was immediately admitted to Limericks neonatal unit. It was the scariest moment of my life. What
will happen now? Will she be ok? Everything runs through your head.
Grace had such a hard fight ahead of her, she had to battle her way to survival. At 13 days old Grace had
to be transferred to the Coombe, Dublin. She spent 3 weeks there, while I was in Dublin I was put in
accommodation for parents, free of charge. Free of charge, that’s what allowed me to stay with my baby
who depended on me. Depended on the milk I had to Express for her, the kangaroo care she needed to
have so she knew we there. I couldn’t afford the hotel prices not indefinitely. It took my focus away
from the financial burden and I could solely focus on what was important, my baby fighting for her life.
When the fog cleared and Grace was well enough to come home after 98 days, I sat back to take a
breath and reflect on what we went through. How did we manage? Family split, life in a heap, but we
did. We got through it, only for the support we received from the Nurses in UMHL and help we received
in Dublin. It made me think who provides a service like this in Limerick for the parents that don’t reside
Simple answer NOONE.
So Love, Grace’s Place was born. I wanted to bring this issue to the forefront. Parents sleeping in cars to
be nearby , mothers so stressed by travel that their breastmilk supply suffers which in turn means baby
may need to use a donor milk. I cannot sit back knowing this is a very real problem.
At Love, Grace’s Place we will fundraise and promote so parents will have somewhere to safe to stay. We will in the
future have a permanent solution, we will have our own facility to accommodate the parents.
I would also like to take this opportunity to share my thanks to the Doctors and especially the Nurses in
UMHL. The work you do everyday, to give these warriors the very best care is heroic. You were heroes in
our eyes from the minute you stepped in to care for Grace. The support and care you give to the families
is above and beyond. In some of the scariest times you are the light.
Grace's journey in picture