When Coady Dorman was 29 weeks pregnant she was forced to have an emergency C-section to deliver her son after she discovered she had pre-eclampsia.
The condition that affects pregnant women usually in the second half of their pregnancy meant that the make-up artist had dangerously high blood pressure and doctors decided to deliver Matthew 11 weeks early.
It was the expert care from baby charity Bliss that helped her through the trying time. She was so inspired by the support she received she was soon volunteering for them and raising funds to help other parents of premature babies.
Now she is up for an award for her good works at the Scottish Charity Awards after being nominated by Bliss as a Charity Champion. She said: “It took a while to sink in. I don’t do it for a reward, I do it because I love helping people. I’m so honoured to be nominated and shortlisted.”
Coady, from Broxburn, has raised thousands for the charity in the two years since Matthew’s birth but it was her first solo fundraising effort that is her most memorable. She had been feeling down and needed something to focus on so organised a walk across the Forth Road Bridge. Little Matthew had just began to take his first tentative steps when he toddled part of the way. It was a proud moment for the mum who was convinced she would never hold her son in her arms after such a dramatic birth. She said: “Matthew is my passion and inspiration. When I found out I was pregnant I researched everything – even the bad stuff – so when I started to develop symptoms of pre-eclampsia I knew something was wrong.
“The doctors tried to keep him in as long as possible but at 29 weeks my organs started to fail and he had to come out. It was terrifying and all so quick. I didn’t think I’d have a baby after all of that.”
But after a nine-week hospital stay Matthew came home and Coady is grateful to the staff at the St John’s Special Baby Care unit in Livingston who took such good care of them. She visits the unit at least once a week to offer support or a listening ear to parents of babies who are born sick or too early as a Bliss volunteer. She said: “It can be so scary facing that, especially if it’s the first child, many people don’t know what to do.” Coady shares her own experience and tells them that she’s been there and come through the other side and it does get better. She said: “I really enjoy being a shoulder to cry on. Being in the hospital with a baby can get lonely and boring just watching them in their incubator.”
Coady enjoys a close connection with many of the parents she meets after sometimes spending weeks with them in hospital and loves receiving updates on their children who are all fighting fit now. “It gives you a new outlook on life,” she said. “It’s a privilege to work with these special babies.”