Charity walking challenge with baby as thanks to neonatal unit

By Paul Hardman   |   Reporter   |
Friday 29th July 2022 4:00 pm
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Gemma Lloyd-Jones has raised £805 for the neonatal unit at Noble’s Hospital, as a thank you for the staff going ‘above and beyond’ during the complicated birth of her daughter.

The wedding photographer from Douglas walked 10,000 steps a day with Thalia, who is now eight months old, in her pram.

‘To some this distance doesn’t seem much of a challenge, but for us it was as we were fitting it round the routine of being a new mum,’ said Gemma.

Thalia was born via emergency c-section.

Her placenta was small and she struggled with labour because she was a smaller baby (at 6lbs 3oz or 2.8kg) which meant her heart rate was dropping rapidly and she needed to be transferred to the neonatal unit on antibiotics and on a feeding tube. Thalia spent three days in the unit.

‘People underestimate what a major operation a c-section is, because you’re basically getting your stomach sliced open,’ said Gemma.

She added: ‘Sometimes it’s talked about as the easy way out, but it’s really not

‘My tip to anyone that has a c-section would be to try to get active as soon as possible, because it really helps.’

Asked about how the idea to do the fundraising came about, Gemma said that decided to undertake the challenge a couple of months after the birth while she was still recovering from the caesarian.

She said that her partner Ben Dugdale had dropped into the neonatal clinic with a box of chocolates and a card as a thank you, and that they didn’t expect the staff themselves to have been so surprised by the gesture.

‘We’d have thought it would be very common for people to bring gifts in for them,’ Gemma said.

‘So I just wanted to give something back, while at the same time doing something to get me out of the house and active while I was recovering from the operation.’

Gemma talked about how her pregnancy was treated as low-risk and routine up until the point she became eight days overdue and labour was induced.

As she did not drive during the recovery, most of the distance was completed pushing Thalia in a pram along Douglas promenade, and the rest in Noble’s Park.

They did around two hours of walking a day.

Gemma said: ‘Most people trying to hit the number of steps would be able to just walk constantly, but we had to keep stopping so I could take her dummy out, and take care of other baby-related things like that!’

When Gemma was not feeling up to getting out and walking, Thalia would be taken out by relatives so that they still made the number of steps each day.

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