“Take care of you, because you matter too.” - Sherry’s Story

Sherry first pic

When Sherry delivered her daughter Jevonne at 29 weeks, holding her daughter wasn’t what she envisioned it to be. She felt a whirlwind of emotions, including fear, but made great friendships during her months in hospital, alongside hope, strength and love in the life that she made.

How it all began…

It was a very lovely summer's day in Portsmouth in 2007 - I was seven months pregnant and making my way to work. I was finally over the morning sickness (thanks to lots of chewing gum), and felt excited to meet my cousin after work for the last bit of hospital bag shopping. However, a phone call from the clinic changed all that. I wasn't due to see my midwife until the following week, but the duty midwife said that they had to change some appointments around, and wondered if I minded popping in. It turns out that her phone call saved our lives! She informed me that I had very high blood pressure, so I was sent straight to the hospital.

On arrival, there was a rush of doctors, nurses and lots of activities. I remember thinking - why all the excitement? I was still planning on going shopping! However, this hope was quickly dashed as I was informed that I had pre-eclampsia and needed immediate bed rest. I was shocked, scared and alone, as my then-husband was on deployment with the Royal Navy.

On 23 July 2007, at 29 weeks, just before 4:30pm, our little miracle baby was born by emergency cesarean section. She weighed just under 3 lbs. What followed were months in the hospital and a whirlwind of emotions that made it all so difficult.

I remember holding her for the first time – it wasn’t what I envisioned while pregnant. All the wires, the sounds of the beeping machines, the cluttering of hospital noises, babies crying, the feeling of complete fear! Yet also, the wonders of the little life you made. How precious. How tiny. How helpless. Yet in those moments, you find that your strength returns. So does your hope, your love and even though you are scared, just for those few minutes, life is perfect!

We made some great friendships during those months in hospital. Occasionally we still meet up with the families who are on this journey. For that I am grateful, because without them I don't know how we would have got through those dark days.

Sherry second pic

So where are we now?

We are channelling through the waters of the teenage years! Seriously though, it has been extremely hard work, yet honestly rewarding. Jevonne has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, learning difficulties, and wears glasses because she is short-sighted. Yet, she is fearless, determined, cheeky, happy, bossy and such a diva!

We are so proud of her. Her determination has seen her accomplish some daring challenges both medically and socially. She has done modelling, acting, kayaking, archery, rock climbing and performing arts. We have travelled to Scotland, New York, around England and to my homeland of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean, which was not easy considering Jevonne cannot stand or walk unaided, so uses a wheelchair. We are planning our next adventure if Covid allows. So, watch this space.

What's next?

We are looking forward to the future and helping her to be as independent as possible. Learning life skills. suited to her abilities. She loves helping and I encourage her to do what she can. Her room is spotless!

Lessons learned:

  • Take it one day at a time. If that day seems long (and it will at times), then take it one moment at a time.
  • Don't be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help when you need it.
  • This moment in time will pass.
  • Take care of you, because you matter too. Do one thing for you. It's not selfish, it's self-preservation.
  • Cry. Talk. Pray. Meditate. Walk. Exercise. Do what you need to do to cleanse the soul.
  • Journal. You will be surprised how much this helps. It doesn't have to be words, it can be drawing, scribbles, or colouring.
Sherry third pic

Final thoughts…

There's more support available now than when we started this adventure. That's what I call it - 'an adventure.’ A page turned in life, even though sometimes, I don't want to turn the page, I want to close the book! But I promise you, it's life filled with unimaginable rewards. Our home is filled with madness and lots of love. In fact, that’s how we welcome people into our home, by saying “Welcome to the madhouse.”

Even through the tangled schedules of appointments, therapies, school, work and carers, we find time for the silly stuff like games, face mask, pizza and movies night, afternoon teas, making silly videos and making dens. Because what is love without a bit of fun?

Here's wishing you all the best in your adventures. Hold tight through the storms. Relax, repair and re-evaluate during the still times. Always look up, because the best sailors navigate by the stars, moon and sun. We navigate our adventures through the one who made all these. Sending you our love on your adventures.

Love and best wishes,
Sherry and Jevonne

Sherry and Jevonne 1