Emma Gardner

Creator of Mama Be Okay

Read Emma's Story

Hi I'm Emma and this is Dotty.

When Dotty was 3 weeks old our world turned upside down as she began to have what looked like multiple seizures a day. Initially she was treated for epilepsy but was later diagnosed with severe silent acid reflux (GERD). After 4 separate hospital stays, copious tests and a lot of trial and error when it came to her medication, we managed to get her condition under control from around the time she was 5 months old.

As time went on, it became clear that Reflux wasn't the only thing at play as she wasn't progressing as she should be. Over the course of the next two years, we saw numerous Consultants, Specialists, GPs, Dieticians, Paediatricians, Physiotherapists and Speech Therapists to try and get to the bottom of what was wrong. Eventually, in September 2016, at just over two and half years old, she was diagnosed with a genetic condition called STXBP1 by specialists at Great Ormond Street. It's caused by a mutation of one of her genes (her STXBP1 gene to be exact) and can result in epilepsy, intellectual disability and other neurological problems. It's not something we passed on to her, it just happened and it's directly responsible for the delay in her development.

As you can imagine, becoming Dotty's mother has been one hell of a baptism of fire and life has proved challenging most days since. But in spite of the difficulties, it's a life full of love and respect, expertly organised around a beautiful little girl that I couldn't be more proud of. I marvel at her strength and the effect she has on me. She's changed me forever for the better and for that, I'm truly grateful.

Mama Be Okay started as a safe place for me to ramble on about our experiences in the hope of connecting with others dealing with similar things. But more than that now, It's helping me come to terms with what's happened and embrace life as a special needs parent.

Dotty has given me a sense of purpose and something to say.
So here I am, saying all of it with my fingers crossed that it'll make some of you laugh, cry and hopefully not die of boredom in the process.

I hope you enjoy it.

Em x

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