By Romy Stephens
Almost five months ago Dave and Nicole Gallacher’s life was turned upside down, after Nicole collapsed with a bleed on her brain and as a result, they lost their baby son.
But the Mount Evelyn couple now want to thank their local community, which has since provided overwhelming support.
On 19 March Nicole – who was pregnant at the time – suddenly experienced severe headaches before becoming dizzy and collapsing.
“When I got dizzy I knew that something was really wrong,” Nicole said.
“I tried to call my husband but he was teaching and unable to answer, luckily I was able to call my Dad.
“While I was on the phone I fell face first and that’s the last thing I remember…Dad said I started to slur my words so he called an ambulance.”
Dave received three missed calls from Nicole and a voicemail converted to a text saying something was wrong.
“I tried to call straight back but the phone was answered by a male voice who introduced himself as Mike, a paramedic,” Dave explained.
“At that point I was very worried and ran down the school corridor and out the front door to get home as quickly as I could.
“Seeing Nicole on the floor in the living room with four paramedics around her was really scary.”
Nicole was rushed to the Austin Hospital where she went straight into theatre for emergency surgery on her brain, lasting over eight hours.
The complications meant the couple’s son, Ned, was born stillborn.
“Nicole’s lungs and heart were not working properly and the doctors needed to do everything that they could to save Nicole’s life,” Dave said.
“In order for the doctors to save Nicole, our baby had to be delivered. At 22 weeks, our gorgeous baby boy, Ned Roland Gallacher, went straight up to heaven.”
Nicole is now recovering in a rehabilitation hospital and she is well on her way to returning home.
Dave said the outpouring of community support the pair had received was what they loved about living in Mount Evelyn.
From their next-door neighbour offering to take his fence down to allow them access for gardening, to neighbours they barely knew offering anything they could to help.
“When Nicole does make it back home and I have to go to work, I know there are people around. I know there are good people around who have offered help and I know they are there to be able to call on,” Dave said.
Local businesses have also done everything they could to support the couple.
“We go to the Billy Goat Hill Brasserie and they know us there, they know what your coffee order is, they start making it before you order,” Dave said.
“They’ve been great with helping me but I’ve also been able to take some dinners and treats to Nicole.
“The last treat I took into her, Emma, Sarah and Andy were working and they each wrote a little message to her.
“Liam the butcher, who’s a few doors down, I saw him in the street…He offered any support he could give me when Nicole’s back at home as well.”
Dave said he also wanted to extend his gratitude to all of the medical staff that helped save Nicole’s life, in particular the four paramedics that had to break into the house to save her.
“Their work, their actions and their decision making is what gave the emergency team at the Austin the opportunity to save Nicole’s life,” Dave said.
“She was given such little chance to pull through at the Austin but what the ambos did at our place was brilliant and I can’t thank them enough.”