From the minute you find out you’re pregnant, your thoughts turn to the new life growing inside you. 

The experiences you’ll share, the milestone moments from the first word to the first day at school. 

But for Helen Breet, the future is uncertain. 

Her only child, Violet, was born more than two months early by crash Caesarean section after Helen suffered a placental abruption 30 weeks into her pregnancy. 

As a result of her dramatic arrival into the world, two-year-old Violet has quadriplegic cerebral palsy, epilepsy, cerebral vision impairment and is also non-verbal. 

However, in a cruel blow, the health service is only able to offer between 17 and 20-hours of physiotherapy a year to help Violet – denying her the chance of as fulfilling a life as she deserves. 

Helen says: “It’s been a horrible two years, not just for me but for everyone. 

“Watching Violet, she’s an amazing wee thing, she’s so happy, she’s always happy, but it’s looking at what other children are doing and knowing that she should be able to do it too, but she can’t. 

“We’ve been told she will be wheelchair bound and non-verbal.  

“We can’t fault her medical team, they’ve been amazing, but I want her to have the best chance and the more therapy she can get early on, the better the outcome will be.” 

Helen, from Antrim, enjoyed a fairly unremarkable pregnancy – despite the fact she has type one diabetes. 

“I looked after myself because I was pregnant and my blood levels had been great throughout,” she explains. 

“It was the Friday night and I said to my husband that I was going to bed as I didn’t feel too well. 

“I went to the bathroom and there was the tiniest amount of blood so I rang the foetal assessment unit and they asked me to come up.” 

Thinking she would get checked out and sent home, Helen was dropped at the hospital by her husband. 

And indeed, after a raft of tests, Helen was given the all-clear. 

“Everything was grand, the big doctor wasn’t concerned,” says Helen. 

“But then all of a sudden, it was panic stations. There was a midwife and she was amazing, she said ‘this girl needs to go to theatre’. 

“If it wasn’t for that midwife, I don’t know whether I would have made it or not.” 

Helen had suffered a placental abruption, which is when some or all of the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus before the baby is born. 

It was so severe that Helen was rushed straight to theatre. 

She continues: “I was told the normal section takes about 20 minutes but they had Violet out in three minutes. 

“I wasn’t awake, I arrived at the hospital at 11.15pm and Violet was born at 12.50am. That’s how quick it was.” 

Helen only saw Violet for the first time the following day before she was transferred to Craigavon Area Hospital as there weren’t enough neonatal intensive care cots in Antrim. 

“I saw the back of her head,” says Helen. 

Helen was discharged the following day and she went straight to Craigavon where she was finally able to hold Violet for the first time. 

It was 10 days before she was finally transferred back to Antrim Area Hospital when a cot became available. 

Over time, the impact of the placental abruption has become more and more apparent. 

“Violet still can’t eat proper food, she has to have everything mashed,” continues Helen. 

“The cerebral palsy can affect her tongue so she may end up having to be peg fed. 

“I think the best way to describe her eyesight is that everything looks like a kaleidoscope. 

“When she was about eight months, it seemed like she had an ear infection but then it turned out it was epilepsy. 

“Basically, Violet’s brain was starved of oxygen because of the abruption and we want her to get as much therapy as possible. 

“You’re always told that the earlier the intervention the better. 

“It’s frustrating and it’s frustrating for Violet’s physiotherapy team because they want her to have more. 

“She still can’t sit unaided, she can’t play independently, all I want is to give her a chance.” 

Helen has sourced a range of therapies but they are outside of Northern Ireland and the family must pay for them. 

As a result, they launched a fundraising drive and have already been overwhelmed by the support they have received. 

Most recently, Helen Reidy from Ivy Lane Floral Design Studio has teamed up with another local woman, Tracy Bell, to cover the cost of therapy in Lanzarote. 

Helen is also organising a quiz night on April 23 to help raise additional funds to help the Breet family cover the cost of treatments not available on the NHS. 

Helen says: “It means so much to us, I was crying my eyes out when I found out what Helen and Tracy were going to do. 

“All we want is to make sure Violet gets the best chance she can. 

“I would like her to be able to sit on the floor unaided and play with some toys. 

“I’d like her to sit at a desk at school without being strapped into the chair.” 

You can find out how to donate and also follow Violet’s journey here.