In April 2007 at 32 weeks pregnant, we had just come home from a few weeks of life on the road with Westlife - tour bus, the works, and not so comfortable whilst pregnant with twins. I happily arrived back to put my feet up and prepare for the exciting arrival of our precious baby boys, thinking we had at least a couple of weeks!!!
We went to visit my husband Nicky’s parents’ home on the Wednesday where they presented us with two adorable Mamas and Papas carrycots. We were very excited late that night when we placed the carrycots in the twins’ room with my scan photos in each one imagining how things would be on their arrival. I do also clearly remember going to bed that night thinking perhaps something was about to begin a wee bit too early. That next morning, Thursday the 19th, we dashed into Holles Street hospital where I later discovered I was going into premature labour. The following morning, very early on a Friday they arrived by emergency Caesarean section. This is when we were introduced to the world of precious premature babies.
While we were very grateful and ecstatic that we had two healthy and perfectly well babies, we were at the same time filled with worry and concern for our new tiny babies. Later on that night, a little weary and upset, we were brought up to the ICU ward, and first met our beautiful but ever so small babies, one weighed 2lb 13oz and other weighed 3lb 10oz. We were able to have kangaroo care with our babies and treasure the early moments.
We were greeted by the amazing and helpful ICU nurses. It was heartbreaking when it was time to put our babies back in their little incubators and leave them for the night, when for 7 months of pregnancy they had been with me all the time. I could hear other mothers together with their babies through the corridors. I quickly got into a routine and looked forward to every visit and feed. There were times when it was very hard like when you saw your babies crying or looking distressed. Similarly, when you saw them pulling out their feeding tubes. This was very worrying, as you desperately wanted them to get enough of a feed, in order to gain sufficient weight.
The nurses kept in close contact with us to ensure we were there for feeds, nappy changes, cuddles and baths and I still felt close to the babies as I was in the hospital. When my stay in hospital was up and it was time to go home again we found this devastating when filled with so much emotions and I still with pregnancy hormones going crazy!!! Being part from each other was so difficult, I felt guilty every time I thought of them all alone in hospital in their little incubators. Through the pregnancy they were in the womb all cosy together and now I could not even cuddle them or hold them.
It’s hard to explain now when it seems such a short space of time but at the moment it’s hard to contemplate leaving your new born babies to one side never mind leaving them in hospital. We headed home not knowing how long it would be before they came home. I always stress on an extremely positive note we were constantly reassured how well and healthy our two little men were thriving each step of the way. The amazing team at the ICU unit work tirelessly for so many premature babies, some of whom are more sick and unwell. They are genius in the work they carry out and we will be forever grateful that our two boys got this amazing start in life.
I support Irish Premature Babies because of the valuable information they provide for parents when we take our little ones home. Like all new parents, we have a whole new set of queries, worries and so on. The extra information that applies to premature babies is now readily available to us and is extremely helpful and necessary. Sometimes we have just small questions about premature babies that we can’t run by our friends with full term babies, or even sometimes local health centres and GPs. Using www.irishprematurebabies.com is a very effective way of exchanging information about premature babies, along with supporting and helping to fundraise for the NICU’s and SCBU’s around Ireland.