Tuesday 22 August 2017

The fab five catch up with Rotunda staff who helped them beat the odds

Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Coping with five lively adolescents, all aged 13, would be daunting for most parents.

Yet for Veronica and Kevin Cassidy it's a breeze compared to the early days of caring for their brood.

Veronica, from Bridgetown Co Wexford, gave birth to the quintuplets naturally in the Rotunda Hospital in 2001, but once the family of three boys and two girls were home after being nursed to strength in the neonatal unit, it was "chaotic".

"There were 25 bottles alone a day to be made up, not to mention the nappy changes. It was crazy, but we had plenty of help," said Veronica.

Conor, Cian, Rory, Amy and Dearbhail, who weighed between 1.5lbs and 1.11bs at birth, were the centre of a celebration as they returned yesterday to the neonatal ward in the Rotunda where they beat all odds to survive after being born at just 25 weeks and four days.

The first-year students remain very close, but were yesterday quick to point out their individual personalities.

The Cassidy family with quintuplets, front, from left, Conor, Amy, Cian, Rory, and Dearbhail, at the Rotunda Hospital where they meet some of the staff that cared for them 13 years ago.
The Cassidy family with quintuplets, front, from left, Conor, Amy, Cian, Rory, and Dearbhail, at the Rotunda Hospital where they meet some of the staff that cared for them 13 years ago.
Veronica and Kevin in 2001 with baby Conor

Dearbhail is quiet, Amy is loud, Conor is bossy while Rory and Cian are sporty.

"Sharing everything is the hardest part but we have a big birthday cake every year, so there is plenty to go around," said the friendly bunch.

Christine McDermott was one of the nurses on call for the special delivery. "Five of us came into the hospital from home and a team of five doctors was assembled as well. We all know which baby we were responsible for.

"I had Amy. She was very lively. I spent the whole night trying to stop her pulling out her lines.

"And her mother says she is still the same."

She said they have "done remarkably well" given their small birth size. "We had a nurse per baby for 24 hours for about 10 days until they had stabilised. From the beginning, the girls were more stubborn and feisty."

In their early years, they had some health problems with the girls undergoing an eye operation, while Cian had fluid drained from his lungs.

Irish Independent

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