Thursday 24 October 2019

'I'd no idea I was pregnant,' says teen who gave birth on kitchen floor

Surprise arrival: Milaois Murphy, baby Harper and partner Jack
Surprise arrival: Milaois Murphy, baby Harper and partner Jack

Lynne Kelleher

A teenage mother has revealed how she was completely unaware she was pregnant - until she gave birth in her kitchen to her tiny one-pound daughter.

In RTE's heartwarming series The Rotunda, 18-year-old Milaois Murphy tells how her mother Victoria was convinced she had appendicitis until her waters broke at her home near Phoenix Park in the middle of the night.

While an ambulance was en route to take the teenager to hospital with stomach pains, her premature baby arrived at just 26 weeks.

Milaois, who now has five-month-old Harper at home, said her mother's actions in resuscitating her baby daughter were heroic.

"Harper was born on the kitchen floor," she said.

"When she came out she let out a little cry and then she stopped breathing so me ma had to resuscitate her.

"The baby was only the same size as her hand. She was just a pound.

"If it wasn't for her... she is a super mammy. I think the ambulance men were telling her how to do it.

"The ambulance and the fire brigade were just amazing. They did kind of scare me a little bit when they said they had to put the baby in a plastic bag to keep her warm.

"At that time, I didn't even know what I had. I had so much adrenaline going around my body I didn't feel pain any more."

Milaois told how she was feeling sick all that night, but she had no idea she was pregnant.

"I had back pain and I couldn't sleep at night but that was my only symptom. I thought I was getting a bit chubby," she said.

"The baby could have been kicking but I didn't know because I never had a baby and I thought it could be wind or something.

"That night, I was vomiting and vomiting, and I said 'Ma, I need to go to the hospital'.

"We thought it was my appendix and we rang the Mater at about 3am.

"Within seconds I felt pressure and my waters broke everywhere.

"Ma knew straightaway and told me to relax and called my sister and the baby literally slid out into my trousers.

"I was brought to the Rotunda. I was so numb with the shock that it didn't click with me until the next morning that I had a baby.

"Then I went up and I saw her and the mother instinct immediately kicked in. Then I rang her father and we went up and picked her name."

RTE series The Rotunda catalogues the long and difficult road for baby Harper who was in intensive care for months and is seen having laser eye surgery on the show.

Consultant neonatologist Adrienne Foran said the arrival of baby Harper at one pound and 11 ounces was a huge shock to her young parents, Milaois and James.

"Harper was smaller than a bag of sugar," she said.

"She was about 20 minutes old when I met her. She had come in with no heart rate but responded very well to initial resuscitation.

"We had to ask Milaois after having that big shock to express her own breast milk, which was the best thing for the baby.

"That's an awful lot to ask a girl who five or six hours earlier went to bed with not a care in the world to find out she was in labour; had a baby she wasn't expecting who is potentially very sick, very premature."

Doting mum Milaois said she was so thankful her baby has been strong since her birth.

"You're a strong little one", she says to her daughter on the show.

"There are people who will say we're very young, but we don't care. At the end of the day Harper is the one making us proud.

"She has proven everyone wrong. I just want to keep cuddling her.

"She was in the hospital for about three months, and had two laser eye surgeries."

Harper's father James Mulligan said he couldn't wait to go in and hold her every day.

"It's crazy how happy she can make you. She is such a strong baby," he added.

Milaois plans on returning to school in the coming year to complete her Leaving Cert but for now she is now concentrating on caring for her daughter.

"It's just mad, all of it. I had nothing ready. I didn't know I was pregnant," she said.

"The neighbours and my family and James's family were so great. She's eight pounds now but still looks like a newborn."

Episode four of The Rotunda will be shown on RTE2 tonight at 9.30pm

Herald

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