Magic of hearing 'mammy' and 'daddy' for couple who suffered pregnancy despair
HER parents waited nearly 10 years, suffered seven miscarriages and the death of a baby daughter until finally their prayers were answered.
Little Ellianna Hope Marie Thompson was welcomed into the world 18 months ago by her elated mum and dad, Noreen and Ger.
Ellianna – meaning "God has answered me" – is now getting into all kinds of mischief like any toddler, and saying her first words, "mammy" and "daddy".
"It was the most magic feeling hearing those words for the first time," her mum revealed. "I still look at her in her buggy sometimes and say to Ger, 'Wouldn't you run away with her?' and he tells me, 'You don't have to, she's yours'."
The couple, from Murroe in Co Limerick, have shared their story to give hope to other couples who have suffered the pain of miscarriage.
Noreen says the couple were devastated after her first pregnancy ended in miscarriage after a few weeks.
She got pregnant again, but also miscarried. She also suffered complications which resulted in emergency surgery.
Her first five pregnancies never made it past the first trimester. Her sixth was an ectopic pregnancy and she had to undergo a medical termination at University Hospital Limerick (UHL).
In 2009, on her seventh pregnancy, Noreen gave birth to a girl, Kayla Elizabeth, at just 22 weeks and weighing less than 1lb. "That was the most devastating part, to hear her cry after she was born, and then for her only to live for two hours," she recalled.
"When you miscarry you don't have a picture, but when we had Kayla she was there in our arms, our baby, but then we were going to lose her and had to bury her."
Noreen suffered her seventh miscarriage before Christmas the same year and was adamant to keep trying until she reached 40.
When she got pregnant again, she was taken into UHL at 16 weeks where she remained until Ellianna decided she was ready to be born at 33 weeks, when her mother was 39.
Last weekend, Ger spoke about their experience at the remembrance Mass for babies at the Holy Rosary Church on the Ennis Road in Limerick.
In gratitude, the couple has raised €6,000 for the neonatal unit at UHL and Irish Premature Babies.
Noreen has this advice for other couples: "If you have the strength in you, keep going and never give up unless a doctor or gynaecologist tells you there is no hope.
"We have a beautiful daughter now after nearly 10 years of heartache. But when your heart is aching for something you just keep on trying."