'It was a complete shock' - mum who gave birth at 25 weeks hails Rotunda staff
It was an emotional day at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin as families from around the country came to mark World Prematurity Day, which takes place on Saturday.
The day aims to raise awareness for babies who are born prematurely, with premature birth being the leading cause of death for children under the age of 5 worldwide.
Judy Mullane (41) from Blackrock, Co Dublin was there with her daughters Isabelle (3) and Amy (2).
Amy was born at 25 weeks and weighed just 890g. She stayed in the Rotunda for several weeks after her birth.
"It was something that came as a complete shock, it’s not something you expect that you’ll deliver a baby that soon," she said.
"You find yourself in ICU (Intensive Care Unit) and the world of hope that your baby will be the one who makes it. She had a rocky road but thankfully she’s doing really well now."
Judy described Amy as a "miracle" and a "beacon of modern medicine" and praised the hospital staff for the care given to her.
"The staff are still great to this day with the follow-ups. The whole team, the warmth and love that they gave to us.
"Amy used to call the nurses her aunties, they were so good to us and we’ll be forever grateful," she said.
Liam and Orla Kelly from Donabate, Co Dublin had their twins, Grace and Kaden (2) at 29 weeks.
The couple were in Clifden, Co Galway when Orla unexpectedly went into labour.
“They were in Galway for two and a half weeks and then transferred to Dublin and were here for five weeks,” said Liam.
“From the moment we got here, the full team looked after us the whole way throughout.”
Liam and Orla got to take the twins home when they were just under two months old.
“They were on heart monitors that would tell us if they forgot to breath,” said Orla.
“They were on them for two months at home and then they came off them and after that it was a lot of hospital appointments. Everything has to be watched very carefully.”
Liam believes World Prematurity Day is invaluable to raising awareness for early births.
“I didn’t know much about prematurity myself before these came along but to raise awareness is important,” he said.
Dr Afif El-Khuffash is a consultant neonatologist at the Rotunda and said premature births are more common than many people think.
“It’s important to highlight the fact that babies are born premature all the time,” he told independent.ie.
“Every year we have about 4,500 babies that are delivered in Ireland premature.
“We have about 1,500 admissions to our neonatal intensive care unit each year. A big portion of them are premature.
“Raising the profile of prematurity is important because it gets the government to hopefully invest more.”