Saturday 17 August 2019

Brave mum who lost one of her beautiful twin babies on her first Mother's Day finds happiness amidst grief

Stephanie McNamee, a make-up artist with over 7,000 followers on Instagram, tells how she has found happiness with DJ Chris Emerson. The brave mother (25) lost one of her premature twin babies in 2013

Stephanie McNamee and Chris Emerson met while he was DJing in Ibiza. Photo: Doug O'Connor
Stephanie McNamee and Chris Emerson met while he was DJing in Ibiza. Photo: Doug O'Connor

Andrea Smith

Stephanie McNamee says her fiance Chris Emerson, has the ability to always make her feel better about situations. She may be only 25, but the popular make-up artist has been through a lot of emotional hardship in her life, particularly around the loss of one of her premature twin boys from a previous relationship.

Stephanie discovered she was pregnant with twins early on in the relationship with a previous partner. When she was 18 weeks pregnant, her waters began leaking, and at the 20-week scan it was noticed that Jacob was smaller than Reuben and he had a club foot. Stephanie was put on bed rest but then developed an infection, and the babies were born in the Rotunda via emergency section at 27 weeks. Reuben weighed just over two pounds and Jacob was just under. They were born on November 17, which coincidentally is World Prematurity Day.

The babies' early days were difficult, but they were soon thriving and putting on weight. Reuben went home in January and Jacob in February, but Jacob had to return to hospital for surgery for a hernia operation. He suddenly stopped breathing during a check-up at Temple Street Children's Hospital, and a nurse rushed him to be resuscitated in the emergency room. It would later be discovered that Jacob had contracted swine flu, and Reuben was also admitted to hospital with the same illness. Sadly Jacob's fragile lungs gave up, and the four-month-old passed away in March 2013. His funeral was held on Stephanie's first Mother's Day.

Stephanie says her gorgeous little Jacob was quieter than his brother, and it was discovered after his death that he was deaf. First-time mum Stephanie was grieving for one baby while caring for another desperately sick infant. Thankfully Reuben pulled through and is now a happy, healthy little boy. He turned five last Friday.

Stephanie's relationship with the babies' father ended a couple of months later.

Chris and Stephanie met on the first night of her holiday to Ibiza in 2013, a 21st present from her family. Chris was DJing in Ibiza for a month, and Stephanie recognised him from his 'DJ Chrisy' residency at The Wright Venue. "I was looking at her because she was beautiful, and as we got chatting, I discovered she was a really nice girl," he says. They exchanged numbers and met up when Chris returned home from Ibiza. As they began dating, Stephanie discovered that he was a very kind, sweet guy.

"I was a bit intimidated by him at first," she admits. "I thought he was really out there and would be a bit show-offish, being a DJ. As I got to know him, I realised that he was actually so soft and the total opposite to what I'd thought."

Stephanie was nervous telling Chris that she had a 10-month-old baby, but it didn't bother him in the slightest. She knew she had a good 'un when it didn't take a feather out of him that Reuben projectile-vomited into his eye the first time they met. Stephanie is also very close to her parents, Damien and Natalie. They were teenagers when she was born so her mum is only 41. She has a younger sister Jessica. Her parents' marriage ended when Stephanie was 18. Her mum is now married to Andrew and they have a three-year-old son, Caelan, who is younger than his nephew Reuben.

Chris says that he and Stephanie "couldn't get enough of each other" and moved in together after a few months. He proposed to her on a boat in Ibiza last September and they are hoping to marry in September 2019. Stephanie is thrilled that Chris is wonderful with Reuben and has a really great bond with him. They hope to have a family together in the future, but for now, they are really enjoying Reuben, whom they say is very affectionate, mannerly and funny.

They live in Chris's family home in Artane with his mum Monica, who is also great with Reuben. His parents are no longer together, and Chris comes in the middle of Monica and his dad Stephen's three children. He has a brother Stuart and sister Laura, and studied to be a computer systems technician.

After stints at Irish Life and Permanent TSB, he works in aviation IT at Dublin Airport with ESP Global Services.

Stephanie studied beauty therapy after school and had been working in retail when they met. Knowing that her passion was in beauty, Chris booked her on to a make up course with The Make Up Crew as a present. She followed this up with further training with Vanity X and is now working as a freelance make-up artist. She has become very popular for weddings and nights out, and really loves her work.

The grief of losing Jacob caught up with Stephanie two years ago and she felt really down. On special occasions like birthdays or starting school, she is always keenly aware that Reuben should have his brother by his side. She realised that when she started talking about it, the situation felt lighter, and says she can always talk to Chris, who offers unwavering support and always makes her feel good about herself.

"Stephanie would do anything for anyone without hesitation," he says, "but she has an inability to see how amazing she is. I remind her that her clients are attracted to her for her personality as much as her make-up skills."

Sunday Indo Living

Editors Choice

Also in Life