ANNE-MARIE MURPHY wasn’t hugely worried when in the 22nd week of her pregnancy, she encountered some common complications. She left work early and headed for hospital as precaution.
However, she soon discovered that she was already dilated, and that there was was little hope of her baby surviving if delivered so early.
Despite the odds stacked against him, Tommy Murphy was delivered two weeks later, and a year and a half later is doing great.
He features in a new calendar from Friends of The Coombe, which supports research in the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, as well as helping existing services available for mothers and infants to develop.
3 years in hospital
The calendar features 20 children, who combined spent more than 3 years in the neonatal unit of the hospital.
Each are dressed as what they hope to be when they grow up. For Tommy, his aim is to be a professional rugby player.
Anne-Marie told TheJournal.ie that Tommy, who features as Mr February, spent a total of 16 weeks in Coombe Hospital after he was born.
When complications arose at 22 weeks, a stitch was applied and held for a further two weeks. For that time, Anne-Marie simply had to lie down and wait. If he was delivered early, there was little hope due to the lack of a neonatal unit near her in Kilkenny.
Luckily the stitch held, bringing Tommy to the crucial 24 week stage — although they had been prepared for the worst:
“Close to 24 weeks, I was lying in my hospital bed waiting, and we had songs and poems picked out for the funeral, and clothes to bring him home in. Suddenly, the pain stopped, and I was brought my ambulance to the Coombe.”
Tommy was delivered by emergency c-section at 6.33pm on the 27th of June last year, weighing just 1lb 9oz, and spent his next 10 weeks in ICU.
He also spent four weeks on a ventilator until a course of steroids was needed to boost the development of his lungs in order for them to function on their own.
It wasn’t until October 13th 2012, the day after his due date, that he was able to be taken home.
The calendar is available to purchase online at www.friendsofthecoombe.ie.