October is Pregnancy Infant Loss Awareness month.
Claire Moloney, a mum who lost her baby, Molly, shortly after birth, told her poignant story to our reporter, Catherine McGinty.
With 16-month-old Millie on her knee, the young mum said: “I was pregnant with my first little baby. I unfortunately suffered a miscarriage at 11 weeks and we were heartbroken. A couple of months later, we got pregnant again and we were delighted.
‘Of course we were scared for the first 12 weeks, hoping to get over the early miscarriage stage but once we go over that, we were flying. I was happy. I was busy working. I was healthy, or so I thought. It came to a pre-natal appointment when I was 27 and a half weeks pregnant. It was with my GP in Buncrana. I got my urine and blood pressure checked and my blood pressure was showing to be a bit high and I had protein in my urine.
“Automatically they said, ‘We have to send you up to Letterkenny Hospital. It’s just a precaution, just to get everything checked out.’ They did a few more tests and checks in the hospital and said, ‘We’re going to keep you in overnight and keep an eye on you to see if anything changes.’
“Over the next couple of days, my blood pressure kept getting higher and higher. I received medication but it did not work. My blood pressure remained high and there was still protein in my urine. Over the next couple of days, things got worse and worse. My blood pressure got higher and higher. One evening then I felt I was not breathing properly. I was very short of breath. It turned out then I had pneumonia,” said Claire.
Clearly moved at the recollection, Claire continued: “But things were getting worse and I was moved to the Labour Ward. I could feel myself getting worse. I could feel myself starting to shake a bit and my blood pressure had gone up to 180 over 120 (normal blood pressure is 120 over 80). It was scary high, dangerous.
“I was then moved to ICU. I had the renal team, a medical team dealing with the pneumonia and a medical team looking after Molly, all around me at the same time. They decided then, my life was in danger, as was Molly’s, so I had to go for an emergency cesarean section.
“I was excited. I was going to meet my baby. I said to Daniel, my husband, ‘Whatever happens, do not leave the baby’s side. Wherever that baby needs to go, Dublin, Galway, do not leave her side, it doesn’t matter about me,” Claire recalled.
Claire was so unwell she was sedated and on a ventilator immediately after Molly’s birth.
Sadly, Baby Molly passed away a few hours later. But recalling that difficult time, Claire had nothing but praise for the “wonderful” staff of Letterkenny University Hospital and the charity Féileacáin.
She said: “Féileacáin is the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Association of Ireland. They provided Daniel and me with a Memory Box for Molly.
“It contained her hand and footprints, her photograph and a wee lock of her hair. They also gifted us a hand knitted blanket as a memento.
“I honestly could not have got through the whole experience of Molly’s death without Daniel. He is an amazing, strong, caring husband,” said Claire.
Claire recently organised a Scavenger Hunt to raise funds for the Pre-Eclampsia Foundation andFéileacáin.
She said: “This is the second year we ran the Scavenger Hunt, it was great fun and we raised €900 for two good causes. It was also Molly’s day, when we could remember and celebrate her short life, so it was important for us.
“My friend, Emer Parke and my father-in-law, Martin Moloney, helped me to organise the Scavenger Hunt, in and around Buncrana.
“In spite of the fact it took place the day after the horrendous flooding, we had a fantastic turn out. I must thank everyone who came along or made a donation.
“I would also like to thank the following businesses, without whom the Scavenger Hunt would not have been possible: Jay Doherty Photography; The Red Door; Niamh O’Donnell MUA; The Rusty Nail; McGrory’s Hotel; The Gym, Carndonagh; O’Flaherty’s Bar; SuperValu; Maria’s Hair; Duffy’s Chemist; Halfway House; The Lily Rose; Irwin’s Electricals; Ubiquitous; Maiden Heaven; Topline; Annette’s Hairdressers; Tierney’s Chemist; Hegarty’s; Food for Thought; Cards and Candies; John Broadway; Excelsior Bar; Callaghan’s Jewellers; Henderson’s; Grants Bar; Grant’s Butchers; Four Lanterns; Jewel Casket;Abrakababra; John Barr; FAB Beauticians; Grant’s Shoes; Subway; Glamour Hairdressers; Jackie Crossan’s; McLaughlin’s Motor Factors; Zissors Hairdressers; and Phyllis's shop
Claire also invited anyone affected by Baby Loss to join in the Global Wave of Light this Sunday at 7.00pm.
She said: “Baby Loss Awareness Week finishes with the global ‘Wave of Light’ on October 15, which has been designated, International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
“Families across the world simply light a candle at 7.00pm and leave it burning for an hour as a symbol of remembrance for all babies who have died too soon. The global ‘Wave of Light’ is in memory of all the babies who lit up our lives for such a short time.
“This year ‘Wave of Light’ is also going digital. Anyone who wishes to be part of this, can take a photograph of their candle and post it to Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #WaveOfLight,” said Claire.
If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Now editorial team. Between 9am and 5pm Monday to Sunday please call 074 9112712. Between 5pm and midnight please call or text 086 792 2103. Or you can email [email protected] at any time.