IT finally feels like she is our own baby... That’s how Amy Fogarty summed up being able to bring baby Síofra home from Cork Maternity Hospital over seven weeks after she was born there.
Amy, a junior doctor, who specialises in obstetrics and gynaecology, had become concerned by her baby’s lack of movement while pregnant and decided to get checked out.
After various tests, it was decided that the baby was better out than in and Síofra was delivered 10 weeks prematurely on October 26, weighing just 2lbs 9ozs (1.18 kilos).
Since then, she’s been cared for in the neo-natal unit at CUMH, and Amy and her partner John O’Connell had an expectation of being able to get their baby girl home by her due date of January 4.
However, being the little trooper that she is, Síofra gave her mum and dad the best Christmas gift ever by being discharged early on December 16, weighing 2.4 kilos, double her birth weight.
Speaking from their home in Midleton, Amy said she was relishing what was now an entirely different experience of motherhood.
“It just feels so totally different now, being there for every feed, not having her on a monitor,” said Amy, 34.
Theirs is a happy ending, but Amy and John went through their fair share of ups and downs over the past seven weeks since their daughter was born.
When the Echo first spoke with the couple, they were coping well with their circumstances, and with Covid restrictions which meant only one of them could be with Síofra at a time in the unit.
At the time, Amy said: “Having separate times gives dads a chance not to be standing in the background and also takes the pressure off the mum, who might feel she has to be there all the time.”
But as the weeks went by, Amy honestly admitted that between the exhaustion, and being alone in the unit day after day, the situation became ‘horrendous.’
“I would go in every morning and come home in the late afternoon, and then John would go in at night. It was so hard to relax in the evening.
“After a while, not having John with me in the unit, really took its toll. It was manageable at the start but it became very difficult.
She said they’re only now realising the strain of travelling from Midleton to the city every day, negotiating traffic and the tunnel, and are loving every moment of being able to relax and stay at home.
Amy’s originally from Dublin and she said while her family can’t wait to see the new arrival, they’re making do with FaceTime for now over fears of Covid.
“My parents are more afraid of bringing the infection with them, than getting it. So we’re just enjoying getting to know each other for now,” she said.
After more than seven weeks on a monitor, Amy says, she has hardly put her daughter down and is making no apology for it!
“She’s never going to be out of someone’s arms — she’ll be totally spoiled.
“We don’t even care about the sleepless nights. Having her home is the best Christmas present ever.”