Baby Evie battled to stay alive long enough to see her mum
A Dublin couple have spoken movingly about losing their twin baby girl just over an hour after her birth in heart-breaking scenes in RTE's hospital series The Rotunda.
Little Evie Brennan was diagnosed with anencephaly, a serious birth defect where babies are born without parts of the brain and skull, when she was still in the womb with her twin sister Lucy.
Critically ill, Evie clung to life long enough to see her mum recover from the anaesthetic given to her before an emergency C-section.
"An hour and six minutes she was alive," said her dad Mickey Brennan.
In the episode being shown on RTE Two tonight, Evie's parents, Mickey and Ciara, who have two other daughters Anna-Leigh and Halle, reveal how Ciara was rushed to the Rotunda in early labour.
They had been told at a routine 16-week scan that Evie wouldn't live long after being born. "We were basically told 'your little baby is going to die'. That's the words that stuck in my head," said Mickey.
The hospital team were unable to give Ciara an epidural so she would be awake for the birth and had to administer a general anaesthetic for the emergency procedure.
"They had to rush me to theatre but there wasn't even any time to give me the epidural or the spinal block, so they had to knock me out which I didn't want because, obviously, Evie..." said Ciara. "They had no option because I fully dilated, the babies were coming."
But they told how Evie stayed alive until her mother regained consciousness. "Lucy was born at five to six and Evie was born at 5.57 and she stayed with us until 7.03," said Ciara.
"She waited until I came round so that was nice," she said. "I was delighted then to see her still alive and to get even a few minutes with her."
Mickey told how he spent the hour his daughter lived telling her all about her family.
"They brought Evie out to me and I was there on my own. I spent the time talking to her and telling her about who I was, who her mam was and her sisters, her granny and grandparents and cousins and I told her about the dogs.
"I wanted her to know all the things. Even though she was there for an hour, she was somebody and this is what she would have been."
RTE filmed bereavement midwife Emma taking hand and footprints from both Evie and her Lucy to preserve precious memories for the family.
"It's all about making memories. They started off together so every memory we make as much we can we include Evie and Lucy so Mum and Dad will have them together," Emma said.
The Rotunda will be shown on RTE Two at 9.30pm tonight