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'I want people to know that there is hope' - new mum who beat virus

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Dionne and Eddie have a cuddle with little
Bradan at home after going through a Covid-19 nightmare

Dionne and Eddie have a cuddle with little Bradan at home after going through a Covid-19 nightmare

Dionne and Eddie have a cuddle with little Bradan at home after going through a Covid-19 nightmare

A warrior mum who fought Covid-19 and a litany of other dangerous conditions to give birth to her miracle son must now plan a funeral for his twin - who she never knew existed.

Dionne O'Rourke Ryan, originally from Donore, Co Meath, became the first woman with Covid-19 to undergo a caesarean section in the Rotunda Hospital when little Bradan Fergus came into the world 12 days ago.

The five pound bundle of joy was the baby Dionne and Eddie were told for seven years they may never have naturally.

It was also the little boy that doting mum feared wouldn't make it as she fought extreme nausea, sickness and high blood pressure, before contracting the deadly coronavirus.

However, the elated couple, living in Blanchardstown, were devastated when they were hit with the news tests showed another little foetus clinging on to her placenta.

"I had been told that I may never produce my own eggs for a baby and was told that my weight could be a factor," said Dionne.

"So I lost over six stone. I felt sick one day with what I thought was a kidney infection as I have low-functioning kidneys but when I went to the pharmacy, a friend recommended I do a pregnancy test - just to be on the safe side - before taking medication.

Thrilled

"I remember being at home and standing over the pregnancy test in disbelief and then screaming for Eddie, who nearly flew into the wall in his hurry to see what happened. We were just thrilled."

However, Dionne (36) began to suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum - which causes severe sickness in pregnancy - and had to give up her job as a healthcare manager because she was getting sick in her car before home visits.

She also developed pre- eclampsia, for which she was being monitored by medics when she developed a high temperature and headaches.

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Dionne O’Rourke Ryan wears a mask to protect tiny Bradan

Dionne O’Rourke Ryan wears a mask to protect tiny Bradan

Dionne O’Rourke Ryan wears a mask to protect tiny Bradan

"I was tested twice for Covid-19. The first was negative and the second came back positive, just before I was rushed into the Rotunda with breathing problems," she said.

"It was the most lonely and terrifying time of my life. I was on my own and two midwives were dressed in PPE and came in periodically to check on me.

"I was petrified for what would happen to my son and at 36 weeks pregnant underwent the C-section without Eddie present."

She is now Covid-19 free and little Bradan tested negative - but the drama didn't end there as the couple learned of a second baby who didn't make it.

"Last Saturday, I was rushed into the Rotunda again with high blood pressure and had to spend the night there for observation," she said.

"When I returned on the Monday for a check-up, I was met with a bereavement counsellor.

"She told us my placenta had been sent off for tests to see if Covid-19 was active. They found a seven-week old foetus attached to the placenta.

Funeral

"I never even knew I was pregnant with twins. We've been given the baby's remains and are organising a little funeral to bury the baby with my grandfather in Duleek.

"I don't know if the baby was a boy or girl but in my head, I imagine a little girl so we've called her Hope.

"I just want other mums-to-be or women trying for children to know there is hope.

"Hope to be a mum, hope that everything will be OK and hope others will beat Covid-19."