Mum's joy at taking 'miracle' baby to Rotunda
A mum who feared the worst when her tiny baby arrived 15 weeks early, tonight speaks of her joy after revealing he now weighs over a stone.
In the latest episode of RTE2s The Rotunda, baby Nathan Connolly returns to the hospital's neonatal unit for a milestone check-up.
Months on from his traumatic birth at just 25 weeks, his mother, Emma Flemming, said she feared her son wasn't going to survive.
As they revisit the intensive care unit with her partner Martin Connolly, Emma describes her seven-month-old as her miracle baby.
"He's now over a stone. He's huge," says his delighted mother in the RTE2 series.
"The [medical staff] couldn't get over him because he was barely a couple of pounds the last time they saw him.
"Now that he's a big chubby baby and he is smiling up at me, I can say to myself now, 'Oh my God you're a miracle'.
"Martin's mother asked me recently out of the blue, now that he's home and safe and he's a big, pudgy baby, 'did you think he was coming home?'
"I said, 'To be perfectly honest with you, I thought we were planning a funeral'," she said.
Weighing less than 900g, Nathan was gravely ill when he was delivered.
At the time, his mother refused to allow herself to think the worst.
"I suppose I did think at the time but I then I kind of closed it off.
"You'll make yourself sick thinking about it," she said.
She gives the moving interview in the fly-on-the-wall series that captures the joy and the extreme lows in the corridors of the much-loved maternity institution, which is one of the most active maternity hospitals in Europe.
She said she hopes Nathan's story will inspire other parents in the neonatal unit.
"You look in there and you see those small babies and you think, 'God we're here with you because we were there'," she said.
In tonight's episode of The Rotunda, doctors also give a remarkable blood transfusion to a tiny baby who is still in the womb.
Mother-of-four Ellie Brennan, who is originally from London, was diagnosed with Rhesus disease, a condition where antibodies in the mother's blood can destroy the baby's blood cells.
Ellie, who now works as an ICU nurse in Dublin's Crumlin Children's Hospital, had the successful transfusion when she was 31 weeks pregnant - and her baby son was delivered three weeks later by caesarean section.
The Rotunda continues tonight at 9.30pm on RTE2