A YEAR ago Grace Slattery faced into the last week of her pregnancy with the knowledge that one of their four babies would only live for a few hours.
Now, James and Grace, Caherconlish, are looking forward to the first birthday of Lucas, Lily, Mollie and Amelia next Tuesday.
The fab four are the picture of health and happiness as they crawled around The Nursery Store in Limerick on Tuesday. The shop in the Delta Retail Park wished to mark the babies first birthday by giving them an array of presents.
The quads arrive in a special four-seater buggy got from America. Grace says the last year has gone quickly, been tiring but has been the “happiest of our lives without a doubt”.
“This time last year I was facing in to my last week of pregnancy. We didn’t know if we were going to end up with four babies, three babies or what was going to happen. We were still being told that Amelia’s chances weren’t so good,” said Grace, as she looked at her daughter smiling happily in her grandmother’s arms.
Doctors told them 26 weeks into the pregnancy that Amelia had a condition called CDH - Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia. The condition gives babies a 50 per cent chance of survival but because she was a quad and would be so small they told them she wouldn’t survive.
However, a major operation where surgeons had to go in through Amelia’s stomach and repair the hernia was a complete success.
“She is absolutely perfect. There is no difference between her and the other babies thankfully. We are absolutely blessed. She had her last check-up in Crumlin in February - we were in and out in five minutes,” said Grace.
Born within four minutes were Amelia, Lucas, Mollie and Lily weighing 4.3lbs, 3.10lbs, 2.15lbs and 3.4lbs. Now they are between 14.5lbs and 19lbs. Teething hasn’t been too bad and Lucas boasts the most with six, Lily has four, Molly, four and Amelia, three.
The second their bodies touch the floor they are off with their faces full of inquisitiveness.
“They are very good, thank God – we are blessed. They are easy to entertain and they get great fun out of each other. They only give out really if there is something wrong with them or if one is on their own as they are so used to being together. They are used to having another baby with them,” said Grace.
The question every parent wants to know is what they are like at night-time?
“They go down at about 8pm and they sleep until six or seven. They sleep through the night and they have done so for a while. It is only if they are teething or sick they will wake,” said Grace, who credits James for taking the monitor every night while she gets some much needed rest.
“In fairness to him if they have to be tended to throughout the night he gets up to them more often than I would and then I do the days. They are just normal babies. Thankfully we are not dealing with babies that have special needs or have health issues which was my main concern when I was pregnant. I hold up my hands to people that deal with a baby with special needs,” said Grace, who thanked The Nursery Store for their generosity and all their family, friends and everyone who has helped them in the last year.
“People have been so kind and good to us,” said Grace, who is looking forward to a big birthday party in the Millennium Centre in Caherconlish.
Elma Herbert, manager of The Nursery Store, said everybody had been touched by the story of the quads and they wanted to acknowledge their first birthday. “We wish them a very happy birthday and look forward to seeing them as they grow up,” said Elma. Coincidentally The Nursery Store celebrate their 10th anniversary this month and moved shops within the Delta Retail Park this week.