The babies as photographed by PJ Corbett in the Maternity
The NEONATAL Unit at University Maternity Hospital Limerick is a busy place at the best of times but especially so in recent weeks with the arrival in quick succession of quads, triplets and twins.
Adare based photographer PJ Corbett – who specialises in newborn portraiture – is a regular visitor to the unit and was on hand to capture the moment when the unique 4-3-2-1 combination of premature newborns was brought together for a photo.
It is the first-time the Limerick unit has had the privilege of caring for a set of quads, triplets, twins and singeltons all at the same time.
Lisa Fenton from Caherconlish, made a little bit of history when on October 5 she gave birth to the first set of quadruplets born in Limerick in 50 years.
Other quads from the Mid-West born in the intervening years had been delivered in the major Dublin maternity units.
Babies Alexander, Ashley, Maxwell and Kayla are the first children born to Lisa and her partner Wayne Downey and were delivered at UMHL by Prof Amanda Cotter and her team. The quads have been doing very well in Neonatal Unit ever since.
Triplets Dáire, Liam and Aisling Cussen were born on October 27 to parents Olive and William and will soon be strong enough to go home to Raheen.
Twins Ashton and Leo Mulcahy were born on October 13 to mum Lydia O’Doherty and dad Calum Mulcahy, from Annacotty.
And representing the 12 tiny singletons currently being looked after in the Neonatal Unit in PJ’s photo is little Maggie Roche from Charleville, born to mum Mairead and dad Kieran on October 26.
Neonatal at UMHL is one of the busiest specialised units in the country, with close to 700 admissions every year. There are now approximately 4,700 births at UMHL annually.
The Neonatal Unit at UMHL has 19 cots but often caters for more babies. It provides neonatal intensive care, high dependency and special care to premature and sick babies of the Mid-West, from 23 weeks of gestation upwards.
“We have had the pleasure of looking after quadruplets, triplets, twins and singletons in the Neonatal Units at various times over the years but not as far as any of us are aware all at the same time in Limerick. It is a special occasion for all of the team working here and it is a time of great joy for us as well as their parents,” said Consultant Neonatologist, Dr Roy Philip.
"The dedication and teamwork of the antenatal, perinatal and neonatal clinical teams of our maternity hospital is reflected in the wellbeing of the babies and we are proud of it.
“It is a happy coincidence also to have them all here together as we get ready to mark World Prematurity Day on November 11th,” Dr Philip added.
The team involved in caring for these babies includes four consultant neonatologists: Dr Roy Philip; Dr Niazy Al Assaf; Dr Con Sreenan and Dr Anne Doolan; along with 48 neonatal nurses and midwives under the clinical leadership of Margo Dunworth, Deirdre O’Connell and Marie Carroll; ward attendants; healthcare assistants; physiotherapists; radiography; laboratory and clerical staff and others.
According to Clinical Nurse Manager Marie Carroll: “It was amazing to get all 10 babies together for a special photo.
“We are very grateful to PJ, who left his studio in Adare without hesitation to come in and take the photo. He clearly is a very talented photographer to manage to get such a beautiful image of so many babies at once! PJ also comes in to us every year to take photos of Santa with the babies and the parents in the Neonatal Unit.
“Christmas has come early for some families this year. All 10 of them are doing well and should hopefully be back at home with their families before December 25.”