18 Aug 2022

Book on baby Ella’s journey to offer hope to other Limerick parents

Book on baby Ella’s journey to offer hope to other Limerick parents

Mark and Lisa Blennerhassett with baby Ella presenting the new book to staff at the maternity hospital | PICTURE: Ken Coleman

THE MOTHER of a baby who had the smallest birth weight of all the babies born in Limerick in 2019 has written a book about her little girl’s journey, to help other parents.

Ella Blennerhassett, aged 2, was born at 26 weeks gestation on May 28 2019 by emergency C Section at University Maternity Hospital Limerick. 

Weighing a tiny 506grams or 1lb2oz, Ella was quickly whisked off by the neonatal team to her first home, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in UMH Limerick.  There she would spend a long 132 days.

While the staff couldn’t have done more for Ella and her parents Lisa and Mark, Ella's time in NICU was a complete rollercoaster - from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows.

Lisa is hoping that the new book entitled 'Once Tiny Forever Strong' will offer hope to parents just like herself and Mark who are coping with the challenges associated with a premature birth.

“We wanted to do something that was unique, that had never been done before,” explained Lisa from Lisnagry. 

“ I was talking to one of the head nurses in the neonatal unit and she asked if I would ever think about writing Ella’s story and that’s how it all started.”

Lisa was conscious that she didn’t want the book to be a  very serious story and wanted it to be something for the parents and the babies.

She is exploring the idea of putting the book on general release following the considerable amount of interest. She is also considering making it available in other neonatal units.

“When Ella was in neo herself the nurses were always encouraging me to read to her especially in the very early weeks when I couldn’t take her out for a hold. The voices can be very self soothing if they are upset. It’s a story of hope for when things are bad or the baby is very sick and you’ve no one to turn to or talk to, you can take the book out and see that if this baby in the book made it, then mine can fight this too.”

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