Baby Ellianna Hope Marie Thompson lives up to her name in a very special way.
She is barely 18 months old and the first child of Ger and Noreen Thompson, from Murroe in Co Limerick.
Her birth came after 10 years during which the couple suffered the heartbreak of seven miscarriages and another baby girl dying shortly after birth.
When baby Kayla died, having been born at 22, the couple had almost reconciled themselves to the fact that they might never have children of their own.
On her ninth pregnancy, with Ellianna Hope Marie, the couple could not get too excited, given Noreen’s medical history of miscarriages, some of which resulted in major complications requiring surgery.
At 16 weeks, Noreen was taken to University Maternity Hospital in Limerick.
She said: “We made it to 20 weeks, surely this was our time. Life couldn’t deal us another bad hand. We made it to 22 weeks, then 23, 24, 25, 26. It was unbelievable.”
On May 19, 2012, Noreen went into labour and gave birth to a baby girl weighing 4lb 6oz. After nearly three weeks in the neonatal ward, the couple brought Ellianna Hope Marie home on Jun 6.
Noreen said: “The doctors and nurses at University Maternity Hospital are absolutely amazing. I was there for months and they treated me like family.”
The Thompsons paid special tribute to gynaecologist Una Fahy and bereavement counsellor Cathy Quinn, who helped them through many tragic times following the series of miscarriages and the loss of baby Kayla.
Ger told their poignant story of sadness and joy at the annual remembrance Mass for babies which was celebrated at the Holy Rosary Church, Ennis Rd, Limerick.
Many who attended the Mass, organised by Cathy Quinn, wept openly as Ger spoke in what he said was a “fog of tears”: “Like all couples, we thought it was a case of not if, but when we would have our first baby.
“We couldn’t have been more wrong and Noreen and myself would face an almost 10-year battle.”
After the Mass, one couple came up to them and said they had got new hope after listening to Ger tell their story.
Noreen told the Limerick Leader: “It was nice of them to say. Some people just give up after one or two miscarriages because it is so heartbreaking.
“Ger said to me: ‘It’s not fair on you’, but I was so determined. It was something that I really wanted. I put a limit and said if I didn’t have a baby before I was 40, that we would give up. I turned 40 last Apr and we already had her.”
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