Southill Health Centre in Limerick welcomed four very special VIPs this week to turn on their Christmas lights.
14-month old quadruplets – Alex, Ashley, Max and Kayla –came with mum Lisa Fenton and dad Wayne Downey from their home in Caherconlish, Limerick for the festive occasion.
The quads are, by now, familiar faces at the centre. Coming home from hospital with four babies is far from usual. Fortunately for new mum Lisa, public health nurse, Eimear Laffan was willing to go far beyond the ordinary for her tiny patients.
Lisa, a pre-school teacher, gave birth to two healthy boys and two healthy girls in October 2016 - Alexander Matthew (3lb 6oz) followed by Ashley Cienna (3lb 1oz), Maxwell Lucas (3lb 4oz) and Kayla Marie (3lb 4oz). After a short stay in the NICU, the babies were finally ready for home.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think that we would be parents of quadruplets but now I couldn’t imagine my life any other way,” said proud mum Lisa.
Eimear began working and planning with Lisa once she found out that she was expecting the quadruplets and gave Lisa and the babies lots of extra attention once the babies arrived. Eimear’s colleague Marie O’Sullivan was full of praise.
“Eimear visited this family every week and helped mum Lisa to wash and feed the babies and offer support and encouragement. She has been doing an extra kind thing for the past year that has gone beyond a regular visit. She really has been putting herself in Lisa’s shoes,” said Marie. She explained, “We developed a care plan with Lisa to maximise the services available to her such as Barnardos, Home Help and Community Mothers. Because she was expecting quadruplets, we were able to do up an anticipatory home help referral and making the services aware of their imminent arrival and the needs they would bring with them. We also had to take into account a possible early delivery.”
Eimear explained the physical challenges of four babies. “Having four babies is very physically demanding so Lisa needed every extra set of hands that she could get. She had very little family support nearby so it made it even more important to get the services in place to help,” said Eimear.
The public health nurse was on hand to help bathe and feed the babies, which can prove very challenging when there are four babies to be done.
“Bathing four babies can take a lot of time and effort. Eimear and Lisa had a great system going, washing, weighing and dressing each one, before feeding time came. She would regularly drop in to help and see how Lisa and the quads were doing – and that was with a full diary of all of her other work to do. You could see how she genuinely cared about the family and wanted to make sure they were getting on okay,” explained Marie in praise of Eimear’s extra efforts.
“You would always build up a good relationship with the mums that you visit but I suppose it was natural that I would become closer to Lisa. We’ve become good friends,” said Eimear, who still makes regular visits and telephone calls to check on the family. “Lisa is back to work now so they don’t need me as much as they did when they were tiny babies. But I have to praise Lisa – she has been amazing. She is just such an organised person and totally focused. She made it look easy at time,” she added.
New mum Lisa was full of praise for all the support services available to her. “I really do have the most amazing support. I would be lost without them,” she added.