A WOMAN who was told she may never have children has thanked the NHS ‘angels’ who have cared for her premature baby who was born ten weeks early.

Rosie McNamara, from Burneside, has struggled with bowel issues since she was a baby and has undergone 25 surgeries, including an ileostomy operation in 2009 when she was told she may never have children.

However, in 2013, the stay-at-home mum and her husband, Ryan, welcomed Isla.

They also have 20-month-old Locryn and now baby Esme, who gave them a ‘huge scare’ when she arrived on April 12 at just 30 weeks gestation.

Mrs McNamara was supposed to have an elected Caesarean section at 37 weeks due to her medical condition, but when her waters broke in April, she was taken to theatre at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary for an emergency procedure.

“We had a huge scare,” said Mrs McNamara.

“We were completely blown away.”

Esme was taken to ICU as she was underweight and suffering from sleep apnoea, which causes babies to forget to breath.
The Westmorland Gazette: SLEEPING: Esme is wired to monitors in an incubator

“She was having bouts of sleep apnoea where she was forgetting to breathe,” said Mr McNamara, 42.

“She was on a feeding tube; she was just very tiny and she couldn’t regulate her temperature.”

Mrs McNamara added: “At 30 weeks yes they look like babies, but you can tell they should still be in the womb.

“You can’t hold them, something you take for granted.

“It was very very scary.”

The Westmorland Gazette: TINY: Esme in the incubator in ICU

The couple, who have been together for thirteen years, have praised the staff at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary neonatal unit.

“From the moment I went into that hospital I was scared and absolutely beside myself and they were incredible,” said Mrs McNamara.

“I cannot praise them enough and the neonatal nurses they’re like angels.

“You can tell they love their babies; they love the job.

“What they do is incredible.”

Mr McNamara added: “They understand we have a huge amount of guilt leaving her on the ward to go home to care for our other children.

“But to know she’s well looked after; it puts your mind at rest.”

Thankfully, Esme is continuing to gain weight and is making great progress.

“There are still monitors, alarms and feeding tubes, but things are a little more settled,” said Mrs McNamara.

Mr McNamara added: “She’s getting stronger all the time and doing really well now and that’s thanks to the people there.

“Without them, I dread to think what would have happened with our baby.”

The Westmorland Gazette: CUDDLE: Esme gettig a cuddle at the neonatal unit

Mr McNamara, who works at James Cropper, is now trying to raise money to help support other parents with premature babies at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

He also hopes to raise awareness of the great care provided by the staff at the unit.

Funds will provide food and drink in the neonatal unit’s family room and items such as baby clothes.

“It’s invaluable and they provide things you wouldn’t even think of such as toiletries for parents and lots of things,” he said.

“The last thing you think about is yourself.

“Everything is covered at a basic level and it’s all funded by charitable donations and we wanted to help.

“If it can help parents in some way to feel more enabled, they can hopefully get baby home sooner.”

Mrs McNamara added: “Nobody plans to have a premature baby.
“We had nothing, we bought tiny baby clothes, but they were still far too big.

“You’re already worried about baby and other childcare for other children, when to eat, parking costs.

“You shouldn’t have to think about those things on top of everything.”
The couple are hoping to get Esme home sometime in June, depending on her progress.

“It depends on baby because they can have setbacks and they’ve got to do all sorts of tests,” said Mr McNamara.

“We’re all raring to go, obviously me and Rosie have seen her, and sisters and brothers and grandparents have seen photographs, but they’ve not been able to hold her.

“The kids especially are so excited to meet her and it’s going to be a few more weeks.”

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