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31st Oct 2019

The Rotunda: With her first baby born at 24 weeks, a pregnant mum is at high risk of preterm delivery

Trine Jensen-Burke

The Rotunda

Dublin’s Rotunda hospital is the longest running maternity hospital in the world, and one of the busiest in Europe.

In this unique series, viewers get to follow the stories of expectant parents who are hoping to welcome new arrivals into their lives. For some, this will be a straightforward visit to the Delivery Suite, while for others, their journey to parenthood will require additional help and support from The Rotunda’s dedicated team of doctors and midwives in the hope that their babies will arrive safely.

On this week’s episode we meet Kate and Peter, whose first baby, Billy, was born far too early.

“I got bleeding and cramps, but you are not thinking straight,” Kate explains. “I was just thinking go to A&E, get it checked out and get the all-clear and come home. You are not thinking at that stage ‘oh, we’re going to have the baby.'”

But Billy was in a hurry to be born, and the tiny fighter arrived into the world at just 24 weeks.

“The shock of how small he was all we could think about at the time. It kind of takes your breath away, Kate explains. “Like he was probably the size of my hand.”

The couple recount how their firstborn spent 127 days in hospital before they were finally allowed to take him home.

“Billy was only a year and three months when I got pregnant again,” the expectant mum explains. “So naturally the drama the first time around still feels very fresh.”

Now at 27 weeks gestation on her second baby, a little girl, Kate comes in for a scan every week, because she is at high risk for a preterm delivery.

At the end of tonigh’t episode, we get to see Kate safely deliver her little girl, Ruth, at full-term.

Explaining how she lost her twin sister, Ruth, nine years ago, Kate says:

“I always promised myself that if I ever had a daughter, I’d call her Ruth.”

Also on tonight’s episode

Natasha and Andrew are preparing for the arrival of twins, but the possibility of one of the babies having Cystic Fibrosis like their first child is never far from their minds. We also meet teenagers Jake and Alex, who are expecting their first baby. The 18-year-olds admit they had actually decided to end their relationship, but were committed to co-parenting their child. However, having gone through labour and met their daughter, it looks like the young couple decides to give their little family a second chance.

The Rotunda goes behind the scenes at the world’s longest-running maternity hospital where over one million Dubliners have been born and some 24 new babies are added to that number every day.

This week’s episode, the final one of the series, airs on RTÉ2 tonight at 9.30pm