Covid babymoon | 

Irish mother gives birth to twins following emergency c-section after contracting Covid

Tori O'Rourke went through a 'terrifying and traumatic experience' as she had to deliver her first-born children unexpectedly while on holiday in Malaga
Tori and partner Phil with babies Emily and Jacob. They were in Malaga for 10 weeks

Tori and partner Phil with babies Emily and Jacob. They were in Malaga for 10 weeks

Ciara O'Loughlijn

An Irish mother had to have an emergency caesarean section while on holiday abroad to deliver her twin babies at 24 weeks after she became ill with Covid-19.

Tori O'Rourke (25), from Kinvara in Co Galway, said she went through a "terrifying and traumatic experience" as she had to deliver her first-born children unexpectedly while on holiday in Malaga, Spain.

She was in a critical condition and couldn't even see her babies after they were born. They were two weeks old before she first saw them.

"So at the end of August me and my partner decided to go on a babymoon to Spain, it was our last holiday together as a single couple because we were expecting the twins on December 23, it was cleared by my doctor as I was a low-risk twin pregnancy," Ms O'Rourke told the Herald.

"About two days after I arrived I started to feel quite sick, so I went to the hospital a couple of days after we arrived and I was told then that I had Covid.

"But they said the babies were fine at this stage so they sent me home with just paracetamol."

However, the Galway woman's condition deteriorated quickly and two days later she was back in hospital and was placed in ICU.

Without the comfort of her partner Phil Hillier by her side, Ms O'Rourke was given just minutes to process the news that her babies would be delivered at just 24 weeks.

"It was very terrifying and traumatic, the language barrier was a big issue, it's really scary not knowing what was happening," she said.

"The doctors just came into the room and said 'we have to take the babies out' and I was like 'no you're not' but they had to do what they had to do.

"I got eight to 10 minutes to ring my mom and my partner."

After the twins, Emily and Jacob, were born, Ms O'Rourke was transferred to a different hospital and didn't get to meet them for two weeks or see her partner during that time.

"They were born on September 12 but I didn't see them at all, I didn't hold them, I never even heard them cry, I never touched them, I didn't even know if they were okay, no one could tell me anything, it was very very scary."

She said she was "out of it" for the first few days after the twins were born as she was on oxygen and a high dose of pain medicine, but once she could understand what was happening she was frustrated.

"I didn't have my partner for support so I was very alone."

Ms O'Rourke and her partner stayed in various AirBnBs for over two months in Malaga as they visited their babies in the neo-natal intensive care unit (Nicu).

Two weeks ago the couple finally got to bring Emily and Jacob back to Ireland by air-ambulance and they are now in the Nicu in Galway University Hospital.

Last night, the parents followed Jacob by car as he was taken by ambulance to Crumlin's Children Hospital in Dublin for surgery.

"The little girl is doing very well now, her little brother is not as strong as her, but he's a fighter and he's getting stronger every day," said Ms O'Rourke.

"He has had a couple of procedures and he has chronic lung disease, which is common in premature babies, his lungs are working very hard so he is still on a lot of oxygen.

"It's hard to say when they will be able to come home but it's looking like after Christmas."

Ms O'Rourke explained that another tough decision they have been dealt is whether to bring their baby girl home when she is able or to keep her in the Nicu with her little brother.

"The doctors and nurses said that she will most likely be able to come home quite soon, so we are deciding whether to wait and take them home together or take her home first, which is quite a hard decision."

Due to neither of the parents being able to work for the past three months and with the high cost of accommodation in Spain and the transport to and from the hospital, Ms O'Rourke has set up a GoFundMe.

"We have had such amazing support from friends and family and the community, we are so, so grateful, but every day there just seems to be more and more expenses," she said.

"The costs are just piling up so it's a little bit scary.

"We had to stay in Malaga for two-and-a-half months and it's a holiday destination so nothing is cheap over there.

"I couldn't walk so we had to get taxis everywhere.

"Back in Ireland we have to travel in and out of the hospital every day which is an hour away so even that is like €100 in petrol.

"And also with twins everything is double as expensive."

The first-time mother said she is physically feeling well now three months after her emergency c-section, but has to take it all day by day as she worries about little Emily and Jacob.


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