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  • Northside East

Local woman highlights World Prematurity Day

Thursday, 17th November, 2016 8:00am
Local woman highlights World Prematurity Day

Heidi pictured with her mum Sharon.

Local woman highlights World Prematurity Day

Heidi pictured with her mum Sharon.

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AHEAD of World Prematurity Day, which takes place on November 17, a Northside woman has told of her grief after one of her children died in her womb.

Sharon Keogh (37), a mother-of-three, living in Balgriffin, gave birth to premature twins in 2010.

Knowing that she would give birth to her children early, she made frequent visits to Holles Street Hospital and received regular scans.

Sharon soon discovered that her daughters were identical twins and faced a 50 per cent chance of survival.

While attending a routine scan during her 29th week she discovered that one of her daughters, Emily, had died within the womb. Her other daughter Heidi became anemic and needed emergency surgery to save her life.

Heidi was born 10 weeks premature. She required feeding through a tube in her bellybutton for the first few days and was then moved onto Sharon’s breast milk.

As a result of her difficulties, which included contracting MSRA and a blood infection, a tube was inserted into Heidi’s throat to help her breathe.
She was then ventilated and
also required two blood transfusions.

Speaking about that time, Sharon said: “It was such an emotional roller-coaster trying to grieve for Emily, be strong for Heidi and not let my other little girl, Zoe, at home, suffer from this horrible situation.”

Heidi is currently in school and doing well. Sharon, who later fell pregnant with her third child, Charlie, without complications, is encouraging other parents to learn as much as they can about their children’s development and possible conditions.

“I kept a journal, a day-to-day account of everything she went through in the hospital, all the treatments she received, little comments on how I was feeling, how great the staff were and how big she was getting,” Sharon added.  

“I found this very therapeutic; it was like my own little counselling session each day.”

Sharon currently volunteers for the Angel Gown Project which is organised by the Irish Neonatal Health Alliance (INHA).

Meanwhile, World Prematurity Day offers families and health care professionals an opportunity to shine a light on the challenges these special ‘early deliveries’ face.

More than 4,500 babies are born prematurely in Ireland each year, equivalent to one in 10 babies born, which is why the INHA has created ‘Better Together: A Family-Centred Care Guide for Your Premature Baby’.

The Guide’s aim is to help parents of premature babies be able to take a more active role in the neonatal setting during their baby’s stay in hospital. It outlines 10 family-centred care giving activities that families can participate in when they have an infant in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The ‘Better Together’ Guide is available at


Heidi is doing well now.

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