We cannot thank Nicola and the whole team at Lucy Air Ambulance for the help, care and support they gave our family when transferring our premature twins from the Coombes Women’s and Infants Hospital in Dublin to Liverpool Women’s Hospital. 

I will always remember the emotions I felt on 13th October 2016 after a long day as I gave Nicola, Medical and Family Liaison Manager at Lucy AAC a big hug goodbye.  We are eternally grateful for what Lucy AAC did for our family.

Our story started 7 weeks before on 24th August.  We were visiting my partner Paul’s family in his hometown of Belleek in the North West of Ireland to attend a friend’s wedding.  I was 26 weeks pregnant and expecting twins and so far had been having a healthy and happy pregnancy. The day after I arrived my waters broke unexpectedly and we immediately went to the nearest hospital.  I was transferred across the border to the nearest hospital which had two neonatal beds available The Coombe Women’s and Infant’s Hospital in Dublin.

On the 21st September (4 weeks after being admitted into hospital) I went into labour and the twins, a boy and a girl named Eli and Aoife were delivered via an emergency caesarean.  Immediately they were taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit as they needed ventilation to help with their breathing and were in incubators for nearly 3 weeks.

As the twins became stronger the doctors discussed with us about a possible transfer of the babies to Liverpool Women’s Hospital.  We arranged passports for the babies (a photograph taken in their incubators!!) and were told Nicola, the Medical and Family Liaison Manager from Lucy AAC would ring me to discuss the details.

Until this point nobody had given us answers on when, where and how the transfer would happen as it was hard to get information and there were mixed messages between the 2 hospitals.  We were confused and frustrated.  Although very happy with the babies care in Dublin I wanted to get home to Liverpool as I had been away from my other son Joshua for nearly 7 weeks and was desperate for my family to be together again.

When Nicola rang me I felt a huge weight had been lifted.  Straight away she made me feel at ease.  She told me all about the charity and how they helped children and also about her background and how she had come to work for the charity.  She told me more details in the 30 minute chat than all the information I had been given so far and I felt that the twins would be in the best care on their transfer journey.

In the following days I spoke regularly with Nicola as she kept me informed every step of the way. Due to the need for extra medical staff for the twins care there would be no room on the flight for me to travel with them. However, Nicola ran the through the itinerary for the day from when the teams flight would take off from Exeter to their expected arrival time at Dublin hospital.  How the babies would travel (1 baby in an incubator and the other in a Baby Pod) and the time they were expected to take off from Dublin and land in Liverpool.

13th October was the day of the transfer and I felt nervous.  Not only was I leaving Dublin where I had been for the last 7 weeks and leaving a hospital where I could not fault the care of the staff but leaving my twins to their first flight.  It was an anxious wait for the team to arrive at the hospital but when they did it was so lovely to meet Nicola and the team and again I felt at ease with their friendly but professional manner as they got the twins ready for their flight.

Emotions were high when I said goodbye to them as I left the hospital to take my flight back to Liverpool but I was assured by Nicola that she would ring me or text every step of the way.  She would also keep my partner Paul informed as he awaited the twins arrival at the Liverpool Women’s Hospital. 

As I was waiting to board my flight a text came through from Nicola to say they would be taking off in the next 5 minutes.  As I was boarding the stairs of my aircraft I saw their plane take to the skies (a moment I’ll never forget).

Paul was at the doors of the hospital when the twins arrived in the ambulances with Nicola and the team and I arrived just 10 minutes after them.  After settling them in Nicola presented me and Paul with a special present for each twin to remember their journey, their own Lucy Bear and Teddy passports!

From my first phone call with Nicola to the twins flight and finally saying goodbye to her and the team our twin’s welfare and care needs were treated as a priority.  I felt that because of Lucy AAC’s professionalism I had a huge sense of trust in them and they provided a friendly personal touch throughout our journey.  Thank you Lucy AAC for letting me be a mum again to all my children and bringing my family back together again.   Air ambulances are something that we tend to not think about until we ourselves need one.  It has definitely highlighted to me the great work this charity does in helping families in a time of need.

Amy

Mum of Eli and Aoife