“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 when I gave Nicola, Medical and Family Liaison Manager at Lucy AAC, a big hug goodbye. After seven weeks of hospital care, hundreds of miles from home, Eli and Aoife were finally home and we were reunited as a family.
Our story started seven weeks before when we were visiting my partner’s family in his hometown of Belleek in the North West of Ireland. I was 26 weeks pregnant expecting twins and so far had been having a healthy and happy pregnancy. The day after we arrived my waters broke unexpectedly and we immediately went to the nearest hospital. I was transferred across the border to Dublin which was the nearest hospital with two neonatal beds available.
Four weeks after being admitted into hospital I went into labour and the twins, Eli and Aoife, were delivered via an emergency caesarean. They were immediately taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit as they needed ventilation to help with their breathing and were in incubators for nearly three weeks.
Although we were very happy with the babies care in Dublin, we wanted to get home to Liverpool as we had been away from my eldest son Joshua for nearly seven weeks and we were desperate for our family to be together again.
As the twins became stronger, the doctors started to discuss the possibility of transferring the babies to Liverpool Women’s Hospital. Once the nurses agreed they were strong enough, 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 us to discuss the details.
However, it was a very confusing and frustrating time. We were receiving mixed messages between the two hospitals. Until this point nobody had given us answers on when, where and how the transfer would happen.
The moment Nicola rang I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders and straight away felt at ease. She told me all about the charity and how they helped children, as well as her medical 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. I was felt so reassured that the twins would be in the best care on their transfer journey.
In the following days I spoke regularly with Nicola, keeping me informed every step of the way. My partner Paul flew home to see our eldest son and prepare for our arrival just a few days later.
On the day of the transfer I was really nervous. Not only was I leaving Dublin, where I had been for the last seven weeks and couldn’t fault the care of the staff, but I was also leaving Eli and Aoife for their first flight. I was filled with anxiety waiting for the team to arrive at the hospital to collect Eli and Aoife but when I met Nicola I instantly felt at ease. Seeing the team’s friendly and professional manner as they got the twins ready for their flight reassured me that everything would be okay. Due to the need for extra nurses on board, I wasn’t able to travel on the plane with the babies but from conversations with Nicola I knew exactly when the flights were scheduled to leave Dublin and arrive in Liverpool. Emotions were high when I said goodbye to them but I was assured by Nicola that she would be in touch every step of the way. She also kept Paul informed as he awaited the Eli and Aoife’s 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 five 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 ambulance when the twins arrived 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! They were finally able to meet their big brother and we were reunited together again as a family. We will always be eternally grateful for what Lucy AAC did for our family.
“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 need one ourselves. It has definitely highlighted to me the great work this charity does in helping families in a time of need.”