A couple who longed for a family had given up hope after a heartbreaking stillbirth and eight miscarriages. However, their tenth pregnancy, a miracle baby boy, brought in a renewed hope, followed by joy.
Dylan Patrick Daly was born on June 12, 2020, weighing slightly over 7 pounds (approx. 3.17 kg). The timing of the “rainbow baby’s” arrival was bittersweet; as Michelle’s father, from whom baby Dylan gets his name, died suddenly of a heart attack just six weeks before he could meet his grandson.
“Having Dylan was the best thing to happen at the worst time in my life,” said Michelle.
Michelle and her husband Stephen, of Trim in County Meath, Ireland, had already weathered more than their fair share of tragedy. Back in 2007, Michelle went into early labor at 28 weeks with a baby boy, named Christopher.
However, the then-expectant mother was sent home before midnight by doctors who claimed the baby was not yet on his way.
But a few hours later, as she used the restroom, Michelle could feel the head of Christopher popping out. Her husband immediately rushed to lay Michelle on a bed and called the ambulance. She was finally rushed back to the hospital.
Christopher was in breech position. “He was alive and moving during the whole labor, but because he came out feet first, they couldn’t get him out, he got stuck, his arms were up over his head and he didn’t survive,” Michelle explained.
Stillborn, Christopher weighed less than 2 pounds (approx. 0.9 kg). “They lifted him up onto my chest and I remember looking at him, this tiny little thing,” Michelle recalled; “he wasn’t moving but he just looked like he was asleep.”
Describing herself as “a wreck” in the aftermath of the heartbreaking loss, Michelle could do little besides cry herself to sleep.
Having polycystic ovaries, she knew she would find it hard to conceive again, let alone carry a pregnancy. But it was Michelle and Stephen’s dream to have a family, so they continued trying.
“With the pregnancies after that they kept telling me, ‘You need to lose weight,’” said Michelle, recalling struggles with her mental health that persist to this day. Suffering miscarriage after miscarriage, Michelle turned to food for comfort.
Then she met a new physician, Dr. Mary Mulqueen.
“[S]he got me on the right path,” said Michelle. “She discovered I had a blood disorder which causes the blood to clot and can affect your pregnancy.”
Mulqueen recommended a maternal-fetal specialist, Dr. Karen Flood of the Rotunda group of private clinics. The mom-to-be was monitored weekly throughout the remainder of her pregnancy, giving birth to Dylan by emergency Caesarean section at 39 weeks.
“[T]hey had him wrapped up and brought him over and he was just staring at me, our miracle baby was finally here, healthy and happy,” Michelle recalled. “I just didn’t think I could love anyone as much we do Dylan.”
Today, a milestone, or even a cheeky smile, prompts Michelle to wish her father was alive to see his grandson. When Dylan is old enough, she said, she and Stephen will tell him about his big brother, Christopher, who holds a permanent place in their hearts.
Michelle also has a piece of advice to share with other parents who are facing challenges similar to what she faced.
“I’d just tell anyone not to give up on their dream of a family,” said Michelle. “There is hope.”