An Irish couple who were devastated by the death of their baby boy nine hours after his birth last January have welcomed quadruplets less than a year later.
Lorraine Cusack, 35, and her husband Johnny Byrne, 38, were overjoyed when their four babies were born in the Coombe Hospital in Dublin in December last year.
The couple's son Dylan died nine hours after he was born in January 2020 and the couple told the Irish Sunday Mirror of their "shock and disbelief" when Lorraine became pregnant again less than four months later.
Lorraine told the Irish Mirror that she had a normal pregnancy before giving birth to Dylan last January and said that there was "no cause for concern".
However, she said that she knew something was wrong as soon as he was born because he wasn't crying.
"He couldn’t clear his lungs and went straight to ICU. They took out his tubes and he just passed away," she told the Irish Mirror.
"It was absolutely devastating."
The couple later discovered that Dylan died of meconium aspiration - a rare condition caused by a build-up of amniotic fluid and meconium.
Lorraine and Johnny decided that they wanted to try again and they discovered that Lorraine was pregnant just four months after the devastating loss of Dylan.
"For me, I was desperate to have another baby. I felt that every part of me just wanted to have that baby in my arms," she told the Irish Mirror.
Lorraine was classed as a high-risk pregnancy because of what happened during her first pregnancy and the Coombe Hospital kept a close eye on her.
She visited the hospital for a scan after eight weeks when her doctor asked her whether she'd tried IVF - something that struck her as odd.
"I thought that was a weird question and wondered if it was twins, wouldn’t that be great.
"She said 'okay there’s a baby and a heartbeat', I was delighted. Then she moved the wand and said ‘and another.'"
Lorraine was shocked when her doctor announced two further heartbeats and said that it was like hearing that aliens had landed in her backyard.
Staff at the Coombe told the couple that the quadruplets would have to be born premature and told Lorraine that she would have to give birth after 32 weeks.
With a date set for December 11, Lorraine went into the Coombe for a routine scan on December 4.
However, doctors informed her that there was an issue with her umbilical cord and advised her to have the babies a week early.
The quadruplets arrived at one-minute intervals via C-section.
Her son Nathan was born first followed by his brother Cooper, while her two daughters Erin and Eve were delivered shortly afterward.
All four babies were born healthy, but Eve soon picked up a blood infection followed by a blood clot and spent the following six weeks in hospital.
With the introduction of Level 5 COVID-19 restrictions at the end of December, Johnny was unable to visit his daughter for the majority of her stay in hospital.
Eve finally returned home on January 29 and the couple's biggest worry is now looking after four newborn babies, with at least 24 bottle feedings and 26 nappy changes every day, according to Lorraine.
However, she revealed that both she and her husband are still grieving for their first-born son and said that it feels like something is missing.
"It’s always on our minds that Dylan isn’t here as well – as happy and as great as everything is there’s always one missing."
But the couple are trying to focus on the positives and they described the four new arrivals as their "rays of sunshine".