A woman who gave birth to premature triplets has spoken this week of her heartbreak after learning that one of them had suffered ‘catastrophic’ brain damage and was not expected to live.
Mum Lorna Cobbett underwent an emotional roller coaster of joy and tears at the babies’ birth - and is now facing a fight to obtain care for her brain-damaged daughter Essie.
Lorna, 37, who lives with her husband off Farthings Close in Horsham, gave birth to Essie, Roman and Eva at 32 weeks by caesarean.
But now she has been told that her family does not qualify for NHS support - and she cannot bring little Essie home from East Surrey Hospital to be with the rest of her family until she has the right equipment in place to care for her.
“I just want her home as soon as possible,” said Lorna.
A crowdfunding appeal has been set up to help the family - and £3,000 was raised within three days, although £20,000 is needed to help pay for private care at home.
Meanwhile, Lorna recalled this week the moment when she first realised she was expecting triplets. “I managed to laugh and cry at the same time.”
The triplets were born on February 1 at 1.26pm, 1.28 pm and 1.29 pm and Lorna saw just a brief glimpse of her tiny babies before they were whisked away to a side room.
“I didn’t see my babies for the rest of the day,” said Lorna.
But it was not until midnight that Lorna was told that Essie had problems and was being taken to St George’s Hospital in London.
“Being a new mummy is supposed to be about those first precious moments and I didn’t get mine,” said Lorna.
“ All I wanted was to cuddle and kiss my little ones and I couldn’t. Any thoughts of wanting skin to skin went out the window. Instead I was given photos to look at which showed my babies covered in equipment and leads, as well as second hand reports of the babies from my husband, parents and sister.
“I was so jealous of the new mummies on the ward who got to sleep with their baby next to their bed. Unlike me, who walked over to the neonatal unit every night to drop off some expressed breastmilk for their hourly feeds and said goodnight to my babies before sleeping in a room on my own.”
Lorna said it was really two weeks after Essie was born that the whole scale of her problems was realised.
“She had a head scan and I was told she had suffered a catastrophic brain injury at birth.”
Essie needs oxygen round the clock, cannot regulate her temperature and cannot swallow normally.
“Doctors call it a life-limiting injury,” said Lorna, but they do not know how long Essie will live.
“Every day is a bonus because she is an incredibly vulnerable girl,” said Lorna. “We have been told she will only ever be a child.
“It is a grieving process you have to go through almost immediately.
“You mentally prepare for three babies and you just assume they are going to be healthy babies - then you get told one will not live very long.
“It’s like being run over by a truck and stamped on your head a thousand times. It’s just horrible. But we have to do what we have been doing for our other two children - they are Essie’s legacy.”
l Lorna has launched an appeal to the Horsham and Mid Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group for help with Essie’s round the clock care.
Anyone who wants to help can go to https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/mummy-loves-essie