Quadruplets set off for school

The Farrell Siblings, all in Junior Infants: Cara, Katie and Shane. Photo: Shelley Corcoran
Born at just 26 weeks after an emergency caesarean section in Dublin’s Holles Street Hospital, it was unknown if Elaine Farrell’s quadruplets would survive.

Born at just 26 weeks after an emergency caesarean section in Dublin’s Holles Street Hospital, it was unknown if Elaine Farrell’s quadruplets would survive.

Originally told she was expecting triplets, Elaine wasn’t too surprised as multiple births run in her family - her aunts and granny gave birth to twins. It wasn’t until a five month scan that doctors discovered that Elaine was expecting quadruplets.

Sadly, just six weeks after the quadruplets were born, one of the little girls, Chloe, passed away. Her three siblings; Cara Louise (Chloe’s identical twin), Katie Mai and Shane spent a long time in hospital, firstly in Holles Street, then moving on to Cavan General Hospital, before finally being allowed home. With health issues as a result of their early delivery, the quadruplets and their family had many difficulties to overcome - which they did with strength and determination.

Last week, the incredible quadruplets reached a huge milestone as they set off for their first day of school in St Mary’s Drumlish.

The childrens’ mother, Elaine, admitted that though it was an exciting adventure for the quadruplets, it was also a difficult day. “I’m always thinking there should be four of them” she explained.

As the quadruplets had just turned four this summer, Elaine did have reservations about sending them to school. She explained that she was very undecided at first about sending them this year, and considered waiting until September 2014. While reassurances from others helped her see that she had indeed made the right decision to send them this year, perhaps the most telling verdict was the childrens’ reaction to their new place of learning, as Elaine happily reported that Cara, Katie and Shane absolutely love school. “It’s so cute to see them going off in their uniforms” Elaine added.

The quadruplets’ brother Cian also attends St Mary’s in Drumlish, and his siblings can often be found asking to visit him during class. Elaine explains that Cian has been a “fantastic brother” to the quadruplets from the very beginning, very proud and protective of his younger siblings. When he found out that he was going to have four younger siblings, Cian was thrilled, Elaine said, revealing that it was Cian who picked Shane’s name! The adoration is very much mutual. Even as babies, the quadruplets’ faces would light up when their older brother came home from school.

Elaine is hugely grateful to those who have helped and supported her and the quadruplets throughout their journey, particularly her son Cian, whom Elaine cannot praise enough. Elaine also wished to extend sincere thanks to Alice Connell and all the staff at Whizz Kids Crèche and Montessori both for preparing the quadruplets for their school days and “for doing a great job”.

Looking back on the quadruplets’ first day of school, Elaine is reassured. “I’m glad I sent them”, she adds.