Rachel Molloy was just 36 and nine months pregnant when she suffered a fatal pregnancy complication.
She never got to meet the little girl she gave birth to.
“We thought she was in labour”
When the mum of one experienced abdominal pains right around her due date, she and partner, Nick, assumed she was going into labour.
Excitedly they drove to the hospital in Manchester, thinking they were about to meet their second child.
But by the time they arrived at 7.40pm, Rachel was in cardiac arrest.
She had suffered a ruptured splenic artery aneurysm, a rare and tragically, often fatal pregnancy complication.
“Staff ran over to help us and got her into hospital and they found a heartbeat, but she wasn’t breathing,” Nick told MFT Charity.
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Welcome baby Isabelle
While her mum was hooked up to life support, doctors quickly birthed baby Isabelle via a c-section at 8.04pm.
However, due to severe trauma suffered at birth, the newborn was not doing well either.
“She was put into a cooling chamber to prevent further brain damage and rushed to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester where she has been cared for since,” her dad explains in a JustGiving fundraising page where he is sharing his story in the hope of raising money for the hospital caring for his daughter.
“The staff there have been incredible and she has been well looked after. I could not wish for a more caring and compassionate team to look after my little miracle,” he adds.
Rachel never held her
Sadly, a few hours after Isabelle’s birth, at 1.36am, Rachel passed away.
The news of Isabelle’s birth was one of the last things Nick told his wife, who died despite the best efforts of 75 doctors and nurses.
The dad is now the sole carer of their three-year-old boy, James, and little Isabelle.
The most beautiful name
Nick bestowed the most beautiful moniker on his precious newborn in honour of her mum.
“If we had a girl we’d planned to name her Isabelle Rey,” said Nick, 35.
“But when I knew what was going to happen I changed it to Isabelle Rachel instead.”
“Rach never got to meet our little girl. It breaks my heart to think that Isabelle will never get to meet her mother. But I know Rach’s memory will live on in her children and everyone who knew her.”
Early days for Isabelle
Since the traumatic birth on April 24, baby Isabelle is being well looked after in hospital but still faces an uphill battle.
“It’s still very early days since Isabelle was born but it is understood from a brain scan that the severe trauma suffered at birth has resulted in her suffering significant brain damage and it is likely she will be in hospital for a long time yet whilst her health improves,” says her dad.
Something that only happens in the news
Nick is still grappling with what happened and how unbelievable it all still feels.
“You hear of tragedies but they don’t really hit home for you – they happen on the news and in films,” he says.
“But when it happens to you, you just can’t believe it. If this hadn’t happened to Rach then Isabelle would have been fine – she would have been a little early, but she was a healthy weight and had no development problems.”
Rachel’s funeral was held on May 16 with a request being made for donations to the Manchester St Marys Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and the Maternity Department of Wythenshawe Hospital, instead of flowers.