Belfast Telegraph

New mum makes it to Queen's for graduation just days after birth of her son

Laura Leydon and Conor McCashin.
Laura Leydon and Conor McCashin.
Gareth Cross

By Gareth Cross

A new Mum made it to her graduation with just minutes to spare, just a few days after giving birth to her son.

Laura Leydon graduated alongside her boyfriend Conor McCashin at Queen's University Belfast on Friday June 29.

Their son Fiachra was born on Wednesday June 27 at 1:10pm.

Laura and Conor, from west Belfast, got the shock of their life when their first child arrived earlier than expected as they prepared for their graduation.

Conor said that Laura first began getting pains at the beginning of the week but assumed it was just the baby moving around.

After the pain became too severe the couple went to the hospital in the early hours of Wednesday morning to discover that Laura was in labour.

Conor admitted that the couple were worried as Fiachra was to be born at just 29 weeks but despite being premature he is currently doing well in hospital.

"He is our miracle and is currently in ICU growing hour by hour, minute by minute, God willing," Conor said.

"He is also under the supervision of the most gifted people across the planet. We know he is going to be ok.

"I've been watching Fiachra in his incubator, watching his eyes open and close and counting his fingers and toes and thinking 'isn't he so bloody perfect'.

Baby Fiachra is doing well in hospital.
Baby Fiachra is doing well in hospital.

"Our last few days have been a whirlwind."

While most people expected the couple to miss graduation as Laura was still recovering, she made it just in time with some determination and the help of the couple's friends.

"Some of our close friends had collected our gowns and sorted seating arrangements on the off chance she would make it," Conor said.

"Being as determined as she is Laura got out of the ward with one hour to get ready and was sitting in her seat at Queen's for both of us to collect our graduation certificates, she made it. She looked a million dollars.

"When the dust settled we celebrated with our amazing baby boy in the ICU."

Conor paid tribute to Laura after a frantic week for the couple.

Laura Leydon and Conor McCashin outside Queen's on their graduation day.
Laura Leydon and Conor McCashin outside Queen's on their graduation day.

"Someone once said 'being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage'."

"The love from our boy gave us strength. Anyone who knows Laura will know the love she shows everyone around her every day, that love gave her courage these last few days and especially on our graduation day."

Conor and Laura, both 22, graduated with joint honours in History and Politics.

Laura is planning to study for her Masters of Law at Queens while Conor is going to University of Ulster Coleraine to complete his History PGCE.

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