A fam­ily of fight­ers

Doc­tors said they’d die...but I knew my twins would live

Chat - - Contents - By Katy Lam­bert, 20, from Northamp­ton

True fear hit me when, in Jan­uary this year, I went into labour. Not fear about the pain of child­birth or my new life as a par­ent.

I was ter­ri­fied I’d never be a mummy at all.

I’d had two heart­break­ing mis­car­riages when I fell preg­nant with twins in July last year.

‘What if I lose them, too?’ I’d cried to my then part­ner Ja­son, 29.

But the preg­nancy had gone to plan… Un­til, at just 24 weeks, I’d gone into labour.

Rushed to Northamp­ton Gen­eral then Birm­ing­ham Women’s Hos­pi­tal, I was given dev­as­tat­ing news.

‘It’s very rare for twins to sur­vive if they’re born this early,’ a doc­tor warned gently.

When I was told to ex­pect still­births, I felt like my world was end­ing.

Af­ter that, it all hap­pened quickly.

Just two pushes and, one minute later, my daugh­ter Har­ley was born, fol­lowed by my son Jack­son.

Har­ley weighed just 1lb 11oz, but her heart was beat­ing. Jack­son weighed just 3oz more, and gave a lit­tle cry as he ar­rived.

I sobbed.

They were alive.

But, within sec­onds, my tiny twins were whisked away. I felt empty. My body had been pro­tect­ing my ba­bies for al­most six months. But now, there was noth­ing more I could do, other than place my trust in the

They were born just six days af­ter the abor­tion limit

doc­tors who were fight­ing to save them.

They told me Har­ley and Jack­son had been born just six days af­ter the abor­tion limit.

If they’d come a week ear­lier, there’d have been noth­ing doc­tors could have done to help them. But medics ral­lied round. Scared as I was, I felt some­thing very strongly. ‘They’re fight­ers,’ I in­sisted. At just 9 days old, Jack­son needed a life-sav­ing op­er­a­tion. His bowel hadn’t de­vel­oped prop­erly, and now part of it had col­lapsed.

Doc­tors warned me that he had just a 2 per cent chance of com­ing through the gru­elling, three-hour surgery.

The wait was heart­break­ing. But, to the doc­tors’ amaze­ment, Jack­son pulled through.

Har­ley had prob­lems, too. With too much fluid on her brain, her head had swelled to four sizes big­ger than it should’ve been.

Doc­tors had to give her three lum­bar punc­tures to re­duce the fluid. Then, at 2 months, she had to un­dergo emer­gency brain surgery.

‘I know they’ll sur­vive,’ I said to Ja­son when doc­tors warned us their chances were slim.

The day I got to hold Har­ley, she was 1 month and 3 days old, and still fit­ted into the palm of my hand.

It was an­other month and three days un­til Jack­son was well enough for me to hold him.

It felt like a mir­a­cle.

They re­ally are my ba­bies,

I thought.

But we weren’t out of the woods yet. And sadly, un­der huge pres­sure, Ja­son and I split up. I was now a sin­gle mum – but I knew I’d cope some­how.

a fighter, too.

You see, aged just 12, I’d suf­fered a stroke, and had been left paral­ysed from the waist down. I’d used a wheel­chair un­til two years be­fore fall­ing preg­nant, when I’d be­gun teach­ing my­self to walk again.

Maybe I’d passed that de­ter­mi­na­tion on to the twins. I hoped so…

At 4 months, Jack­son’s bowel col­lapsed again, and needed to be rushed to Birm­ing­ham Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal for more emer­gency surgery.

I had to go with him, of course. But leav­ing Har­ley on her own with the nurses broke my heart.

Then, two days af­ter Jack­son and I re­turned to Northamp­ton Gen­eral, Har­ley needed surgery, too.

Fluid on her brain had re­turned, and doc­tors de­cided she needed a shunt.

She was trans­ferred to the John Rad­cliffe Hos­pi­tal, Ox­ford.

This time, I had to leave Jack­son on his own.

Once again, I was torn be­tween two tots.

But be­ing re­united with them again was joy­ful!

My ba­bies were dis­charged on 21 June – five months af­ter I was told they wouldn’t sur­vive. Now, they’re 9 months old. Har­ley weighs 11lb 7oz and Jack­son’s 12lb 14oz.

They’re hav­ing physio and do­ing well.

We’ll learn in time if their pre­ma­ture birth has led to any fur­ther prob­lems.

But all that mat­ters to me now is that they’ve proved ev­ery­one wrong.

I knew my amaz­ing ba­bies would make it.

We’re a fam­ily of sur­vivors.

I’d fought back from a stroke in child­hood my­self

Lit­tle Har­ley needed a brain shunt

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