Dad’s blizzard dash to see birth of premature twins
A SAILOR raced across the UK in the middle of the night to see the premature birth of his twins at just 27 weeks old.
Ben Goodall, 39, received a frantic phone call from his wife, Victoria, who told him that the heart rate in one of their twins was slowing down and doctors might have to perform a caesarean.
Ben, from Bishopbriggs, East Dunbartonshire, was flying to Gatwick to join his ship in Portsmouth but changed his plans when he received the news at the airport.
The Royal Navy chief petty officer hired a car and drove through the night in a blizzard to make it to Princess Royal Maternity in Glasgow city centre in the morning.
Incredibly, he made it to the ward with just 15 minutes to spare before the emergency caesarean.
Victoria, 36, gave birth to a girl, Emelia, who weighed a tiny 2.05lbs, and a boy, Elliot, who weighed just 2.03lbs.
The twins had blood transfusions, respiratory support, sepsis, and little Elliot needed eye surgery and a hernia repair.
Having been born 13 weeks early, the twins spent a total of 107 days in the hospital before coming home - where they have gone strength to strength.
Victoria said: “It was awful, I called Ben when he landed and told him what was happening and he had to come back right away.
“He hired a car and drove through the night – including a blizzard. That must have been awful for him.
“It was such a long night but I had my midwife Gillian McLaughlin by my side the whole time, holding my hand and reassuring me. She was truly amazing.
“Come the morning I was told they couldn’t wait any longer and would be doing an emergency caesarean to get the babies out.
“In the end, Ben made it with 15 minutes to go.”
Two neonatal teams, headed up by consultant Dr Chris Lilley, were standing by for the caesarean.
The problem was discovered during a routine antenatal appointment on March 20, and the twins didn’t go home until July 5.
Victoria added: “The babies were whisked away immediately and I think that was the worst bit.
“I didn’t even get to hold them together until they were three weeks old. But I knew they were getting the best care imaginable.
“Once again the staff were amazing with me. Rather than going to the post-natal ward, I was put in a single room in the antenatal ward.
“I couldn’t have faced the other ward with the babies and the balloons and the visitors; this kind gesture made such a difference to me at that time.
“My mum had to call my work to say I wouldn’t be in – I had had my babies 13 weeks early.
“The obstetrics team were so kind, they kept coming back to visit me over those difficult first few days.
“Their job was done but they went above and beyond to see how I was doing and give me words of encouragement.”
The couple also appreciated the support from the Royal Navy, who gave Ben five months paid compassionate leave.
Victoria said: “His ship was about to deploy to the Med just after the twins were born and they realised there was no way he could be away from them.
“They have been incredible and I don’t know what we would have done without this support. It was one less thing to worry about.”
Baby twins Emelia and Elliot were born 13 weeks early, and below, Ben and his wife Victoria Goodall with their newborns
Victoria with her twins at home, and Elliot, centre, and Emelia, right, in hospital after being born at the Princess Royal Maternity in Glasgow