What a difference a year makes...
WITH their bright eyes and cheeky smiles, these twins look like any other babies about to celebrate their first birthday.
In truth, it’s hard to believe Diana and Elias Burghel were actually born exactly 10 weeks early.
And it is only thanks to the work of staff at three hospitals that they miraculously survived.
When the tiny tots were born they each weighed around three pounds, and were able to fit into the palms of their dad George’s hands.
Both needed to be ventilated and had a number of complications. However, after receiving care at hospitals in Stockport, Tameside and Preston, they pulled through.
Doctors say they’re unlikely to suffer any long-term effects.
Mum Heather, 28, a GP from Stockport, said she and George were ‘ overjoyed’ when she fell pregnant.
Having been born at Tameside Hospital, Heather decided she wanted to have her twins there.
But from 24 weeks she began suffering complications that saw her admitted to the hospital a number of times.
She said: “Thankfully the babies did ‘stick’ for a further six weeks, as the story could have been very different if they had come any sooner.
“My waters broke during an admission to Tameside just before I reached 30 weeks, and it was the experience of the consult- ant to make the very wise decision to move me to the nearest hospital with two available NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) beds.”
Heather was moved to the Royal Preston, and went into labour the following day. The twins were delivered by emergency c-section on August 22 last year.
Heather said: “I was so glad the decision was made to move us, or we would have been making the journey after the twins were born when they were very unstable, and this would have been very risky.
“They were tiny, they fitted in our palms. No clothes would fit them until they were five weeks old, and even then the premature baby clothes looked big.”
Elias had to be on a ventilator for five days and Diana needed a non-invasive form of ventilation to help her breathe. Elias also needed antibiotics for an infection, and required a blood transfusion due to severe anaemia.
They spent two weeks at Preston, and then another six weeks being cared for at Stepping Hill, and Heather says she has ‘never appreciated the NHS so much’.
She said: “The care we received throughout was exceptional.
“Even though I have a tinge of sadness after returning to work as a trainee GP now they are 12 months old, I feel privileged to be able to give a little something back to the organisation that pretty much saved our babies.”
●● Elias and Diana now and, inset, when they were born with mum Heather