De­light for fam­ily af­ter their chil­dren are to­gether at last af­ter spend­ing months apart

Evening Times - - NEWS - BY CA­TRI­ONA STE­WART

HIS mum says he’s her lit­tle mir­a­cle boy...and now baby Ol­lie Hall and his twin sis­ter Orla have been re­united for a first Christmas she feared they would not see.

Snug­gling up be­side their big brother Al­fie, six, the eight­month-old ba­bies look the pic­ture of health.

But they have had an in­cred­i­bly dif­fi­cult start in life af­ter be­ing born at just 26 weeks – and spend­ing months separated in two dif­fer­ent hos­pi­tals.

Mum Ar­lene said: “I went into spon­ta­neous labour in April at work but I never even knew it was pos­si­ble to have ba­bies so early.

“I had a cou­ple of mis­car­riages be­fore I had my son so I just as­sumed some­thing was go­ing to go wrong.

“When they told me I was five cen­time­tres di­lated I thought that’s it, that’s it for this preg­nancy. My ba­bies are gone.”

As Ol­lie was breach, the twins were born by Cae­sar­ian sec­tion at Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal Wishaw and Ar­lene de­scribes be­ing “ter­ri­fied” they would not sur­vive.

Ol­lie, at just 1lb 9oz, was the small­est baby to be born at Wishaw that month.

Ar­lene, 33, said: “I was sur­prised how formed they were. They had the wee lines in their knuck­les and the backs of their hands.

“But I was ab­so­lutely pet­ri­fied. “My hus­band Ja­son used to wheel me down and sit me be­tween the two in­cu­ba­tors and I would sit and close my eyes, I couldn’t look.

“I don’t know if I was scared to have a con­nec­tion, scared to look at what was about to get taken away from me.”

Five days af­ter the twins were born Ar­lene was dis­charged home while the ba­bies stayed in hos­pi­tal.

But in the mid­dle of the night Ar­lene and Ja­son were wo­ken by the news Ol­lie had taken a turn for the worse.

They were told to get back to the neona­tal unit as quickly as they could.

Ar­lene said: “I was just, just di­gest­ing what had hap­pened and then boom, it all went crazy at 2am.

“Sud­denly my worry was in Glas­gow, and my worry was also in Wishaw.”

Gas had been es­cap­ing from Ol­lie’s tummy and bowel but doc­tors could not find an ex­pla­na­tion.

Af­ter two weeks on an­tibi­otics he had to be taken to the­atre for in­ves­tiga­tive surgery.

Ol­lie spent seven weeks in the Neona­tal In­ten­sive Care Unit (NICU) at the Royal Hos­pi­tal for Chil­dren while Orla was at Wishaw Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal.

Re­flect­ing on how the fam­ily coped, Ar­lene said: “You don’t have a choice, you have to.

“The worst thing was driv­ing away and leav­ing your baby in hos­pi­tal. Driv­ing away down the mo­tor­way think­ing, ‘I’m leav­ing my baby.’

“We did that for 16 weeks in to­tal be­cause Ol­lie came home but was then read­mit­ted to Glas­gow in Au­gust.”

Ol­lie was fi­nally re­united with Orla in May, and the twins came home to­gether in July.

But the re­union did not last as Ol­lie was ad­mit­ted back to the Royal Hos­pi­tal for Chil­dren in Au­gust as a rou­tine overnight test turned into another nine week hos­pi­tal stay.

The baby had been booked in for a rou­tine loo­pogram – a di­ag­nos­tic test to check the func­tion and size of his bowel – but fur­ther com­pli­ca­tions were dis­cov­ered.

Ar­lene added: “He had been through so much al­ready and he and Orla had spent more time apart than to­gether in their short lives al­ready.”

While in for the loo­pogram, the team dis­cov­ered that two bi­lat­eral her­nias Ol­lie had al­ready were stran­gu­lat­ing his tes­ti­cle, which meant emer­gency surgery.

Dur­ing his oper­a­tion his stoma was re­versed.

But the stoma re­ver­sal did not work be­cause of his ex­ist­ing scar tis­sue col­laps­ing on it­self – so he had another stoma cre­ated.

Ar­lene said: “No mat­ter what Ol­lie ex­pe­ri­enced, he just fought the whole time.

“He re­ally is a lit­tle mir­a­cle boy who, along with his beau­ti­ful brother and sis­ter, helped Ja­son

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