We couldn’t be more proud of our amaz­ing lit­tle mir­a­cles. They sur­prise us ev­ery day

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - NEWS -

Claire Palmer knows bet­ter than most the cru­cial work done by the chil­dren’s hos­pi­tals sup­ported by Oor Wul­lie’s cho­sen char­i­ties.

The proud mum calls her sons “lit­tle mir­a­cles” not only be­cause she was once told that she might never have chil­dren – but be­cause the brave boys have faced a fight for sur­vival since they were born.

“Leo and Sam are amaz­ing,” Claire said.“They’re sur­pass­ing all ex­pec­ta­tions. “We couldn’t be more proud of them.” Hav­ing suf­fered with poly­cys­tic ovaries, Claire, 39, was told at 21 that she would be un­likely to con­ceive nat­u­rally. Des­per­ate to have chil­dren, she and hus­band Rick turned to IVF.

The first em­bryo led to the birth of beau­ti­ful daugh­ter Jess, now four, the sec­ond re­sulted in mis­car­riage and the third saw Claire fall preg­nant with the twins.

But the lat­ter preg­nancy was dif­fi­cult. At 18 weeks, Claire was found to have twin-to-twin trans­fu­sion, a con­di­tion where one baby takes more blood from the pla­centa.

And at 25 weeks she went into pre­ma­ture labour. Thank­fully both ba­bies, Leo and Sam, now two, ar­rived safely.

At just a day old, Leo suf­fered a brain haem­or­rhage. He also had hy­dro­cephalus, faced five brain surg­eries in his first 18 months, and con­tracted bac­te­rial menin­gi­tis.

Sam was di­ag­nosed with necro­tis­ing en­te­ro­col­i­tis at two weeks old, and had to have most of his small in­tes­tine re­moved.

“As soon as one child started to sta­bilise, the other got very sick,” Claire said. “Rick and I were vir­tu­ally liv­ing at the hospi­tal.”

The fam­ily re­ceived un­con­di­tional sup­port from Ed­in­burgh Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal Char­ity (ECHC) – one of the three chil­dren’s hospi­tal char­i­ties backed by Oor Wul­lie’s Big Bucket Trail – and wanted to give some­thing back.

In May last year, Leo needed more brain surgery to cor­rect a con­di­tion in­volv­ing cysts in his ven­tri­cles. There were only eight sur­geons in the UK able to per­form the op­er­a­tion – and the equip­ment needed to be hired into Ed­in­burgh’s Royal Hospi­tal for Sick Chil­dren.

Re­al­is­ing Leo would need re­peat surgery, the Palmers raised £15,000 for ECHC, which helped the hospi­tal pur­chase one of the ma­chines.

Sam and Leo are get­ting stronger ev­ery day – and look­ing for­ward to cel­e­brat­ing their third birthdays next month.

“They were so sick for such a long time it’s hard to be­lieve they’ve made it this far,” Claire said. “But they sur­prise us ev­ery day.”

Claire Palmer with Leo, Jess and Sam

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