Sophie and Mollie’s Story
In September 2010 my husband mark and I were delighted to discover that we were expecting our first baby. At an early scan more surprises were in store and we were over the moon to discover we were expecting twins, everything we ever dreamed of. At 20 weeks we found out we were having two little girls much to our delight!!
I felt great through my pregnancy a little bit of low iron but overall no major complications until a routine scan at 28 weeks which revealed that one of the twins (Mollie) was not receiving the correct blood flow and oxygen she should be. We were ushered into another room after the scan, I just knew something wasn’t right. I remember looking at the doctor and saying does this mean they need to be delivered? He looked at me and said we will try and keep them inside as long as possible, we will give you scans every other day and steroid injections to help with their lungs. We were told that I would not expect to go over 34 weeks.
At 31 weeks the doctors at the RVI made the decision to admit me to the ward, I needed to be scanned daily and heavily monitored. A scan at exactly 32 weeks showed that the blood flood and oxygen was now at a dangerous level and the girls need to be delivered. It all happened so fast, doctors discussing with me that the babies would need to be cared for in special care, I had surgeons discussing with me about the emergency section, signing consent forms and cannulas being fitted into my hands. However I was then told that there was only one bed available in Special Care and that I was being transferred by ambulance to North Tees Hospital in Stockton.
On 11th April 2011 Sophie was born weighing 4lb 1.5oz and Mollie was born weighing 2lb 12oz. Sophie was immediately whisked away to special care as she had breathing difficulties however Mark got to hold Mollie for a short while. We were so shocked at how small she was!
Initially the girls were transferred to the green area (the middle area). I remember going in and all I could see was equipment and all I could hear was beeps from the alarms, it was very scary and daunting for us both for what should be the most happiest time of your life. The girls were both in incubators and attached to various wires and tubes to monitor and feed them. Sophie was hooked up to CPAP for the first few days and then managed to breathe alone. All I wanted to do was hold my babies but instead I was only able to touch them through incubator doors. The staff were fantastic at North Tees and were always there to support.
After 5 days the girls were transferred back to the RVI special care to the blue area. The girls needed help with jaundice and had a few ups and downs along the way however they went from strength to strength and after a couple of weeks they were transferred to the green area. They were allowed out of incubators and put into cots with apnoea alarms attached to their bodies. Everything was more relaxed and not much equipment or alarms sounding off, I felt more in control of my babies here, they eventually started to feel like ours. The girls managed to feed well, put on weight and keep their own temperatures. After what felt like the longest 4 weeks and sitting by their bedside for over 14 hours a day the girls were allowed home. This was without doubt the best day of our lives.
Our time is special care, although relatively straight forward was quite hard emotionally. No one can ever prepare you for the shock of seeing such small vulnerable babies. The hardest part was having to walk away each night and leave your children in hospital, at times this left you feeling empty. Luckily the staff working on the unit are unbelievably supportive from the nurses, consultants to the cleaners!!
During those weeks we spent a lot of time in SCBU and got to see first-hand just how much incredible work is done there and how well all the staff on the ward look after the babies in their care. Unfortunately for many parents with babies in SCBU the journey doesn’t have the happy ending ours did, an ending we will be forever grateful for.
Mark, Rachael, Sophie and Mollie chose to fundraise for Tiny Lives
“Whilst we can never repay SCBU for the amazing care, support and compassion they showed us, we’d like to go a small way to giving something back by raising money for Tiny Lives.”
Rachael and Mark have both run the Great North Run in honour of Tiny Lives, and Sophie and Millie have completed the Mini Great North Run – www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rachael-bell10