Mandy & Adam Marsden, Carlisle

premature twins

After three years of trying and one miscarriage, finding out we were having not just one but two babies was a dream come true. My pregnancy was fairly uneventful, save for a scare about water on the brain which turned out to be nothing.

Then at 23 weeks and 3 days I got up in the night to go to the toilet and had a show. My local labour ward advised me to go in and when they examined me at 5am I was already 5cm dilated and there was no going back. Various consultants came to talk to us and we were given the very scary statistic that at 23 weeks, only 16% of babies survive. Since our local hospital didn’t have a Neonatal intensive care unit, we were given the opportunity to travel to a hospital 2hours away which did, and would give our babies the best chance of survival. It was an easy decision. We were rushed through to North Tees in an ambulance and although I held onto them another 36 hours, once my waters broke we knew we would be meeting our twins very soon.

Six members of the Neonatal unit were standing at the end of the bed while I delivered-waiting with heated beds and resuscitation equipment. They’d explained that sometimes a baby born too soon will give a sign that they don’t want to be here but when both our twins gave a little cry on their way out, we knew they had fight in them. 5 hours later we got to meet them in the neonatal unit and the staff helped us to understand the kind of things to expect. We were told the next few hours were critical but soon 24 hours turned into 48 and that had turned into a week. During that time the nurses and doctors worked around the clock to keep their tiny hearts beating and their immature lungs full of air. As a new mum desperate to hold her babies, I will never forget Zoe guiding us to hold their hands for the first time and Jodie showing us how to lift them inside the incubator when their bedding was being changed-the closest we came to a cuddle for three long weeks. When each baby ended up needing emergency surgery, their quick action to transfer them to the RVI saved their lives yet again.

Now we are four months in and our little girl Darcy has been discharged. Her big brother Joshua is still in the RVI but may well be home by the end of the month. One thing is for certain- without the staff at North Tees we wouldn’t have our children here now-how can you ever hope to repay them?