Gabriel and Saoirse15 Jun 2019, 9:04 a.m.
Katy and her husband Joel were expecting twins.
What they didn’t expect was for Katy to go into labour at 27 weeks but unfortunately, on Katy’s birthday, her waters broke. She and Joel were petrified.
Katy was rushed to St Michael’s Hospital where she was introduced to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit team to discuss her babies’ impending arrival. Katy was given steroids to mature their lungs and also a magnesium infusion to protect their brains.
On 21 July 2017, the beautiful Gabriel and Saoirse said hello to the world. Immediately, they were incubated and taken to NICU. Seeing her babies so tiny and fragile was hard for Katy but she knew they were in safe hands. Both Gabriel and Saoirse were put on a ventilator to help with their breathing and under blue light to reduce levels of jaundice.
By the day, Gabriel and Saoirse grew stronger but it was difficult to predict when they would be ready to go home. Katy and Joel wanted more than anything to be together as a family and this was made even harder by being unable to hold Gabriel and Saoirse. However, through the use of muslins covered in Katy’s scent and story books read aloud, the NICU nurses’ ensured Katy and Joel could still bond with their little ones.
Katy was soon discharged and returned to her home in Bristol while Gabriel and Saoirse remained on the Unit. Despite living in the local area it was still extremely tough to be apart. Katy even met fellow NICU families and learnt how important Cots for Tots House was for those who lived further afield.
After a roller-coaster journey, Katy could eventually hold her brave babies.
“The first time I held them was one of the happiest moments of my life!”
The twin’s progress continued until Saoirse developed sepsis. Katy and Joel also learnt that Gabriel had a hole in his heart and chronic lung disease. Saoirse eventually recovered and was well enough to come home but sadly, Gabriel wasn’t ready and it would be a further three weeks until he could be by his sister’s side.
“We spent three months in NICU and have spent a further two years under their care. We are wholeheartedly grateful to the team. They saved the lives of our preemie twins and enabled them to thrive whilst supporting our family.”
Gabriel and Saoirse are now 22 months and thriving. Gabriel is under the care of the cardiac team at Bristol Children's Hospital and Saoirse had been under the Orthopaedic therapy team but is now discharged and walking. Their incredible progress is a testament to the expert care the NICU team deliver each day and the fighting spirit of some terrific twins!