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We were warned our twin’s NICU journey would be long and challenging

As a mum of three sons, aged 9, 7 and 4 years, Keris was disappointed when she was told that she was entering early menopause and could not have any more children. But the disappointment soon turned to surprise when blood tests revealed she was already unexpectedly pregnant!

This is Keris’ story:

Our first ultrasound revealed it was twins! We were shocked, excited and a bit scared at the thought of adding two more babies to our already busy family. 

At a scan at 23 weeks, the sonographer found my cervix was open with membranes bulging. I was rushed to our local hospital, and later that evening rushed by ambulance to the Royal Hospital for Women in Randwick. It was very overwhelming. I didn’t get to see our other children and my husband couldn’t come with me as he stayed to care for our boys. I was terrified when they took me to delivery on arrival at the hospital. I kept saying, “I’m not having the babies now!” Thankfully the babies were stable and eventually I was admitted to antenatal care.

Unfortunately, after a week in hospital, our girl twin changed position and began kicking her cord around in my cervix. We would later find out her placenta had ruptured. After a few frantic hours of alarms going off, midwives and doctors coming running, me being rushed to surgery, my husband rushing to hospital, doctors considering the options and explaining the risks, we had an emergency caesarean and our twins, Gwen and Eli, were born at 24 weeks gestation. They were each a tiny 740g and were immediately intubated and rushed to NICU.

The beginning of a challenging journey

As we had been warned, their NICU journey was long and challenging. They both had many challenges commonly associated with prematurity. It was 6 days after she was born that I finally got to hold Gwen, and an agonizing 13 days before I could hold Eli. Gwen had lots of trouble tolerating feeds, gaining weight and her little belly was very distended. Eli had more respiratory difficulty and had to be reintubated about 6 times. They both had many, many eye tests, blood transfusions, courses of steroids and other medications. Brain ultrasounds revealed they both had some damage to their developing brains, putting them at high risk of cerebral palsy.

Meeting their big brothers

Because of COVID restrictions, our older sons weren’t able to come to the NICU or meet Gwen and Eli. Eventually after 6 weeks, at the end of a really difficult week in which the babies really struggled and we also found out my mum had pancreatic cancer, our amazing social worker advocated for us to be able to bring the boys to the hospital to meet Gwen and Eli. They travelled to Sydney and the afternoon that I first had all my children together was the first time I hadn’t felt torn in months. It was so special and gave us the boost we needed to get through many more months of difficulty, including the twins’ first Christmas in Hospital.

Moving closer to home

After 104 days we finally made it to a hospital closer to home, and after another 2 weeks Gwen and Eli were discharged and we were, at last, all together at home. 

Tomorrow, it will be one year from Gwen and Eli’s due date. They are going well, considering the tough start they had. Eli has been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and we are working with therapists to support him as he grows. They both bring us so much joy day by day.

Share your story

Have you found comfort in reading other parents’ stories? We get lots of grateful feedback on how reading these personal stories help new parents to cope with their own experience. Every family has a unique and important story to share. Share your journey and celebrate your story below.

Karen Peters


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