From the very beginning we had a difficult pregnancy and weren’t sure of our boys’ future. At my 12 week scan it showed they were identical twins and that there was a possibility of twin to twin transfusion syndrome. We were referred to a consultant in Glasgow to determine if this was the case. The twins were eventually diagnosed with selective intrauterine growth restriction (SIUGR). This meant that my smaller twin wasn't getting an equal share of the placenta and was behind in growth.
The future of the smaller twin was uncertain, and we were warned we may have to make difficult decisions in order to preserve the life of our bigger twin. So, each week we travelled to Glasgow from Edinburgh to be scanned and get an update on how the SIUGR was affecting our boys. And each week they seemed to be ticking along nicely. There were a few weeks when we weren't sure if we'd get to next week, but we did. At 26 weeks I had steroid injections to help boost the twins’ lungs and give them a little help for when they arrived.
At 29 weeks our consultant wasn't happy with a routine heartbeat trace and decided our boys would have to be delivered that day. There was no time to visit the unit, we just had to accept that they were about to arrive and get them out as soon as possible.
After a very brief explanation of how a caesarean section would work, I was whisked into theatre. Our boys arrived 40 minutes later but I never actually got to see them. They were taken straight to intensive care.
I was amazed at how tiny they were when I eventually got to see them, two hours later. They weighed just 910 grams and 1035 grams, but they were perfect. Our smallest twin was four days old when I first got to hold him, all covered in wires and with machines helping him to breathe. I have never felt so scared in all my life.
It was day six before I held twin number two, and even though he was bigger, it didn’t feel less uncomfortable because of the wires, machines and beeping. They stayed in Glasgow for one week, then we were transferred back to Edinburgh. I’ll never forget that ambulance ride back home - I felt like nothing was in my control and all I wanted was to get them back into a hospital.
The boys were in Edinburgh for ten weeks. We got our big boy, Franky, home after nine weeks and then Freddy came home a week later on his due date, on oxygen. Having one twin home and one still in hospital was difficult, as I pined for Freddy and almost felt guilty leaving him and spending time with Franky.
Altogether, we spent 11 weeks in hospital. We went through scary and tough times, we saw them struggle but ultimately get bigger and stronger every day. Seeing your babies with wires covering them and inside incubators is something I don't think anyone can prepare you for. It's a feeling like no other and I don't know if you can ever really get to grips with it. I took it positively and reminded myself that they were there for a reason and that a hospital was the best place possible for them.
We are all doing well now. Freddy is still smaller than Franky, although he doesn't seem to do anything differently. We are a lucky family. And although every baby is special, babies that were written off from the start like Freddy are maybe that extra bit special.
I hope this will help any family preparing for a difficult twin birth. Sometimes, miracles do happen.
If you are pregnant with twins, or have twins currently on the unit and would like support, you can download our information booklet on multiple births, or order a printed copy from the shop. You can also call the helpline on 0500 618 140.
If you would like to share your story like Billie, get in touch with the media team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.