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Sally's story

18 November 2016

I'd done a positive test, so I knew I was pregnant when I went on holiday for two weeks. But whilst I was away, I started to bleed for two days, so when I then went for my first scan I was expecting bad news. But the radiographer said “Yes, there’s a heartbeat”. I was very relieved.

Then she said “Hold on, look, there’s another one”. I thought “Wow, this is amazing!”. But then she said to my husband “I think you’d better sit down.” We asked why, and she said “There’s a third heartbeat too!”

Words can’t describe how we felt! My husband did sit down – he went as white as a sheet. I was shocked but also really excited – it felt amazing. Nevertheless, our family all thought it was a joke until we showed them our scan pictures.

At 23 weeks my labour started but I was put on hospital bed rest. However, two weeks later the boys decided to make their arrival. Jake arrived when I got up to go to the toilet - we laugh now that Jake has always been trouble from the start!

I’d woken up with bad back ache one morning having felt uncomfortable all night. I went to the toilet and heard a gush of water. I panicked, and then I felt a head. I was really, really scared at this point. I pulled the emergency cord - one nurse came and then suddenly the room was full of people. I got onto a bed and Jake was delivered, and then there were nurses and doctors everywhere.

But the other boys were laying transverse so I had to be given general anaesthetic and have an emergency c-section. I was even more scared now – there was a medical team of four for each baby.

All three boys were born very tiny and very poorly. At birth Jake weighed 1lb 6oz, Ben weighed 1lb 10oz and Sam weighed 1lb 5oz. The first few days were a daze, but then the reality sunk in.

Sam was extremely poorly and had severe bleeding on the brain. He passed away after four days, and we had his funeral wondering if Ben and Jake would survive.

They did. Ben came home after six months with oxygen. Jake, however, wasn't so lucky. He was ventilated for three months and had a tracheostomy at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Then he had a cardiac arrest whilst on the way to an eye clinic appointment at King’s College Hospital, and he had to spend a month there. He then spent a further ten months in the Kent and Canterbury Hospital where the boys were born.

Jake finally came home with tracheostomy, oxygen and feeding tubes. So we had two babies on home oxygen and equipment everywhere – we had to buy a huge shed to fit all the equipment in. He was de-cannulated aged four years.

Sally's sons Ben and Jake at home

Today Ben has no long-lasting effects and is nearly 5ft 8 tall! Jake is the shorter twin, he has learning difficulties and attends a special needs school. He is blind in his left eye, with limited vision in his right one and uses a walking cane, and he has an open hole in his neck which he uses to breathe through.

But earlier this year my boys graduated from school. Ben got ten GCSEs including one A grade, and Jake is now studying Life Skills - we couldn't be prouder!

Sally's sons Ben and Jake now

If you have been affected by any of the issues mentioned in this post and would like support, you can call our helpline on 0808 801 0322 or view our online support pages. If you would like to share your story with Bliss, please email media@bliss.org.uk

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