"It broke my heart that my twins were separated" - Georgie's story

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Georgie was not new to the neonatal experience, her first child was premature and needed care in SCBU. But when Georgie gave birth to full term twins, she did not expect them to end up in neonatal care. Here, Georgie describes the birth journey of her twins Alice and Henry.

My second pregnancy was classed as high risk for a number of reasons: I was 39 years old, I was having twins, and I had previously had a premature child at 30 weeks due to Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR), which meant that my baby did not grow enough in the womb during pregnancy.

Much to my surprise, this pregnancy went relatively smoothly, with only a few concerns towards the end which resulted in a last-minute C-section two days before scheduled, but both babies appeared to be born healthy at 5lbs and 6lbs.

My husband and I spent the next few hours in a post birth haze, getting to know our new son and daughter. During this time, the midwives decided that as our daughter was only 5lbs, both twins should have their blood sugars taken after their first feed.

Our daughter, Alice, went first with a borderline reading, then came our son, Henry. His recorded nil. At first the midwives thought the machine was incorrect, but it was soon clear that his blood sugar levels were worryingly low. He had to be rushed to the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) to be put on a glucose drip to bring his sugars up to a normal level.

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Alice and I were taken to the ward under the instruction that blood sugars were to be taken again after her next feed. Unfortunately, her sugars did not improve, so she was also taken into the SCBU and put on a glucose drip. I was once again left on the ward without a baby.

I made my way to the SCBU as soon as I was able the following morning. I found Henry in intensive care and Alice in the room next door. It broke my heart that my twins were separated. Alice was responding well to the glucose, but Henry had to be put on a higher concentration to be able to keep his sugars at a normal level.

Both twins were diagnosed with Hyperinsulinism (an above normal level of insulin in the blood). When asked what would have caused this, I was informed that this is usually from Gestational Diabetes which, when I was tested, I was given the all-clear, so I was very confused.

During the day, Alice stabilised but there were still issues with Henry. The concentration of glucose had to be increased again, as he was not responding well. It was at this point obvious that neither Henry nor Alice would be leaving SCBU soon.

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Over the next few days, Alice continued to improve, but Henry’s journey was much more of a rollercoaster. He would respond well to a reduction in glucose and when another decrease was applied, he would crash and need to go on an even higher level of glucose than before.

It got to a point when it could no longer be delivered through a cannula and he had to have a long line inserted. After a number of failed attempts in the unit, it was agreed that he need to be transferred to another hospital, as it may need to be surgically inserted.

That evening when I watched him being wheeled out of the unit, I broke. I had been so strong up until that point and just sobbed whilst rocking Alice.

Luckily the next hospital was able to insert a long line without the need for surgery and he was transferred back to us.

The following morning on our arrival into the unit, we were ushered in to a corner room. We knew this was not good. Henry had developed an infection and his levels had crashed again overnight, but this time it was agreed that medication had to be started. However, it could not be prescribed at this hospital and he had to be moved again!

As this hospital was even further away, we decided with the doctors to try and get Alice home as soon as we could. This would relieve some of the pressure on us, having to visit two hospitals and having a four year old at home. I was insistent the whole time that I wanted the twins to come home at the same time, but this was not to be.

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Over the course of the next week, Henry responded perfectly to the medication and was completely taken off the glucose drip. His blood sugar levels were staying at a decent level. After three weeks he was ready to be discharged.

We brought Henry home with multiple medications and had to check his blood sugar levels every three hours 24/7, but he was home and back with his twin sister.

Henry was on medication for five months and under the care of Great Ormond Street Hospital for two years. He is our little superstar.

Henry and Alice just celebrated their third birthdays and we are so happy that they no longer have any health issues.

Looking back at both my experiences in the SCBU, having my twins was the scariest by far. I knew when my eldest was born that we were in for the long haul and had prepared myself for it, but it was a complete surprise with the twins.

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