Giving birth to twins outside of the hospital – Alicia’s Story

Alicia 1

Alicia gave birth to twins at 26 weeks. Her first twin girl was born in the passenger seat of her partner’s car, and the second twin in a stationary ambulance in the forecourt of a petrol station. Both twins weighed less than one kg, and when they finally got to the hospital, their 96-day NICU stay was full of ups and downs.

When I was 26 weeks pregnant, I was losing clear fluid and experiencing pressure in my pelvis area, which I knew wasn't right. I went to my maternity hospital and was diagnosed with bulging membranes and found that I was dilated by two centimetres. I was given various medicines, including steroids, just in case our girls decided to come. They had no room for the girls in our NICU at that moment in time, so I was taken to another hospital.

On 17 September 2020, three days after I was admitted to hospital, I was discharged and my partner picked me up from the hospital to make our journey back home so I could go on bed rest. However, during the journey, I had back ache (which wasn't uncommon as I was carrying two little people inside of me), but closer to home I began to lose significant amounts of blood. We rang our maternity hospital who advised us to call an ambulance and wait for them, but the closest place we could stop was at a petrol station not far from Hull.

While my partner was on the phone to the ambulance dispatcher, I began contracting - I gave birth to one of our twins on the front seat of my partners car on the forecourt of the petrol station. The ambulance dispatcher was amazing, he had talked him through the birthing.

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Our first twin came out yawning and stretching - we had to wrap her up in my partners fleece and hold her close. Shortly after, the ambulances arrived on scene – they got me and our little girl out of the car and onto the ambulance. While it was still stationary, they delivered our second little girl, and they kept the three of us going all the way to Hull Women's Hospital. It was a very frightening experience.

When we arrived at the hospital, we were met by an amazing team for me and two amazing neonatal teams for our girls. We finally got to see them both later that evening - twin one weighed just 785g and twin two weighed 815g. It was such a scary sight - seeing all of the tubes and breathing equipment. We later found out the first twin was so cold that they couldn’t read her temperature, but the next day they were putting up a good fight.

Our 96-day journey in the NICU was long and so worrying - we had a lot of highs and lows. I have no idea how we managed to stay so calm - it was especially tough because we have two other children who were at home too. Our oldest twin suffered with Necrotising Enterocolitis (NEC) and had to have hourly surgeon visits just in case she needed to be operated on.

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She suffered after that back and forth to the intensive care room until I cut dairy from my diet, and luckily, she was then able to tolerate her milk and began to thrive. Our second twin struggled with her breathing but finally she began to get better after the intervention she needed. They both came home on oxygen but now are thriving happy one-year olds, and we are so proud of them.

On neonatal wards and in the NICU, it’s the little things that are celebrated so much. For example, when our baby had a bowel movement on their own or tolerated 1ml of milk. People laughed at how joyous we all were because to them it may seem small, but to us it was a huge milestone. I think it just shows how wonderful all these babies truly are - these neonatal babies are so special and so strong; everyone should be in awe. I know that we were lucky and are so very blessed that our two girls survived. We even made it home just in time for Christmas.

We are forever thankful to Hull Women's and Children's NICU. They are truly incredible – not only do they provide brilliant medical care, but the emotional support is too.

Alicia 4