Mother has two sets of premature twins in four years
29-year-old Joanna Jefferson from Locks Heath has given birth to her second set of twins at 27 weeks; just four years after her first set of twins were born premature at 30 weeks.
With an eight-year-old and five-year-old to care for as well, Joanna couldn’t believe it when 27-weeks pregnant she awoke to a pool of blood and was admitted to QA Hospital in Cosham where within a day she started naturally contracting.
“I had the first baby within an hour of contractions starting, and then my second baby’s heart rate dropped so I had to have an emergency C-section and baby two was born 10 minutes later,” says Joanna. “It was around 11pm so I had no family by my side, which is not how anyone expects their labour to go.”
Joanna says it was a surreal, scary experience that you couldn’t imagine happening to you once let alone twice. “When I was 30 weeks pregnant with my now three-year-old sons, in similar circumstances I started having contractions and my first baby was born within the hour, so to happen to you twice and so close together is both unbelievable and incredibly unlikely.”
Joanna says she awoke from the C-section in a recovery room of theatres where the first she saw of her babies was on a picture that a nurse produced. “Seeing their pictures just brought back horrible memories of when Harley and Hayden were born three years previous. They looked so tiny in their incubators, covered in tubes and on ventilators. I suddenly remembered desperately wanting to cuddle them and having to wait five days before I could. I couldn’t believe it that there I was four-years later in the same position.”
It wasn’t until 11am the next day that Joanna was well enough to visit the babies in neonatal. “They were both tiny at just over 2lb in weight and looked tiny in comparison to their brothers who weighed only a matter of ounces difference. Their skin was so paper-thin you could see their veins shining through; their bodies were covered with soft hair, they had no eyelashes, were too weak and small to swallow, suck and breathe properly; were in incubators to protect them from germs, had oxygen to help them breathe properly and were being fed through a tube. It was heart-breaking to see them suffer the same fate as their brothers.”
Joanna couldn’t hold her babies until they were 11 days old. “Holding my babies for the first time was incredibly emotional. I was just so grateful that they were alive.”
By three weeks one baby had lost weight and the other was slowly gaining it, with them weighing in at 2lb 3oz and 2lb 6oz.
“One baby was off the oxygen and doing incredibly well, but the other was struggling to breathe on his own, and his bone marrow was not producing enough red blood cells which meant he had to have a blood transfusion to transport oxygen around his body.”
Harley and Hayden were discharged from hospital at six-weeks old, but as these twins were born at 27 weeks, Joanna anticipates a much longer hospital stay.
“I just can’t wait until they’re both healthy and strong enough to be at home so all my children are together,” says Joanna.
Joanna says she is not worried about her babies’ development in future years as Harley and Hayden were not behind in their development. “They have done incredibly well and you’d never know that they were born at 30 weeks so there’s no reason why these boys would be any different.”
At 33 weeks and still weighing in under 3lb, the babies have now been named Donnie and Dougie.