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Eli's Story

My son Max was born in 2011 but I knew I wanted more children. I was delighted when I fell pregnant in October 2014 but at my 12-week scan, I discovered I wasn’t even pregnant!  I had a very rare ‘molar pregnancy’ – a mass of tissues in the womb that never form an actual baby. 

The ‘molar’ had to be surgically removed. A little too soon after the molar was removed I found out I was pregnant in March, but sadly I miscarried almost immediately. I fell pregnant again in April and due to my previous history, the doctor advised a scan at 6-8 week.   This time there were no ‘molars’ but four, yes FOUR flickering beans! Unbelievably, I was carrying QUADS!

Two weeks later I had another scan that brought a roller-coaster of emotion. I was ecstatic that two of my babies had bouncing heartbeats but sad that two babies had no heartbeat at all.  I was now carrying twins who were sharing the same sac and placenta and it would be a high-risk pregnancy.  At the 12 week scan, the babies had separate sacs but still shared a placenta, making the pregnancy slightly less high risk, but still very scary.

I was so worried about the pregnancy and too scared to tell anyone, in case something went wrong and to make things worse, my husband, Craig, who is in the army, was posted to Canada for several months. I had to cope on my own.

At a July scan, I was told there was a slight difference in the amount of fluid around Twin A and Twin B, and they would scan again in two weeks. But I was beside myself with worry and persuaded them to do another scan in one week’s time. I now felt huge and uncomfortable, like I was due to give birth any day! Nothing would prepare me for the next few weeks…

Alarmingly, at the scan, Twin B had a minimal amount of fluid around her and my twins were diagnosed with TTTS (Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome).  I was at St. George’s hospital in London the very next day to have laser surgery to separate the vessels in the placenta, to try and make the blood flow supply more equal. My babies were given a mere 33% chance of survival.

I was petrified and it was the scariest thing I’ve ever had to do.  I started off with quads and now I could lose them all!  Thankfully, the post-surgery scan showed that both babies still had heartbeats and I was so relieved.

I had to go back the next Friday to check to see if the operation had been successful and my stomach lurched when they told me it hadn’t and I would have to have another round of surgery! I felt sick! Why was this happening? Surely my twins weren’t going to survive this time as well? The next 10 weeks were filled with scans, an MRI, and heaps of anxiety!  I was so, so scared I would lose my babies.

On 3rd October 2015, Blossom and Tilly were born at 29 weeks weighing 2lb 7oz and 2lb. They really were the tiniest babies I’d ever seen and so fragile!  Every time I looked at them I cried and I was wracked with guilt that I couldn’t carry them for long enough. Like I hadn’t looked after them the way a Mum should…

We were told to expect to go home around our due date, December 18th. I had to spend the next 11 weeks in the hospital away from my son Max but luckily my Mum was looking after him.  

On October 6th, Tilly’s health deteriorated and the hospital could no longer provide her with the care she needed. She had to be transferred. I now had 3 children in 3 separate places, miles and miles apart! How could I split myself in 3 and be there for all my children? I was told Tilly may not have a good chance of pulling through, as her kidneys were failing. Once the transport team collected her, it was heart-breaking and I thought it was going to be the very last time I saw her alive…

Nearly three weeks later I had the most uplifting news that my amazing miracle Tilly, was well enough to come back to her sister! All we had to do now was get through the next 8-9 weeks and everything would be fine at last!

But on October 20th, my life was dealt another major blow.  My little brother, aged just 3, was diagnosed with Leukaemia! My world was spiralling out of control - life was a blur and didn’t seem real. I didn’t have my Mum; I missed my son and husband;  I wanted my babies home; my brother was in the hospital having Chemo. I just wanted to crawl into a corner.  Life felt cruel, like a terrible nightmare I wanted to wake up from.  I was alone and frightened and didn’t know how I was physically going to carry on.

BUT somehow, I don’t know how I slugged through and after 62 very long days in NICU, we were finally allowed home! After weeks of watching other babies come and go, it was our turn at last and the nightmare was ending! It was such an incredible feeling to bring my girls home after going through so much – they fought the whole way through.  And once again I was ecstatic to have them home but tinged with sadness knowing they were originally part of four.

I still can’t believe my girls are here some days and doing so well. The outcome could’ve been very different. I shared my story because I want to spread awareness of TTTS and encourage research into the condition. No twin should have to walk alone.

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