Oliver and Edward
Oliver and Edward, our identical twin boys, were born on 27 August 2009 at 24 weeks plus 5 days gestation at Queen Charlotte’s and were 1lb 10oz and 1lb 9oz respectively. After two weeks they were transferred to St Mary’s. They had a roller coaster of a ride with various scares along the way, particularly Oliver, who had suspected necro enterocolitis and sepsis when he was 10 weeks old, and we hastily had him christened as it was not looking like he was going to make it. They were finally discharged home after 98 days.
As anyone else who has experienced a neonatal unit will attest, it is not a time that one can forget. I often have flashbacks to the trauma of witnessing what my own children and other children and parents went through, yet also remember all the amazing team there who were so incredibly professional, thoughtful and kind. Every day in there I wrote a diary so that I could keep track of all the medical facts and also the names of all the nurses. Of course, once the boys came home I had no time to maintain the diary, but when they are old enough, I will read it to them, to help them understand what happened to them in the early days, and also how many people helped them.
The boys are now 8 and are amazing little boys. They are full of beans and truly embrace life, and adore each other. Their prematurity has impacted them to some degree. They are both small and slight for their age and we managed to hold them back a year academically which has certainly benefitted them (they are now in the year group for their corrected birthday rather than being the youngest in the year) and they are thriving at school. Oliver has struggled with some motor skills and has had some occupational therapy. He is also in the process of being investigated for some auditory processing issues, but now that his teachers are aware of it and some simple measures put in place at school, he appears to be coping well. He is a stubborn little chap who just gets on with things, which is wonderful. Overall though, so far they have been incredibly fortunate. They will no doubt have other challenges ahead of them, like all children growing up.
Life as parents has rushed by since they were born (they have a brother who is 2 years older than them!). They are starting to understand a bit about how precarious their early lives were, which was partly what prompted me to write this. I hope they will learn to be as grateful as their parents are for all that was done to support all of us back in 2009.