Born early, Noah had already managed to survive Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS) and spent the lead up to Christmas battling to stay alive in Intensive Care.
Noah was conceived via IVF, from the only embryo good enough to implant, then that embryo split into two and Noah’s mum, Kim, and her husband were delighted to be having two miracle babies after years of trying to start a family.
However, at 17 weeks, came the discovery that the twins had TTTS, where one twin transfuses blood to the other whilst in the womb. A week later Noah’s mum had laser surgery and she told us that, “An hour afterwards, I was scanned and they found two heartbeats. We were so happy and felt so lucky!”
“During a scan the next day the consultant took a long time and I knew something was wrong. He told me my smaller twin had passed away and my bigger twin was showing signs of heart failure. I was distraught and in agony. We also found out we were having boys. I had to continue to carry both babies as I couldn’t risk anything happening to our surviving twin.”
“It turned out our survivor wasn’t suffering heart failure and continued to grow. But lots of things continued to go wrong. At 24 weeks my waters broke early and later in the week my placenta started to come away and a clot formed close to the opening of my cervix.”
At just 28 weeks and 5 days the boys were born. Noah arriving first, weighing 2lb 4oz and his little brother Isaac arriving afterwards weighing just 1oz.
“Noah was taken to intensive care and Isaac was taken to the morgue. The pain I felt was both emotional and physical. I wouldn’t be able to cope if I lost Noah too. I was utterly broken.”
“Later, we went to see Noah. I will never forget the first time I was wheeled into that unit. The noises will always be with me. My baby boy looked like a plastic doll. I tried not to love him to protect myself but it was impossible. I was paralysed with fear I would lose him too and broke down every day next to his incubator”.
Noah struggled through for ten long weeks of extreme ups and downs, attached to wires and breathing equipment. He endured three blood transfusions and three treatments for sepsis, with so many backward steps in between.
But, at last, Noah came home on oxygen in time for Christmas!
Noah’s family were thrilled to have him home in time for Christmas. But it was bittersweet for them. Noah’s Mum told us, “We held a funeral service for Isaac. He had to be recognised - maybe not legally but he is just as much our little boy as Noah is. They were identical and I'm wracked with guilt every day that Noah doesn't have his brother.”
Sadly there are many more families like Noah’s. Twin pregnancies are still more than one and a half times more likely to end in a stillbirth and more than three times more likely to end with a neonatal death than singleton babies. So while you are reading this, other families will be grieving for a lost baby or babies, and preemies, like Noah, will be fighting to survive in intensive care.
Medical Research is the key to preventing prematurity, discovering better treatments for conditions such as TTTS and saving babies lives. Noah’s mum told us that “I felt so strongly about the research being funded by Twins Trust, I ran the Cardiff Half Marathon to help fund it. I was pleased to raise £880 to help pay for research in the hope of helping other families, to spare them the pain we went through. We want all babies to make it home for Christmas”