UK’s youngest premature twins defy expectations

A mother in Nottingham has shared her delight after giving birth to the UK’s youngest premature surviving twins.

Jade Crane was just 22 weeks pregnant when she went into labour – so unusually early that the doctors at Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham repeatedly referred to the delivery as a miscarriage.

While medics often state that babies cannot survive outside the womb before 24 weeks, Harley and Harry arrived five months early in October last year weighing just 1lb 10oz and 1lb 15oz respectively.

‘Not procedure’

Jade recalled her confusion during the delivery: “We were told there was zero chance of survival. I got distressed when they kept calling it a miscarriage.

“How could it be a miscarriage when I could feel the babies? They were alive, but I was shocked to discover that they weren’t going to be monitored during the birth.”

They were told it was not procedure to monitor such young babies, or to give pain relief to the mother. Jade also asked about giving the babies steroids to give them a better chance of survival but was told that wasn’t procedure either.

I was shocked to discover that they weren’t going to be monitored during the birth

‘Comfort care’

Shortly after the birth, the tiny twins were taken to the hospital’s ‘Serenity Suite’, where again they were expected to die.

Jade said: “I didn’t know where I was at first, until I opened a cupboard and saw all these tiny clothes — the ones bereaved parents can put on their babies to say goodbye. They’d told me that would happen.

“I’d be given ‘comfort care’, handed the babies, and I would be able to spend as long as I wanted with them, taking pictures, as mementos.”

Health issues

But, defying the odds, the pair survived and – while still small and vulnerable – now weigh over 5lbs each.

They have only just passed their due date of 24 February, but already in their short lives have undergone six operations between them, battling through sepsis, eye problems, lung issues and brain bleeds. Just seven days after the birth, Harley suffered a perforated bowel and was expected to not survive.

Jade recalled: “That was the worst day ever. We were told to prepare ourselves. She was going to die”.

Future preemies

She continued: “They took her to surgery, but they had no idea if it would be a success because they hadn’t done it on a baby that small before.

“It’s been like that all along, the doctors saying, ‘Look, Jade, we are going to do this, but we haven’t got the medical evidence so we just don’t know’.

“But now, we are at the stage where they do have medical evidence, and hopefully for those premature babies who will be born in the future, what they have done to keep Harley and Harry alive will be the medical evidence.”

Also see:

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Parents of UK’s smallest baby share their joy

World’s smallest baby home after 13 months in hospital

Progress of ‘micro preemie’ baby amazes doctors

Baby given 1 in 5 chance of survival celebrates fifth birthday

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