It looks like any happy family shot, but little Tillie and Lottie Fowler have fought many battles in their short lives, since arriving into the world 17 weeks early.
Officially Scotland’s youngest surviving twins, Tillie and Lottie tipped the scales at a combined weight of less than three pounds when they were born in the Princess Royal Maternity in Glasgow on 11 August 2016.
Now, to mark World Prematurity Day, the girls and their parents Jenna and Stuart Fowler have returned to the hospital which was home for 125 days to meet other parents and say thanks for the care they received.
All NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde maternity hospitals will all be marking World Prematurity Day in some way and at the PRM, nightshift staff will have purple glow sticks and the babies will all be sporting special purple bobble hats.
Mum Jenna said: “It was all very scary going into labour 17 weeks early. I had no warning either as everything with my pregnancy was going great up until then. With twins there is always a higher chance of prematurity and the fact they are mono mono twins increases the chances even more. This means as well as being identical, they shared both their amnions, chorions and placenta too. It’s very rare – about one on 10,000 births.
“As you can imagine, it was all very scary but the care we received was amazing and we can’t thank them enough for the emotional help to get through this journey.
“We spent 125 days in the hospital and by then we knew every member of staff by name. Carolyn Abernethy, our neonatal consultant was with us from day one and will continue to monitor the twins until they are two. Our community nurse too, was amazing and supported us well when we got the girls home on oxygen.
“We are just so grateful to have the twins and realise just how lucky we are.”
All three maternity hospitals within NHSGGC look after premature babies, with the youngest being treated at the Princess Royal and the Queen Elizabeth. Premature means a birth before 37 weeks gestation and can bring both short and long term issues for the babies concerned.
Neonatal intensive care nurse Sharon Foster helped plan the event. She said: “Last year we had the privilege of caring for Lottie and Tillie, Scotland’s youngest twins to ever survive. It was lovely to see the mums, dads and especially the babies back on the ward and looking so healthy and big!
“It makes all the difficult moments so worthwhile when they come back to visit and we can see for ourselves how well they are doing.”
Another mum to go through the unenviable journey of a premature birth is Lynne Duffy from Glasgow, who has eight older children. Her baby Keilan was born at 25 weeks and 4 days, back in March 2016.
She said: “I don’t know if it’s because he has an older brother and sisters, but he’s really coming on great. He walked at what would have been his first birthday and he’s repeating everything I say, so it’s really amazing how far he has come.
“Our care was incredible and we really did feel like number one - every member of staff gave him 100%. I always felt the nurses really knew him and could tell if he was having a good or bad day. I honestly believe he is only here because of the care he got from Dr Allan Jackson and I can’t think him and the team enough. Keilan is wild but I wouldn’t have it any other way!”
The SSE Hydro in Glasgow will also be illuminated in purple lights for the occasion.
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