At 23 weeks and 5 days, I started experiencing bad back pain. I went to hospital the following morning and was told there was a 14% chance I would go into labor in the next 7 days.
At 24 weeks exactly, I had an ultrasound that showed the girls had developed stage 3 Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome, meaning there was an uneven placenta share, and one twin had essentially shut off her blood, and nutrient supply and sent it all to the other twin.
We were left to decide whether to terminate the pregnancy, give birth and try to save one or both of the girls.
My waters broke the following morning, and I had a natural birth at 24 weeks and 1 day. Maddison was born first weighing 667g and Paige was born 4 minutes later weighing 495g. Paige lived for 16 minutes.
Maddison spent 118 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne. She suffered chronic lung disease, a grade 2 brain hemorrhage, a hole in her heart, pneumonia, 2 rounds of laser eye surgery for Retinopathy of Prematurity and 2 hernias, amongst other things.
We watched her stop breathing almost daily, unable to get off the ventilator without a long course of steroids. Before discharge, Maddison failed her newborn hearing screen twice, and not long after we bought Maddison home, we also learned that she is Deaf. At 2 years old she was also diagnosed with Level 2 Autism Spectrum Disorder.
She is now 7 years old and still attends physio, occupational therapy, speech therapy, an opthalmologist and countless hearing appointments.
Throughout our ordeal, we received much support from Miracle Babies Foundation. When Maddison was about 6 months old, I started attending NurtureGroup and being able to connect with other parents who were experiencing similar journeys was invaluable.
When she was 3 years old I became the Melbourne NurtureGroup Coordinator and now help support those parents that were in the same position as me many years ago".
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