Sadie & Annabell's Story, 23 Weeks   

On Thursday August 23rd 2013 I was 23 weeks and 2 days pregnant with identical twin girls. At 6pm I began having bad back pains. These pain persisted for around one hour and then I told my partner that we needed to get it checked out. Once at the Kalgoorlie Regional Hospital I had an ultrasound to see how the girls were. This showed that Sadie was very low lying and my cervix was dilated by 1cm. This also showed that I had early signs of Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome, I was flown via emergency priority one with Royal Flying Doctors to King Edward Memorial Hospital in Perth. I was given one Steroid shot and anti-contraction tablets.

Once I arrived early Friday morning I was examined and was now 2cm dilated. I was advised of what could happen by having the girls so early and what the outcome could be if they survived through labour. I was on my own at the hospital while this was occurring because my partner couldn't fly with me and had to drive to Perth. Friday morning I had doctor after doctor asking me questions, finding out about my symptoms and telling me what their plan was to try to delay the girls so that I could get to 24 weeks at least. I kept telling the doctors I can get through the weekend all I need is their help and the girls will be ok. I had two litres of amniotic fluid drained to attempt to bring Sadie back up and stop her coming so soon. Once this was done an ultrasound showed that Sadie was staying where she was and the girls would be coming anytime. I was on total bed rest and raised back to try to help with keeping the girls where they should be. I then had the worst news told to me possible. I was told by a doctor that the last dose of steroids would not be given and all drugs stopped because they are going to "let nature take its course".

I held my deflated belly and told the girls what I would do and that I wouldn't let anyone let my girls die without a fight. I then bawled my eyes out and begged with everything I had left to let my girls have a chance and give me the steroids and anti-contraction tablets that they desperately need. My partner, my mum and his mum then arrived from flights and were given the news quickly and abruptly. Friday night I made a pact with the girls that I promised to fight for them and not let them go anywhere and they weren't allowed to leave us because we didn't know what to do without them.

On Saturday August 24th 2013 at 3:30am I had an overwhelming urge to go to the toilet when I moved my waters broke. With a quick hit of the buzzer two large warming beds, and a room full of doctors began the journey of delivering the girls naturally. Sadie Joan Johnson was born at 3:52am weighing 640g she let out a tiny cry and was taken away. Next was Annabell Rose Johnson weighing 570g and was born at 3:56am she took a little gasp and was terrifyingly small. The rollercoaster left the gates and has not yet stopped. Our girls were at King Edward Hospital for 4 weeks and were then transferred to Princess Margaret Hospital were we currently are. The girls have both had Bowel Operations and now have Stomas for Perforated Bowels, NEC and Twisted bowel for Sadie. Both the girls have Chronic Lung Disease. However when there is bad there is good. Both the girls are now feeding at 4-5ml every 2 hours. The girls are both now on CPAP at 6 weeks of age or 30 weeks corrected.

I have had my first cuddles with the girls at 6 weeks of age. Now the girls are comfortable they are sleeping and eating to get bigger and stronger. The doctors and nurses are amazed at how far they have come and how strong these two little fighters are. I promised these two girls that I am their mummy and I will never let anything happen to them and we will be ok. I remind them every night how proud I am of them and they are doing such a great job and that mummy and daddy love them very much. For all the new first time mums like me or for those that are just new to having a premature baby/s this is the worst experience you will ever encounter, no one will understand what is happening during this journey but you, your partner, doctors, nurses and most importantly other parents. The best therapy for me is walking down the hallway towards my girls from my room and thinking "this is a new day for my girls to keep getting better, whatever happened yesterday needs to be put aside".

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