A Mother`s story
Our identical twins, Erin and Kaitlin, were born at 36 weeks weighing a sturdy 7lbs 6oz and 7lb 3oz respectively. The first 6 weeks of their little lives went fairly normally, settling into family life at home with their 17month old big sister Ellie.
We were due to attend a hospital appointment for a routine scan of their girls hips in January this year and it was the first day I was able drive again having had a c section. Arriving at the hospital, I opened the car to get the girls into their buggy and was filled with horror. Kaitlin was pale and limp in her car seat, blood coming from her nose. I scooped up her little lifeless body and ran to A&E where she was treated by the resuscitation team.
Kaitlin suffered both respiratory and cardiac arrest. It took over 8 minutes to revive her. She was put into a medically induced coma and her body was cooled to a low temperature (to try to preserve brain function). Over about a week she was treated in the PICU and gradually brought out of the coma, warmed and had life support removed. She made a remarkable recovery at each step and despite being without oxygen for a considerable period of time, and in fact an unknown period of time (in the car), all her test results so far are very positive.
The cause of the arrest is unclear and unconfirmed although the doctors believe that both girls suffer from reflux and that it is possible that Kaitlin was sick and inhaled the vomit. Before our discharge the doctors recommended the use of apnoea monitors for both girls as obviously with no confirmed cause and the trauma of what had happened we were anxious that it could happen again. The hospital was however unable to provide us with any to have at home.
We scoured the internet looking for monitors to buy, but the cost of two that would work effectively with the girls sleeping so close together was much more than we could afford. I did eventually turn to a number of charities which is when I came across NARA. We called and spoke to the most wonderfully helpful people who really understood our concerns and the extremely stressful situation we were in. Despite having none available at the time, NARA was able to supply us with 2 monitors within a matter of days. When we returned home with the 2 girls they both had apnoea monitors to use when asleep and most importantly in the car.
Our family, friends, doctors and other professionals have been amazed at how quickly we have fought to overcome our fears (getting back in the car with the babies in particular) and we would not have been able to do that without the monitors. It is extremely difficult to get out with three children under 2 years old even if you haven’t been through such a tough time, with the monitors we can happily drive the three girls around, and have been able to be independent. We have also had peace of mind which has allowed us to sleep.
NARA has helped reduce our anxiety, giving us the freedom to live our lives and have our independence. They have also provided support at a critical time and we will never forget their kindness.