Rebecca Foster Snook – Parent Advisor

Hi, I’m Rebecca, I’m married to Ben, a mummy to three gorgeous boys and a primary school teacher.

Ben and I first found out we were pregnant in April 2013 and were so surprised at the first scan to hear we were expecting non identical twins. At the scans the boys were never very co-operative, and we had numerous scans as the sonography struggled to see everything each time.

 

At 24 weeks we finally walked out of the hospital feeling happy as the consultant told us the pregnancy was perfect. However, 5 hours later I had started feeling very uncomfortable and just thought I’d over done it and went for a lie down. I started getting twinges and rang the hospital at 10pm and was told to go straight down.

When I was examined we were told that the twins were coming, and I was quickly transferred from Darlington to North Tees and the doctors attempted to stop the labour using medication. This worked and three days later I was told I could go home – this was the first day without the medication, so I asked to stay one more night. It was a Saturday night and that night I went into labour again and the boys were born just after midnight on August 18th at 24 weeks and 5 days gestation.

 

Oscar was first born and weighed 1lb 10oz and Hari was born two minutes later weighing 1lb 7oz. The boys were both born breathing and I was encouraged to hold Hari before they were whisked off to the neonatal unit … I’m guessing this was because he wasn’t as strong as Oscar. We were able to go up to the unit a few hours later and nothing could have prepared me for how small and helpless they looked. Four days later Hari was transferred to Leeds General Infirmary as he had a perforated intestine.

He required an operation to repair his intestine and coped with the operation well. It was so hard having the boys in different hospitals as we travelled to each one on alternate days, so we were exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally. Hari couldn’t be transferred back to North Tees as he wasn’t stable enough because of the ventilation he required and eventually this led to too much damage of his tiny lungs.

Sadly, he gained his angel wings at 30 days old – we were with him when he passed away and Ben felt him take his last breath – this was only the second time I was able to hold him and Ben’s first time.

We were devastated but put all our efforts into doing what was best for Oscar and being with him as much as we physically could. He was doing really well but had ROP (Retinopathy of Prematurity) which is a disease of the eye that affects premature babies due to the effects of oxygen. At 32 weeks he had laser eye surgery at James Cook Hospital to try and reduce the damage to his eyes and this was repeated a few weeks later.

We eventually brought him home on oxygen two weeks before his due date. We didn’t know what the future would hold for Oscar and his development was always something that I thought about. He came off home oxygen in May 2014 aged 6 months corrected. Oscar is nearly 5 years old now and will be starting school in September. He sees an eye specialist and has worn glasses since being 15 months old. He has no developmental issues, he is very bright and loves learning.

Once we got Oscar home and things started being a bit easier and less hectic I started counselling and was originally assessed for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder but later it was decided by my counsellor that Cognitive Behaviour Therapy would be more successful.

During the counselling I learnt how that everything that happened was out of my control and I needn’t feel guilty that I wasn’t able to carry the boys to full term. Nearly 5 years on and the journey that we faced still affects us – the trauma of the neonatal journey and the devastation of losing a child.

We mourn the life we should have had with our twin boys and Hari is thought about every hour of everyday. We have since had a successful pregnancy (nearly full term) and Oscar has a little brother called Alfie who was born in April 2016. Since our experience I have helped a few people facing the same journey and I feel my support has been beneficial to them – we received help and support from our family and friends on our journey but never actually spoke to anyone who had been through anything similar.

 


Facts & Figures

79% of parents said a neonatal stay affected their mental health

Leo’s saw a 337% increase in need due to COVID-19

Did you know, reading to your baby in the NICU helps their development?

Leo's Neonatal

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