Preemie twins’ survival was “touch-and-go,” but healthy and happy two years later

Had they been a few days younger, hospital staff would not have cared for them

By Dave Andrusko

Mother Caroline said if the girls, pictured in hospital, had been born any earlier they would likely not have been given emergency treatment.

Mother Caroline said if the girls, pictured in hospital, had been born any earlier they would likely not have been given emergency treatment.

Caroline Wirt told the British publication The Daily Mail she hoped the story of daughters Sapphire and Ruby Wirt “would inspire other families.” Anyone reading Joseph Curtis’s great story would assure Mrs. Wirt she should have no worries about that!

Mrs. Wirt had experienced problems along the way. Already the mother of three, she bled heavily and was hospitalized numerous times.

Then, suddenly, on January 4, 2015–at 23 weeks into her pregnancy–Mrs. Wirt’s water broke.

Rushed to the hospital she was placed on antibiotics only to contract sepsis–“an inflammatory response to an infection which can overload the body’s ability to cope,” as Curtis explained. “While she could be treated fairly easily, doctors couldn’t risk the twins contracting it and so they were forced to deliver them by emergency cesarean.”

The twins were born at only 24 weeks and “were little more than the size of their mother’s hand.” “They were then “covered in bubble wrap to keep warm after being delivered by cesarean section.”

“The doctors said it was very unlikely they would both survive. One of them might make it, but almost certainly not both of them,” Mrs. Curtis said.

“But they’ve overcome everything in their way which I’m sure is down to their unique bond. They’ve been together through everything and given each other the strength to survive.”

But there was another danger hanging over the delivery. There is no guarantee at all in Britain–in fact there is a presumption against–treating babies born before 24 weeks.

“I had them bang on the day I turned 24 weeks pregnant, which meant the hospital staff were able to intervene and help them breathe,” Mrs. Wirt, 36, told Curtis. “Any earlier and the chances were the doctors would not have been able to help them because that’s what the law says, and we would have lost them.

“But they were just the right side of the time limit and because they were breathing, they were able to step straight in and ventilate them.”

Both girls have subsequently had surgeries– Sapphire required laser eye surgery due to a lack of oxygen to her eyes while Ruby needed surgery to fix a hole in her heart–but both are “happy and healthy now.”

“They have to go back for the odd check-up with the consultants now and they can’t believe that they survived,” Mrs. Wirt told Curtis. “For one of them to pull through everything is one thing but to have both of them standing here is a complete miracle.”

She added, “We’ve been through so much and it’s so wonderful to see them as happy healthy little girls.”

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