Twins? Seriously? You’ve got to be kidding me?

With a 12 month old at home, how are we going to cope?? The tears started to fall, I couldn't believe it. We could never manage, let alone afford, 2 more children at this time. Little did we know our life was certainly going to change, but for very different reasons. Looking back I often wondered was God punishing me for reacting the way I did, would things have been different if I were more positive? But over time I knew this was just one of those things, and I needed to turn my negative experience into a positive one.

It was soon discovered our identical twin girls were Monoamniotic, a very rare and very dangerous twin pregnancy. They were both in the same amniotic sac, a massive danger to each other from conception. The mortality rate is 50%, (according to the statistics at that time) so I was closely monitored, and constantly reminded by the hospital they could die at any moment. As if being pregnant wasn't a scary enough time I had this to contend with too!! The main reason for death was cord entanglement, without this special protective sac they are a danger to themselves and each other. The longer the pregnancy continued the higher the risk. I began researching, spending hours upon hours reading stories, medical notes, and ploughing through websites.. All the while rubbing my belly with as much love and affection as I could muster. I tried to educate myself as best I could to ensure I was doing everything correctly, and to give my girls the best possible chance of survival. There was so much negativity surrounding this type of pregnancy, and being the person I am, I tried my best to stay positive, send positive vibes to my babies and focus on a successful and happy ending. No one would ever question my commitment to do my best for these beautiful babies.

So now my initial reaction of how would we cope with two more mouths to feed, had changed to how would we cope without our beautiful girls? They were soldiers in our eyes, little fighters already. Such a hard start to life and they were still in the womb, they hadn't even ventured into the world. How unfair was that? I had to ensure they were as safe as possible in my belly and be their voice on the outside world; loud, strong and determined. Twice a week I was routinely scanned and twice a week I’d see 2 precious heartbeats, 20 fingers and 20 toes, growing and developing, they were defying the odds. They started to develop little personalities; Emily was the quiet and refined one, she'd always wave at the scans, but was very camera shy. I used to say she would be the sensible one when she grew up, ensuring everyone got home safe and sound after a night out, whilst Heidi was a looper, always kicking and punching me, especially when I had just nodded off and she particularly loved hammering away at my bladder. She would be all arms and legs in the scans, trying to steal the limelight. I knew she was going to be trouble, but Emily would be the one to keep her in check....

Until June 8th 2010, the day our lives were turned upside down. A routine scan, at 29+6 weeks, showed only one of my precious heartbeats, one of my soldiers had been taken from us. I had gone to the scan that morning on my own, something I will never forget, and my poor consultant had to leave the room to compose herself, as she had really thought they were both going to make it. I was in a daze, I knew it could happen at any stage, but I chose not to believe it, as they were doing so well. The race was on to save our other little girl as she was making herself anaemic trying to save her sister. After meetings with specialists the decision was made to have an emergency section to save her sister. She was going to be 10 weeks premature but we all felt the risks in the womb greatly outweighed the challenges in the outside world.

My girls were born at 4.30 that afternoon. Emily was born sleeping, weighing 2.5lbs, perfect in every way, she just looked so peaceful. Heidi was born screaming, weighing 3.1lbs, ready to face the next big battle of her life on the outside world. They were just beautiful. We cuddled Emily for hours, days in fact, trying to keep her warm and willing her to just open her eyes, she was so perfect. It just didn’t seem real. We’d one girl fighting for her life in ICU, whilst the other girl was in our arms but lifeless. We took lots of pictures, received prints of her hands and feet, a lock of her hair and had a lovely burial ceremony for her on 14th June.

Heidi was rushed to ICU where she was made stable and fed vitamins through her belly button for the first couple of days. I didn’t get to meet her until next morning and it was so surreal. We knew they were tiny as we had held Emily, but Heidi just seemed so helpless, lost, in this big incubator. The days turned into weeks, she had good days and bad. She survived intubation, CPAP, 2 blood transfusions, MRSA, and a blood infection. Heidi was fighting it all, and winning. I spent every possible minute with her; watching her every move, watching her grow and thrive before me. I became obsessed with expressing my breast milk, as I could see the benefits right before my eyes.

My life revolved around the ICU and getting her home to meet her family and friends. It was such an emotional roller-coaster trying to grieve, be strong for Heidi and not let our other little girl at home suffer from our current predicament. I kept a journal, a day to day account of everything she went through in the hospital, all the treatments she received, little comments on how we were feeling, how great the staff were and how big she was getting. I found this very therapeutic; it was like my own little counselling session each day.

8 weeks on, the big day finally arrived. I could have screamed from the rooftops when they gave us the news we’d so eagerly waited to hear. Yes we were worried, could we manage with such a small delicate baby? Would she survive without her machines? Of course we would, she was our daughter, and we were the best people to take care of her.

July 29th 2010, our fighter was discharged, a whole 5lbs of gorgeousness. She is a true miracle, loved by all, especially her big sister Zoe, and guarded by her twin, Emily, from her playground in the sky.

It's now 2015, my daughter Heidi is a happy 5 year old, getting bigger and bolder by the day. Her big sister Zoe adores her and she now has a little brother called Charlie. We'll always miss Emily, and think of her every day. She's a massive part of our lives and inspired me to create this website, a Facebook page and I'm also writing a book, and hopefully I can help others through their Momo journey.

I'm also a director and active volunteer with Irish Neonatal Health Alliance and I hope to continue my work volunteering and fundraising to help others and also keep this site running, in memory of my precious angel Emily.