With the number of pregnancies all over the world, it’s not uncommon to find babies that are born prematurely. Popularly known as preterm babies or "premies", premature babies are children born before the 37th week of gestation.
Usually, most pregnancies last for 40 weeks. Although most premature babies survive, they are prone to have several developmental problems.
It is unknown what causes preterm birth, however, some conditions such as the mother having an infection or multiple births are believed to play a part in it. For this mum from Southend, Essex, it was both.
The brave premie boys
Amy Maslanka and her partner, Liam Sneath, were pregnant with twins, but they didn’t know things would get difficult until Amy went into labor at 23 weeks and four days. The doctors warned the couple that their boys had a very slim chance of survival.
Amy’s pregnancy was running its normal healthy course until she began experiencing cramps. On getting to Southend Hospital, it was discovered that she had a water infection.
A day later, the boys were born naturally with the first twin, Felix, weighing 1lb 20oz, and Rhonin weighing 1lb 40z.
Before she could catch a glimpse of her boys, they were whisked off to the special care baby unit. They were so delicate that their parents couldn’t even touch them. The twins were born with an open valve in their hearts.
Felix’s condition was fixed with medication, but Rhonin had to undergo surgery. Also, the doctors said that they had large hernias, meaning they had to undergo other operations.
It was a dark time for Amy and Liam, as it was heartbreaking to see their babies go through all that pain. Finally, after 50 days, they got the chance to hold Felix and, two days later, Rhonin could be cuddled as well.
Five months and four hospitals later, the brave boys were finally allowed to go home with their parents. Although they still need tubes to breathe, Felix and Rhonin no longer need medications and are developing normally.
While speaking to The Sun, the happy mother revealed that her boys are her bundles of joy.
"We feel very lucky. We have two little miracles.”
Amy and Liam have authorized their boys’ medical records to be used to encourage other parents that might be going through the same ordeal.
A spokeswoman for the Twins and Multiple Birth's Association, Tamba, revealed that Felix and Rhonin are believed to be among the youngest ever premature babies to survive in Britain. The boys have celebrated their first birthday and they are thriving.
Taking care of premies
Although parents are always thrilled to welcome their children into the world, having premies can somewhat dampen that joy as you become fearful of several complications. There are a few simple things that can make taking care of your baby easier.
1. Even if your baby can breastfeed, you can also feed him through a tube. All you need to do is pump as much as you can into a bottle. Also, talk to your doctor about supplementation with formula.
2. Keep your baby away from smoky areas and public places as their immune system is not strong enough and they are susceptible to infection.
Rhonin and Felix are an inspiration to the world for their bravery. Hopefully, parents with premies can draw hope from this story. These kids are survivors!