Zoe Stewart and Paddy Kelly were delighted to find out they were expecting twins. However, their delight changed to worry when Willow and Niamh arrived more than three months early and needed blood transfusions to survive.
Born on the 3rd January, the tiny sisters were so fragile they were placed in a plastic bag to keep their bodies moist and warm as soon as they were born. Needing several blood transfusions to survive, they spent their first nine weeks fighting for life in separate incubators before they were finally able to share a cot. Between them the babies battled a bleed to the brain, a deadly bowel infection and holes in their hearts. Niamh also had to be resuscitated when she stopped breathing a week before she was due to go home.
The doctors warned us that because they were born so early that one or both of them might not survive.
Zoe says, “The doctors warned us that because they were born so early that one or both of them might not survive.
“A one kilogram baby will only have 80mls of blood in them because they get constant blood taken for tests, they can’t make their own blood quick enough. This can cause anaemia and anaemia can cause bleeds on the brain. That’s why the blood transfusions are so important.”
Together, the twins spent eleven weeks in hospital before they were able to go home. However, both girls are now fighting fit, and the family want to thank blood donors for giving them their first Christmas together – and their daughter’s first birthdays.
People give such a small bit of time to give blood, but that small bit of time is the reason why we are here and the girls are doing as well as they are.
Paddy says, "People give such a small bit of time to give blood, but that small bit of time is the reason why we are here and the girls are doing as well as they are"
Zoe says, “We’d like to thank everyone who has given blood and if you’ve never given blood then please register”.
To save a life like Willow or Niamh's call 0345 90 90 999 to register or to find out where your nearest donation session is scotblood.co.uk
Current blood stock levels across Scotland Saturday 19 September