Meet Zack and Finn, a set of twins with an unbreakable bond.
The one-year-old brothers have had a tough start to life.
After their mum, Caroline Bishop, 40, had complications during her pregnancy, she had to undergo pioneering surgery at 24 weeks to try to correct stage four Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS), which caused an uneven blood flow between the babies and meant Zack received more nutrients than Finn.
The surgery was successful, but Zack suffered major brain bleeding, leaving him with irreversible damage.
Caroline, and her husband Matt, 38, who is a company director, were advised to consider a termination at 28 weeks, but the following day the twins arrived.
Zack is disabled, but has defied the odds to learn how to walk and talk with the help of his twin, along with older brother Sam, six.
And he now loves spending every minute with his twin, Finn, reading side-by-side and high-fiving at the dinner table.
Mum Caroline said: ‘The twins have such a sweet bond, they often hold hands in the buggy or wake one another up to have a babble at 5am.
‘They always share food and laugh at each other which is great fun to watch.
‘They are always smiling at one another and even at their young age – sharing their toys.
‘I was terrified when I found out it was twins at the nine week scan – I was worried because my older son, Sam was born at 34 weeks.
‘I could just about cope with one child never mind three but now I couldn’t imagine my life without them.
‘At the start it was all very worrying and scary – but now, it is so different. I love Zack for the child he is and his disability doesn’t matter anymore.
‘We will face the challenges together.’
The twins are already showing their individual personalities at just a year old, with their mum describing Finn as a ‘little pickle who is into everything’, while Zack is ‘laid-back and sweet’.
‘He is so keen to be doing all the things his twin can do such as crawl which he hasn’t got the strength to do but he can now sit up,’ Caroline says.
Zack’s brain injury – known as periventricular leukomalacia – was revealed when he was still in the womb.
This condition involves damage and cell death in the tissues and can often lead to cerebral palsy.
Doctors warned the parents that Zack may never walk or talk and may have a poor quality of life, but Caroline says he is starting to reach ‘mini milestones’.
‘We were devastated and began to consider a termination after a scan at 28 weeks but the next day I woke up bleeding,’ said the mum.
‘The hospital tests came back fine but they kept me in for observation because of the surgery, I woke up and my waters had broken.
‘I didn’t even get chance to process the diagnosis of Zack having an awful life ahead of him.’
The twins were delivered via an emergency C-section at 28 weeks plus two.
Both babies were taken to NICU at Lister Hospital in Stevenage, Herts, shortly after their arrival, and the parents prepared to say goodbye to Zack.
‘I was rushed in my hospital bed to the unit as they thought we were going to lose him,’ said Caroline.
‘But he was saved by my cuddle, I was sobbing whilst holding him on my chest – he was completely still but then he moved a couple of times and after a while he was placed back in the incubator.
‘A few days later, Finn caught sepsis. He was flopped and pale but thankfully he was pumped with antibiotics and saved.’
The turning point for Zack was when he was four weeks old. He was diagnosed with an infection of the bowel, necrotising enterocolitis, which required emergency surgery.
Caroline knew her son was going to survive and that he was a fighter.
She now feels all the more grateful for every moment with her boys.
‘Finn was discharged after 76 days and Zack was after 107 days,’ Caroline said. ‘It was strange having one home without the other.
‘It was amazing having them both together and now I treasure every special moment.
‘It is incredibly hard to find help when your child is disabled and all of a sudden it feels like you are fighting for your child – when it shouldn’t be a fight.
‘I am determined to raise awareness of this horrific disease in a bid to prevent the worst happening to little babies.’
Do you have a story to share?
Get in touch by emailing [email protected]
Source: Read Full Article