Mom believes twin 'sacrificed' herself during birth to save premature sister

2019-02-17 08:34
PHOTO: CATERS/WWW.MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA.

PHOTO: CATERS/WWW.MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA.

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A woman who was left devastated when one of her twin girls died during a premature birth is convinced the child sacrificed herself to help save her sister's life.

Ashley Simons (33), a special-needs teacher from Basildon in Essex, Britain, went into early labour with twins Esme and Isla last year.

Doctors tried to administer life-saving medication to the girls in their mother's womb before their birth, but Esme had already become stuck in the birthing canal. This delayed Isla's birth.

Ashley – who'd spent five years and £6 000 (about R109 000) on IVF before falling pregnant with her twins – believes Esme sacrificed herself to save her sister.

Because Esme was stuck in the canal, Isla – who was still in her mother's womb – was able to receive the life-saving drugs she needed before being born.

Esme didn't survive the birth even though doctors tried to resuscitate her for five minutes. Thankfully Isla – after spending 138 days in hospital – survived and has just celebrated her first birthday with her mom and dad, Mitchel (32).

Ashley says she'd been excited to finally fall pregnant. "We'd had to go all the way to the Czech Republic to have successful IVF and despite having a cervical ectropion, essentially a graze on the cervix which had caused some bleeding, I had a great pregnancy.

"After hearing my twins' heartbeats for the first time we found out they were both girls. Me and Mitchel were ecstatic and so excited that our dream had come true."

But at 24 weeks Ashley's pregnancy took a drastic turn for the worse.

"I was having pains in my stomach but I didn't associate them with labour. I was at home at the time and it wasn't until I suddenly felt something drop down through my womb that I began worrying that I was in labour.

"Panicking, we rushed to hospital where I was told I was showing signs of being in labour. Doctors tried to stop the labour but because I was fully dilated, there was nothing they could do.

"I was told the chances of the babies' survival was very low and if they did survive, they'd be taken straight to intensive care."

Ashley says it was evident as soon as she was born that Esme hadn't survived the natural birth.

"I was told Esme had a heartbeat right till the last minute she was born. I knew straight away there was no sign of life. But she'd given Isla the time she needed to be able to get the medication the doctors were administering to me.

"They used steroids and magnesium sulphate and because Esme had planted herself in the birth canal, Isla had time.

"Esme saved her and is her guardian angel."

Ashley says she only needed to push twice before Isla flew out. She was squeaking instead of crying and was put straight into a sandwich bag to keep her warm.

The little girl was transferred to the Royal London hospital while her parents said goodbye to her twin sister.

"We held Esme and treated her like a normal baby. We took photos with her and took hand and footprints.

"We were even able to change her nappy and dress her thanks to a cuddle cot, which is a cold bed for babies who've died."

Isla spent 54 days on a ventilator and was diagnosed with a grade-four brain bleed. A valve in her heart also hadn’t closed properly.

Ashley believes her sister had given her a fighting chance at survival.

"Isla is a fighter, even now. Esme saved Isla's life, without question."

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