This incredible photo shows how ‘miracle’ twin boys born at just 25 weeks were so tiny they weighed less than a loaf of bread and their hands were too small to even clasp dad’s finger. Toni Lacey said she went through the heartbreak of a miscarriage last July so was overjoyed when she discovered she was pregnant again with twins a couple of months later.
The mum-of-four was having a ‘perfect’ pregnancy until she was diagnosed with uterine dehiscence during a routine scan on January 13. It’s a rare but life-threatening complication occurring in less than 1% of pregnancies where a woman’s uterine wall tears open, which is more common after they’ve had a caesarean.
The 27-year-old was hospitalised for three weeks until Arley Bowles was born weighing a teeny 1.5lbs and his brother Ayden weighing just 1.6lbs – both each less than a loaf of bread. They even had to be wrapped in plastic bags to keep them alive.
An incredible photo shows how her boys were so tiny that their whole hand was too small to even fully clasp their dad Ryan Bowles’ finger. The stay-at-home mum says they also didn’t fit into any clothes until they were three months old and eventually wore size 3-4 lb outfits.
Since entering the world things have been far from plain sailing as little Arley was diagnosed with necrotising enterocolitis (NEC), a serious condition where tissue in the bowel becomes inflamed, and had his first surgery at just four days old. Ayden also has a grade four bleed on his brain and they’re awaiting to see the full extent of any damage it’s caused.
Toni said: “They’re my miracle babies, and my rainbow babies because I had them after my miscarriage. The doctors were honest with us and warned us that they might not survive, that it was going to be a really long journey and that it was going to be difficult.
“The doctor was saying how small they were, that their skin was literally like paper. When they were born they had to put them in plastic bags to keep them warm. They were literally tiny. My hand would cover their whole body when they were in the incubators one of their whole hands barely fitted around their dad’s one finger.
“They weighed less than a bag of sugar and were about the length of a banana. They didn’t fit into any clothes until they were almost three months old and were in three or four pound [clothes].
“The reason they came early was because I went for a regular scan and they were a bit worried as where I had my caesarean from my second, it was starting to tear from the inside.”
Toni was then transferred from her local hospital to Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Toni said: “I was in a lot of pain one night so they did a scan the next morning and the tear had basically doubled in size overnight, and they were worried that one of the babies was going to go through it.
“The sac that they were in was bulging through the tear, so there was a risk of it rupturing, which was why they delivered them so early. It was really scary and horrible. It was just a worry of whether they were actually going to survive or not with them being so early.
Her twin boys were born when they were 25 weeks and four days old. They found out Arley had NEC when he was four days old and he had surgery the same day, before another when he was two weeks old to make a stoma and fit a colostomy bag.
She said that Ayden has a bleed on his brain and has also had nine blood transfusions, and it will be some time before it’s determined whether or not he has any lasting effects. Toni said: “They’ve been through so much. They’re not ready to come home yet and are still in the hospital at the moment.
“Arley’s waiting for his stoma to be reversed and Ayden is still having trouble with breathing, he’s still having tube feeds and is not able to drink from the bottle yet. They came so early I didn’t really have much stuff for them but now it’s just strange that I’ve got everything ready for them, but keep coming home without them.
“I’m looking forward to finally having them home and hoping that they will be in the next couple of months.
“I’d tell other mums with premature babies that may be struggling to always look at the positives and to look forward [to] what you’ve got to look forward to.”