As told by parents Clare & Paul

We are the people you hear about who decide to have a third child and then end up with a bonus one! But it was such a journey to get them both here. We are incredible lucky and so very grateful to the wonderful doctors and nurses at Wellington who looked after me with the Maternal Fetal Medicine team and our identical twin girls in NICU.

At 8 weeks pregnant we had our first scan and found out we were expecting twins. We were initially told that they shared the same amniotic sac, making it an extremely high risk pregnancy. We were filled with worry until our 12 week scan when they confirmed they did each have their own sacs. Thank goodness! Then at 16 weeks pregnant I went to a routine twin appointment at the hospital- it was 2021 and we were in lockdown so only I was able to attend the appointment.

Initially I wasn’t told much- just that they didn’t want me to leave without first speaking to an obstetrician. There wasn’t anyone available so I had to wait by myself in the corridor for several hours, not knowing what was wrong with my babies, only that something was. With my husband trying to hear on speaker from home, we found out that our Twin A had a severe inter-uterine growth restriction. The odds we were given weren’t great for either baby to survive but they told us to come back the following week basically “to see who was still alive in there”. It was a very long week!

At our first appointment in Auckland, we were told very similar things to Wellington and just didn’t know how we could make such an impossibly difficult decision, with three equally risky and awful options. We felt like we kept getting bumped up to more and more senior doctors. We started with a midwife, then a hospital obstetrician, then the MFM team, then the Auckland obstetrician and then finally the obstetrician we think of as our guardian angel, who scanned us one more time and saw something that no one else had seen in a scan and gave us hope. She said with that information they wouldn’t offer us a procedure at this time. We were allowed to go home, still pregnant miraculously with twins, having expected not to return from Auckland pregnant with twins, maybe not even pregnant at all. Despite not needing surgery, at 17 weeks pregnant getting to viability still felt like an impossibly long time away.

At 17 weeks we agreed to be sent up to Auckland to see a specialist to discuss fetal reduction surgery- a term I still don’t even like to think about, but we were told it was our best chance at having one baby- the bigger, stronger twin. It was level 4 lockdown, we had to have proof of travel documents to fly, COVID tests pre- departure, organise for grandparents to join our bubble and take care of our 1 and 3 year old while we were away, the works. We were put up with Ronald McDonald house, who are such a wonderful service and we are grateful for everything they organised for us during such a difficult time.

Our little twin A was such a fighter. Incredibly small, literally off the charts for gestational growth but none the less trucking along and GROWING! We had weekly scans and MFM appointments and while we felt like we had wonderful care, they were very stress-inducing and we were by no means out the wood. We never knew what we were going to be told at each appointment. It was such a relief each time to find two heartbeats.

Our story is a bit different to some in that getting to NICU was best case scenario for us. It meant we had at least one baby who was well enough to need NICU care. We were able to meet the neonatologist from NICU in advance and he talked us through what care would be like for them if they were born at 24 weeks, 26 weeks and so on. I had a visit in the ward from the Little Miracles Trust who also talked to me about support that was available. We were amazed that we reached milestones like 24 weeks, 500g. Our little fighters were hanging in there!

At 28 weeks I was admitted to hospital to be monitored twice daily until the twins were born, knowing that they weren’t going to let me go past 32 weeks. This was a really difficult time as there were no children allowed at the hospital because of COVID restrictions so my other two children couldn’t visit. My husband had to work from home as best he could and we were lucky that we had both sets of grandparents around to help with the kids. I stayed in ward 4 for a month before they decided it was more risky to leave them in, still expecting that our little twin could die at any time.

On Christmas Eve our gorgeous wee girls were born, weighing 1.1kg and 1.9kg at 31+5. Then began a whole new journey! We had obviously known they would go straight to NICU from theatre, so my husband went with the girls while I went through to recovery. He sent some photos but it was such a different experience from my other two children, not having the babies in recovery with me, not being able to breastfeed. They were born at 2pm and it was after 8pm before I was able to be wheeled down to NICU to see them. It’s very confronting initially to see them in an incubator, with tubes, wires, CPAP, monitors etc. My husband went home to be Santa and be with our now 2 and 4 year old when they woke up on Christmas morning. It was a very strange time to be alone at the hospital, although the wonderful NICU nurses did such a great job of decorating and making it feel festive.

We had 9 1/2 weeks in NICU. There were ups and downs, exciting steps like first baths, first breastfeeds, moving from incubators to an open cot, first outfits. But it was also a long, slow journey. My husband got shingles and wasn’t allowed to visit NICU for a month while the girls were moved to an isolation room. The doctors and nurses had to wear full PPPE gear to enter the room and the twins were alone a lot of the time. We were terribly moved by other babies’ struggles around us, acutely aware that not everyone gets a happy ending and can take their precious baby home.

But we know we are the lucky ones. They met their older brother and sister, grandparents and extended family for the first time at over two months old as there were no visitors during COVID. No one in our family can appreciate how tiny and vulnerable they were at birth because by the time we came home they were like regular newborns.

We now have two bubbly, excitable, full of life and perfectly healthy two year olds, Alexia and Indie. We cannot thank enough all the amazing people who helped get us here.

We will be eternally grateful.

Thanks so much for sharing your personal story.

We get a lot of positive feedback from families in a neonatal unit who read these stories and feel strength, hope and positivity knowing that they are not alone going through these experiences and feeling certain emotions.

If you would like to discuss sharing the story of your neonatal journey, we’d love to hear from you. Please email

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  • The Little Miracles Trust provides support to families of premature or sick full-term babies as they make their journey through Neonatal Intensive Care, the transition home, and onwards. We do not receive any Government funding and are entirely reliant on the generosity of individuals, companies and organisations in the form of donations, value-in-kind donations, grants, sponsorship and fundraising events to supplement operating costs and fund our services and initiatives.
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