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Fifteen years ago, Jane Celis and her husband John were expecting twin boys; however, the pregnancy did not go as planned and the boys were delivered at just 27 weeks gestation and needed to spend time in Mater Mothers' Neonatal Critical Care Unit (NCCU).
Fortunately, today the boys Carlos and Richard are strong, happy and healthy and have celebrated their fifteenth birthday in the most extraordinary way.
The boys along with their family have walked106km to represent the 106 days they spent in critical care travelling from their home in the Gold Coast to the Mater Mothers’ Hospital in Brisbane over four days to raise funds for equipment in the NCCU.
They arrived at the Mater Mothers’ Hospital on the twin’s fifteenth birthday representing a huge and emotional milestone where they were reunited with the nurses who cared for them all those years ago.
Mother Jane explains she was diagnosed with Twin-to-Twin transfusion syndrome at 27 weeks pregnant, which occurs in 5 per cent of identical twin pregnancies where the twins share the same placenta, but the blood does not flow evenly, and one baby can become larger than the other.
“I was sent to Mater Mothers’ where I was informed due to the position of the placenta surgery was not possible and shortly after on Thursday 1st June 2006, I had to undergo an emergency caesarean as Carlos was in distress,” Jane said.
“At 6.03pm Richard was born weighing 1032 gram, and Carlos at 774 grams. As soon as they were born, they were whisked away to the intensive care unit in the NCCU and I did not get to see them until I came out of recovery.”
Jane recalls when she finally got to see the boys, she was so shocked to see how small they were, and both required ventilation helping them to breathe.
“Richard was bright red from too much blood and Carlos very pale from not enough however Richard was strong and did remarkably well, by day 14 he was transferred over to the special care unit which they call the “fat farm” and he spent 63 days putting on weight which was very reassuring and was discharged after 77 days,” Jane said.
“However, Carlos had a much harder time on the unit, and I believe his survival is nothing short of a miracle. He had swelling in the abdomen from a perforated bowel requiring immediate surgery. Nearly a month later his stomach began swelling again requiring another surgery for a bowel obstruction.
“After the operation we were told that Carlos would probably not make it through the night and maybe we should consider getting him christened. We declined as in our eyes it was like giving up on him.”
Jane said Carlos had numerous infections and the family lost count of the number of blood and platelet transfusions he received and had a total of four surgeries in his first year of life.
“Carlos spent his 100th day of life in the hospital and the beautiful nurses bought us a cake. On day 106 Carlos was discharged from Mater and transferred to Pindara Hospital on the Gold Coast where he was sent to fatten up. At the end of September Carlos was finally able to come home,” Jane said.
“Mater helped us through our ordeal both clinically and emotionally and we will be forever grateful for our beautiful boys."
You can support Jane and her family by donating to their fundraising page.