Bright hospital lights, beeping alarms and walls lined with plastic incubators that hold tiny human lives in them. Amidst the hustle and bustle of nurses on duty and the rhythmic hum of ventilators, the cries of these babies are so small and weak, they are barely audible.
Now, imagine a new mother who had just delivered a pair of twins, anxiously awaiting news on her babies’ health from the Neonatal Intensive-Care Unit (NICU). Born prematurely at 34-weeks old, the twins were immediately brought to the NICU for additional (and essential) support with breathing, feeding and treatment for jaundice.
On the 9th day, Alexander was discharged, and his brother followed suit soon after. However, things took a turn for the worst when Alexander struggled with feeding and began to turn pale and unresponsive. He was rushed back to the hospital where medical professionals spent 3 hours stabilising him, before he was transferred to the ICU. A chest x-ray and nasal swab later confirmed that Alexander was suffering from Respiratory Synctical Virus (RSV) and Bronchiolitis. Like his brother, Edward was also readmitted with RSV at 15 days old.
For their mother, Helena Gould, illnesses were a familiarity given her former experience as a healthcare expert. However, no amount of professional exposure could have prepared Helena for the heartbreak she felt as a parent – to see her beautiful twins fall ill each time. Despite Alexander being the frailer of the two at birth, it was Edward who suffered most from chronic chest infections, viral wheezing and pneumonia every month. Subjected to test for Cystic Fibrosis (among other allergies), Edward has been repeatedly admitted to the hospital over the course of 4 years.
“I no longer carry a hospital bag with me in my car ‘just in case’ – like I have done for so many years before.” – Helena Gould
Today, the twins are 5.5 years old. Under the meticulous care of Helena and her family, and with his daily medication (of Ventolin, Seretide, Montelukast, azithromycin and prednisolone), Alexander and Edward’s health have shown vast improvements.
Thank you Helena for sharing your story with us. May the twins’ health continue to improve under your unyielding care.
If you’ve got a story to share that will help other parents navigate the complexities of parenting children with childhood illnesses, we’d love to hear from you. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.