THE mum of tiny twins - born three months prematurely - says that she and her babies would have died if it were not for Withybush Hospital.
As Karen O’Connell looks at Dylan and Osian, now more than twice their birth weight and thriving at home, she can hardly believe that they were not due to enter the world until this Friday!
Karen, aged 27, and mother to two other little boys, was 28 weeks into a trouble-free pregnancy when the tots entered the world on March 14.
“I was in Withybush on an overnight stay because of slight blood loss, when all of a sudden I started bleeding uncontrollably,” she said. “The consultant said that there was no option but to deliver the babies immediately by Caesarean section. It was terrifying.
“They were just two pounds three ounces each and so tiny. Their heads were smaller than my hand.
“I didn’t even see them at first as they were rushed off to the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) to be stabilised. Then they were taken individually to Singleton Hospital, as there is only one ambulance in the whole of Wales able to carry such premature babies.
“I was told that the bleeding was caused by blood clots in the placenta, and if I had not had immediate medical attention, the three of us would have died. There is no way that I would have been able to travel to another hospital.
“With Withybush’s maternity services being downgraded and the SCBU going to Carmarthen, it makes me sick to my stomach to think of someone going through what I did without being close to the correct services.
“The boys would not have lived after being born if the trained neo-natal staff SCBU had not been there to stabilise them, and we are not the last people that this is going to happen to.”
Karen, her partner Andy Cotter, and their other sons - 14-month-old Harry and two-and-a-half-year-old Jack - now have the twins home with them at Bro’r Dderwen, Clynderwen.
“They were transferred back to Withybush, where we visited every day,” said Karen. “The staff at SCBU were absolutely brilliant and the support they gave us made the situation more bearable.
“The twins were touch and go for the first few days, but they have been little fighters and come on so well, helped by the very best care possible. They are two very special little boys, and we are so pleased to have them home at last, but it could have been a very different story if the services were not there at Withybush.”