Together forvever

My twins would help each other no matter what...

Published by: Amy Thompson
Published on: 25th May 2010

They say there’s power in numbers. I had no idea how true that was until I found out I was pregnant with twins.
Me and my fiancé Colin, 29, already had a five-year-old daughter Izzy, and we couldn’t wait to have a little brother or sister for her. But two…?
It was a shock, to say the least.
Still, decorating their room, and kitting it out with two of everything was fun.
‘We should find out if they’re boys or girls,’ Colin huffed one day, as he painted the nursery cream.
‘No way,’ I chuckled. ‘We’ll just stick with neutral colours and… Oh!’
I gripped the left side of my bump where a sharp twinge had caught me off guard.
‘What is it?’ Colin fretted.
‘Nothing,’ I laughed. ‘One of the babies is kicking. I reckon the one on the left is a boy – every time the other one moves, he gives his twin a good kick.’
‘Feisty little fella,’ he smiled.
My pregnancy went without a hitch, but I was stunned when the midwife handed me two delicate little girls – I was sure at least one would be a boy.
Gazing down at their tiny faces, I was shocked by how similar they were, too. Despite being non-identical, I could barely tell them apart.
‘Lola and Madison,’ I smiled.
‘They’re healthy weights, too,’ the midwife nodded. ‘Lola’s 5lb 15oz, and Madison’s 6lb 11oz – a decent size for twins.’
As Madison yawned and snuggled into my right arm, Lola, cradled in my left arm, suddenly gave a little kick.
‘Oh,’ I laughed. ‘So you’re the feisty one.’ At least that was one way I could tell them apart.
Back home, the twins settled in. They shared a crib – it was the only way they’d sleep, snuggled beside each other.
Lola, the oldest by an hour, was clearly going to rule the roost.
Madison was quiet and laid back, yet she wailed if she wasn’t fed first. But when Madison whinged, there’d be a swift, little kick in her direction from her twin, as if to say: ‘Come on, toughen up.’
I could already picture them going to school. Lola, the protective big sister, always looking out for Madison, but bossing her about at the same time.
When they were a week old, though, I noticed a change in Lola.
‘She usually can’t wait to be fed,’ I frowned at Colin. ‘Now she’s barely staying awake long enough for a mouthful.’
Worried, we called the midwife.
‘They’re both a little jaundiced,’ she told us, after a heel-prick test. ‘Better take them to hospital.’
When we got to the Royal Oldham Hospital, they insisted it was nothing sinister.
But watching my girls side by side in the crib, I panicked.
‘Lola’s breathing doesn’t seem right.’ It was coming in short, shallow gasps.
‘She just needs feeding,’ a nurse reassured me. ‘We’ll give her a feeding tube.’
While Colin held her, she inserted the tube into Lola’s throat. ‘I’ll be back in a jiffy with her food,’ she smiled.
Glancing down at my little girl, though, my heart stopped. Her face was ashen and her chest wasn’t moving.
‘She’s not breathing!’ I gasped, scooping her up and running into the corridor.
Before I knew it, doctors rushed in, pulling Lola from my arms, shooing me out of the room…
Oh God! What was happening?
It felt like hours had passed when a doctor finally came to see me and Colin. He didn’t have to say
a word, his face said it all – our feisty little girl was gone.
‘What happened?’ I sobbed.
'We can’t be sure until her post mortem,’ he told us.
‘What about Madison?’ Colin demanded. ‘Will the same happen to her?’ Fear paralysed me as I realised I might lose both babies.
‘We’ve checked her over, she’s fine,’ the doctor replied.
We took Madison to the car, clipped her into her car chair. But looking at the empty car seat beside her, my heart broke.
The only thing that kept me going was looking after Izzy and Madison. Every time Madison so much as flinched, I panicked, and she couldn’t settle without her sis. She kept reaching out for her.
‘Here,’ Izzy said that night, handing me her favourite pink elephant teddy. ‘It’s for Madison, so she doesn’t get lonely.’
‘Thank you, darling,’ I smiled. ‘We’ll miss Lola, too, but she’s gone to heaven to be the brightest star in the sky,’ I added.
Two days later, it wasn’t her crying that worried me, though. Madison’s wail was more of a whimper – as if all the strength had been sucked out of her – just like Lola, before she died.
‘Call an ambulance,’ I told Colin. ‘Something’s not right.’
There was no way I was hanging around this time. Paramedics arrived fast, and took us to Pendlebury Children’s Hospital in Manchester.
‘It’s happening again,’ I cried – but this time there was one key difference.
‘A post mortem showed Lola died from myocarditis,’ a consultant told us. ‘Her heart muscles became enlarged because of a virus. An x-ray shows Madison has it, too.’
She had what had killed Lola! And her heart was only functioning at eight per cent...
‘The good news is we now know what we’re treating… but I have to warn you, she might not make it,’ he added.
The doctors had done nothing wrong at the previous hospital – myocarditis is rare. Fewer than 40,000 people in the UK suffer from it a year – but by a twist of fate, both my babies had it.
How could life be so cruel to take two babies from me?
And there was something else. Lola had been the fighter, while Madison was so placid and calm, – how could she win the battle her fiesty sister had lost?
With Madison hooked up to all sorts of machines, I welled up.
But something out the window had her fixated – though it was pitch black outside.
‘What you looking at?’ I asked, following her gaze…
A single, shining star in the sky. That’s what she was staring at.
I remembered what we’d told Izzy – Lola’s gone to heaven to be the brightest star in the sky.
It couldn’t be her sister she was looking at, could it?
As her medication began to work, Madison grew stronger.
Every time the doctors warned us she might not make it, she fought back harder, kicking her little legs just like her sister had.
After two months, Madison was allowed to leave hospital.
She’s now 18 months and thriving. If it hadn’t been for her twin, doctors said they wouldn’t have known what was wrong quickly enough to treat Madison.
And even though I’ll never see them grow up together, I know my little star in heaven will always be looking out for her twin.
Kelly Gibson, 28, Chadderton, Greater Manchester