Mother, 29, who gave birth to very premature twins shares a heartwarming photo of the separated siblings ‘hugging’ each other when reunited for the first time
- Ann LePoon found out she was having monoamniotic twins at the 10-week mark
- Zoe and Olivia were meant to arrive at 32 weeks but instead came even earlier
- They were delivered when Ann was just 29 weeks pregnant
- A month after their birth the twins were finally introduced to each other
- A ‘full term’ pregnancy is between 37 and 42 weeks
Newborn twins Olivia and Zoe LePoon were separated for the first month of their lives after entering the world at 29 weeks.
But once they were strong enough to be together the pair were reunited.
Still surrounded by tubes and braces, they reached out for one another in a heartwarming embrace.
‘We had been waiting so long for the girls to meet so when the day finally came we couldn’t believe it,’ their mother Ann, from New South Wales, told FEMAIL.
Newborn twins Olivia (left) and Zoe (right) LePoon were separated for the first month of their lives after entering the world at 29 weeks
‘We waited 27 days exactly for our first twin cuddle and it was so much more than we could have expected.
‘Olivia was placed on me first, then when it was Zoe’s turn she reached out her left arm and hugged her sister.
‘My tears were flowing, it’s a moment I’ll never forget.
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For six-and-a-half months Ann LePoon (pictured) anxiously awaited the arrival of her identical twin girls, who were sharing the same amniotic sac inside her
Known as monochorionic monoamniotic twins, it’s one of the highest risk twin pregnancies possible, with only a 50 per cent chance the babies will survive after the 26 week mark
What are monochorionic monoamniotic twins?
Medically referred to as Monochorionic Monoamnionic twins (MCMA), these are identical twins which share the same sac and placenta.
These type of twins are extremely rare and the biggest risk with this pregnancy is that the umbilical cords – which are separate – will get tangled and knotted resulting in impaired blood flow to one or both of the babies.
‘Since we have been able to do twin cuddles, both us and the nurses have been able to see just how much calmer they are when they are together.
‘They clearly have a unique bond already.’
For six-and-a-half months Ann LePoon anxiously awaited the arrival of her identical twin girls, who were sharing the same amniotic sac inside her.
Known as monochorionic monoamniotic twins, it’s one of the highest risk twin pregnancies possible, with only a 50 per cent chance the babies will survive after the 26 week mark.
Every fortnight from the 10 week mark Ann had ultrasounds to ensure the girls were progressing as they should be.
Every fortnight from the 10 week mark Ann had ultrasounds to ensure the girls were progressing as they should be
‘A little after the 26 week mark I was admitted into the Royal Women’s Hospital where the plan was to monitor me three times a day for six weeks with the intention of booking me in for a caesarean at the 32 week mark,’ the 29-year-old said.
But she didn’t make it that far and after routine monitoring noticed one of the babies was in distress, the doctor decided they both needed to come out at 28 weeks and five days.
‘I was devastated as I knew they were going to be premature but not by this much,’ Ann said.
‘About three hours after I was told, I was taken down to the operating theatre where I was given the spinal anaesthetic which was incredibly painless and quick.
‘They laid me down, put the drapes up and within a few minutes the surgery started.
‘There were about 10 staff in the room and eight paediatric staff in the adjoining room.
The doctor decided that both babies needed to come out at 28 weeks and five days
Zoe and Olivia have been in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) since their birth on January 26
‘They were all so relaxed and chatty it made my husband and I feel so relaxed.
‘It wasn’t long before they pulled Olivia out who let out a loud cry. Zoe came next but was breech, so after a bit of pulling, the doctor managed to get her out.
‘She didn’t cry or move which made us really concerned. Both girls were quickly taken by the midwives to the paediatric team for assessment.
‘About 10 minutes later one of the midwives came back and told us “your girls are doing well”.
‘After 6.5 months of pure anxiety I felt like I could finally breathe again.’
Zoe and Olivia have been in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Randwick since their birth on January 26, and while it’s too soon to know when they’ll be able to come home, Ann expects it might be around mid-April.
‘Being in NICU is like being in a time warp. You can’t tell what time of day it is before you know it, you’ve been there for six hours,’ she said
Before their big meet-and-greet the twins were separated to prevent accidental suffocation of one twin to another
‘Being in NICU is like being in a time warp. You can’t tell what time of day it is and before you know it, you’ve been there for six hours,’ she said.
‘Like most babies who enter NICU, the girls have had a roller coaster of a journey.
‘There are days where they show incredible signs of improvement and other days where they appear to deteriorate.
‘It has been emotionally draining for my husband and I, but now that they have passed the one month mark, their chances of survival are now greater than 95 per cent.’
The couple announced their pregnancy at the 26 week mark because at that point the twins had a 50 per cent chance of surviving
Before their big meet-and-greet the twins were separated to prevent accidental suffocation of one twin to another.
‘But the main reason it took so long for them to meet was because they were both on breathing supports which had short tubes,’ Ann said.
‘This meant they physically could not reach each other as their cribs were three metres apart.
‘But once Zoe’s breathing support was downgraded, the nurses were able to rearrange the room setup to be able to bring her to her sister.’
You can follow the LePoon family on their website or Instagram account.
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