Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Many happy returns to babies who fought all odds to survive
A YEAR ago twins Madison and Tabitha Hunt were both fighting for their lives.
But today the pair – who almost died several times during their mother’s pregnancy – celebrate their birthday.
Emily Hunt, 23, of Witney, went through a pregnancy that involved bleeding, surgery and a premature birth.
Her babies Madison and Tabitha were born at 28 weeks weighing just 2lbs 4oz and 2lbs.
But, after coming through myriad of problems, they mark their first year together with their family today.
Mrs Hunt said: “It was the worst pregnancy you could ever have. It was one thing after another and it has been an emotional rollercoaster.
“But now they are at home and we can finally get back to family life, it is incredible.”
She and husband Andrew Hunt, 41, had been trying for a second baby to provide a brother or sister for their daughter Jessica, three.
The problems began 11 weeks into the pregnancy when Mrs Hunt started bleeding and was taken to John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.
She was told for the first time she was expecting twins and that bleeding can be normal during twin pregnancies.Another scan revealed the babies shared a placenta, meaning one was taking all the nutrients, starving the other. Mrs Hunt said there is a 15 to 20 per cent chance of babies sharing a placenta during identical multiple births.
She was given a choice by doctors: a selective termination to ensure one survived or risky laser surgery to split the placenta and try to save both.
Doctors told her the chance of both children surviving the surgery was 50 per cent.
Mrs Hunt said: “It was the worst decision and they gave us about 10 minutes to decide.
“The only choice was surgery to give them both a chance. I had names for them, felt their heartbeats and felt them kick. How can you say no to that?”
At 19 weeks, she watched her babies on monitors as the surgeons worked on her under local anaesthetic. She said: “It was incredible to see them on the screens but it was very painful not knowing if they would survive.”
Although the surgery was a success and both babies survived without brain damage, Mrs Hunt’s waters broke a week later. The operation had left a small cut in her birth sac and doctors were concerned about infection.
There were a further three times false alarms during the next five weeks.
Then, at 25 weeks, Mrs Hunt again began bleeding. She spent three weeks in hospital and suddenly went into natural labour. Madison and Tabitha were born by an emergency caesarean on July 21 at 00:17 and 00:18.
They both weighed little more than a bag of sugar.
It was 12 hours before Mrs Hunt saw her daughters in incubators and they spent three more months having multiple blood transfusions.
Later Madison had heart surgery to fix a narrow pulmonary valve but the twins are now thriving at home.
Mrs Hunt said: “They are miracles. They have come so far and are now so strong that nothing is going to stop them.
“The JR provided the best care and it is thanks to them I have both my girls.”