“THEY saved the lives of all three of us.”
Those were the words of thanks to staff at a neo-natal unit from a Sunderland mum who gave birth to twin girls two months prematurely.
Anthea Palmer, 30, was due to give birth on April 26, but scans at the 30-week mark of her pregnancy highlighted potentially deadly complications for her and her unborn children.
HR adviser Anthea said: “I was 30 weeks’ pregnant when I went for a routine scan, and the doctors thought there might be a problem.
“There wasn’t enough blood going through the placenta, and they realised I was suffering from pre-eclampsia, which is quite dangerous.”
Pre-eclampsia is a serious condition which can lead to eclampsia – seizures that occur during pregnancy – and can prove fatal for mother and child.
It was then that medics admitted Anthea to hospital as she and husband, graphic designer Ross, became more worried.
“I was petrified,” said Anthea. “We didn’t know what was going to happen next, and I got really scared when they said they’d have to deliver the babies even earlier.” Anthea was then told the babies would have to be delivered by an emergency Caesarian section.
Emily-Grace and Charlotte-Rose came into the world on February 22, nine weeks’ premature, and were immediately taken to an intensive care unit. More than a month of agony followed for Anthea and Ross as they watched their little battlers slowly grow to a healthy weight.
“It was a daunting experience when I was going in to see them as they were both wired up and had oxygen masks on,” said Anthea.
“They were purple, especially Charlotte because she was so little. It scared me to see them both like that.”
Finally, on Easter Sunday, Anthea and Ross were allowed to take the twins home.
Both girls are now gaining weight and looking healthier by the day.
The family say they are eternally grateful to staff at the Royal for their work during Anthea’s pregnancy.
Anthea’s mum Brenda Carpenter, 58, said: “The nurses were just superb.”
Anthea added: They were all brilliant, but we have to thank Sue Welch who gave us more than we ever needed.”
Now, family friend Laura McArdle has completed the Wall Ultra Marathon to raise cash for the unit at the Royal.
The challenge was to run 69 miles from Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland to Gateshead’s Millennium Bridge.
“Laura’s raised almost £2,000 for the unit, which we are really grateful for,” said Anthea.