After nine years, seven rounds of IVF treatment and the heartache of three miscarriages, the Brynamman couple were overjoyed to find out they were going to be parents at last – and to twins.
But it would prove to be the start of a dramatic journey culminating in the babies being delivered by emergency C-section and Emma becoming critically ill.
Thankfully, seven months later they are all doing well after a few setbacks along the way – and the family have returned to Singleton Hospital with donations to thank staff for the outstanding care they received.
Emma has had type one diabetes since the age of six.
As a result she was closely monitored throughout her pregnancy by her midwife, her GP and, in Singleton, by diabetes consultant Richard Chudleigh, consultant obstetrician Margery Morgan and their teams.
“I spent more time at Singleton than I did at home and they took no chances with me and my precious cargo.
“From 27 weeks I pretty much moved in. Mr Chudleigh barely left my side and even called to check on me at weekends.
“When I became too unwell to carry the twins further and ended up in the high dependency unit, it was he who saved my life.
“I shudder to think what could have happened without his incredible care and dedication.”
Emma’s sodium level dropped so low that the babies had to be delivered seven weeks early by emergency C-section.
But within hours not only was her sodium dangerously low but her potassium level had become dangerously high.
“I ended up in the high dependency unit. I was there for three days, semi-conscious. I remember it, but I was in and out. I couldn’t even string a sentence together.”
Meanwhile, Ollie – who arrived on 22nd May weighing 5lb 2oz – and Sophie (4lb 7oz) were taken to Singleton Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where they were to remain for 25 days.
Staff there arranged for Emma to have an iPad so she could see the twins while she remained in HDU.
“That was really emotional, and extremely distressing – to see your children hooked up to machines.
“It was awful and I was very anxious because we’d been trying to conceive for nine years, and seven rounds of IVF and three miscarriages.
“But everybody, every single member of staff was just outstanding. They listened to me, they took everything I said on board. And the care they gave the babies – I felt as if they loved them like family.
“My husband was struggling too. His wife was in HDU, he didn’t know what was happening to me health-wise, and he had two tiny babies in incubators. They were all amazing with him as well.”
Ollie and Sophie have had a few chest infections requiring a stay in the paediatric ward in Morriston Hospital. Despite this they have come along really well and both now weigh a healthy 22lbs.
For six months after having the babies, Emma was really poorly with diabetes-related problems, and has only now started to improve.
But that hasn’t stopped her and Lyn taking the babies back to Singleton to present staff with fleece blankets and sheets to the Neonatal Unit.
These were bought out of donations made by guests during a blessing day for the twins last September.
Emma said: “It’s something really small by way of a massive thank you.
“The last year has been testing but also the most beautiful year of our lives. We are grateful for all the support we’ve had.
“Everyone from the consultants to the cleaners has been outstanding. The admin staff in the clinics, our GP, everybody has gone over and above to help us.
“I’m just blown away by how kind and nice people are.
“I feel extremely blessed. They’re outstanding. We are so lucky to have them. But we’re also lucky to have the people in our NHS to support us. And I feel I can trust the NHS with our lives.
“You hear bad stories but it’s about time people who have good experiences tell their story too. So thank you to the NHS – we’re super-grateful.”