The parents of premature twins thought to be the first in the UK born with Covid-19 have revealed they have brought their ‘miracle’ two-month-old babies home after ‘fearing the worst’ when they arrived 10 weeks early.
Sarah Curtis, 32, and husband Aaron, 33, from Cumbria, were horrified when tests came back and revealed she was positive for Covid-19 just days before she gave birth.
The stay-at-home mother said she ‘feared the worst’ before going into labour ten weeks early on July 3 and giving birth to 3lbs Kenna and Lissa alone after Aaron was banned from the hospital due to coronavirus.
Doctors went on to confirm the babies had been born with the killer virus, with the parents comparing their ongoing hospital stay to ‘a prison sentence.’
Six weeks later, the twins have finally been declared fit and healthy, Covid-free and are now being cared for at home.
Sarah Curtis, 32, and husband Aaron, 33, from Cumbria, are parents of premature twins thought to be the first in the UK born with Covid-19 (pictured, with Kenna and Lissa in hospital)
Sarah was diagnosed with Covid days before she gave birth, and went into labour 10 weeks early in July (pictured in hospital)
Sarah, a stay-at-home-mother, said she had a ‘hard pregnancy’ as she suffered from twin to twin syndrome.
Twin-to-twin syndrome is a prenatal condition in which twins share unequal amounts of the placenta’s blood supply resulting in the two foetuses growing at different rates.
She had to travel 300 miles from West Cumberland Hospital down to London, on her own, to get a laser surgery which would correct the issue.
But she was devastated when she was told it was likely she would lose one of the twins.
The couple have now welcomed their twin daughters home for the first time and said they are overjoyed
The mother-of-five revealed: ‘I had a really hard pregnancy – I had twin to twin syndrome.
‘I had to have a laser surgery where we were told they were trying to save one of the babies – we weren’t meant to have both.
‘Adam was only allowed to come see me at the very end due to coronavirus.
‘It was a miracle that both twins survived.’
WHAT IS TWIN-TWIN TRANSFUSION SYNDROME?
Twin-twin transfusion syndrome is a rare but serious condition that can occur in identical pregnancies when twins share a placenta.
Abnormal blood vessel connections form in the placenta and prevent blood from flowing evenly between the babies.
One twin then becomes dehydrated, which affects its growth.
The other develops high blood pressure and produces too much urine.
This leads to an enlarged bladder and excessive amounts of amniotic fluid, which can put a strain on the twin’s heart, leading to heart failure.
Without treatment, TTTS can be fatal for both twins.
The condition occurs in about around 15 per cent of identical twins who share a placenta, according to the charity Tamba.
Around 300 twins die from the condition every year in the UK, while 6,000 babies are affected annually in the US.
Draining excess amniotic fluid can help to improve blood flow.
If this is not enough, laser surgery is used to seal shut abnormal blood vessels and permanently disconnect them.
The surgeon then drains excess fluid.
Even when treated successfully, most TTTS babies are born premature.
However, the majority go on to have long, healthy lives.
Source: Cincinnati Children’s hospital
But when Sarah tested positive for Covid-19 days before she went into labour, she was devastated.
She was asymptomatic but felt ‘scared’ and ‘annoyed’ with herself as she feared she was putting the unborn twins at risk.
She felt particularly concerned having previously lost baby daughter Lottie to cot death in 2017.
Sarah said: ‘I was more scared of having Covid than my water breaking – I was so nervous.
The twins were just 3lbs when they were born, and their heads were the size of a digestive biscuit (pictured, Sarah with the twins shortly after birth)
Doctors later confirmed to the couple that coronavirus had transferred to the babies via the placenta
‘When I got the confirmation that I had coronavirus I was just so angry with myself.
‘I didn’t know what it meant exactly, it was so nerve wracking. I’ve lost a daughter and I was fearing the worst.’
Doctors were unsure if mothers could pass on the virus to their babies, or what its effects would be, which left them worried.
Medical professionals went on to confirm they were born with the killer virus, which was transferred to them via the placenta.
The tiny twins Kenna and Lissa left the incubator 3 weeks after they were born in July (pictured)
Sarah added: ‘No one knew what would happen, my girls were the first babies to be born with coronavirus.’
Father Aaron, a security guard, missed the birth of his twins and was only able to see them on July 11, after they’d been transferred to Sunderland for further testing.
Aaron: ‘It was so hard because she had to do it all herself. I was just waiting.
‘I didn’t know what was happening at all. I wanted to be there for all three of them.
The babies were studied throughout their time in hospital as doctors continue to learn about the coronavirus
Father Aaron said he was ‘so proud’ of his daughters as he welcomed them home for the first time six weeks after they were born
‘But when I saw them finally I was so proud. That feeling when you’re a dad it’s unparalleled.’
The twins were only 3lbs and their heads were the size of a ‘digestive biscuit’ and were studied throughout their time in hospital as doctors continue to learn about the coronavirus.
The family say the staff at the West Cumberland Hospital helped them after they struggled with losing baby daughter Lottie to cot death in 2017.
Sarah said: ‘The staff on the delivery suite at the West Cumberland were fantastic they helped me. I was so scared to bring them home after losing Lottie.
Sarah admitted she was ‘so scared’ of bringing her daughters home after losing her daughter Lottie to cot death in 2017
‘It’s still scary as they are not past that age where you stop worrying, but the they helped me and showed me that there is happiness after.
‘The staff were incredible from start to finish, and made us feel so comfortable despite all of the anxiety surrounding the pregnancy.
‘I know people will clap for carers during lockdown but they’re brilliant all year round, always.
‘We wouldn’t be holding our two beautiful and healthy twins if it weren’t for their wonderful and determined work.’
Sarah said the couple were overjoyed to welcome their daughters home, and said after a ‘surreal year’ the family is just happy to come away with ‘two beautiful, healthy girls’
Speaking about their struggles in hospital, Sarah said: ‘The last week in hospital felt like a prison sentence. But thankfully the staff were just brilliant.
‘They made us feel comfortable despite all of the anxiety.
‘In the end it was all worth it. It’s been a surreal year but we’ve come away with two beautiful, healthy girls.’
ARE PREGNANT WOMEN MORE VULNERABLE TO COVID-19?
There is no evidence that pregnant women become more severely unwell if they develop coronavirus than the general population.
It is expected the large majority of pregnant women will experience only mild or moderate symptoms because more severe symptoms such as pneumonia appear to be more common in older people, those with weakened immune systems or long-term conditions.
If you are pregnant you are more vulnerable to getting infections than a woman who is not pregnant, according to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
If you have an underlying condition, such as asthma or diabetes, you may be more unwell if you have coronavirus because is poses a higher risk to those with underlying health conditions.
In terms of risk to the baby, there is no evidence right now to suggest an increased risk of miscarriage or transmission to the unborn baby via the womb or breast milk.
Some babies born to women with symptoms of coronavirus in China have been born prematurely. It is unclear whether coronavirus caused this or the doctors made the decision for the baby to be born early because the woman was unwell.