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Mom’s call to new parents after twins fight for life at five days old

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Just days after Abby and Jason Ayre welcomed their twins into the world, they found themselves in every parent’s worst nightmare – their tiny babies were in intensive care and fighting for their lives.

The family said they were told there was no pediatric intensive care bed in the country as their baby boy, Acer, quickly deteriorated and “clung to life by a wire “.

Her brother Axel’s condition followed 24 hours later, leaving the new parents to prepare for the unimaginable – that they could go home without their baby boys.

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Now, after a terrible ordeal, the family is back home, the two boys are doing well, and Jason and Abby are raising money for a charity that has helped them through their toughest times.

They also hope to help other parents as they raise awareness of a potentially fatal disease.

Acer and Axel were born on Tuesday, November 30 at James Cook University Hospital, weighing 5lb13 and 5lb7 respectively, and the first-time parents were able to bring the couple home on Friday.

But less than 48 hours later, Abby and Jason quickly realized something was wrong when Acer didn’t want to feed at 4 a.m. and both appeared to be jaundiced and dozing.

After speaking to the midwife on call, the couple, who live in Catterick, rushed the newborns to the emergency department at Darlington Memorial Hospital early Sunday morning.

Doctors, nurses and consultants ran tests as Abby says the hours “seemed like forever” as they desperately hoped for a diagnosis.

But what was becoming incredibly clear to the new mom and dad was that a “potentially fatal infection was rapidly invading Acer’s body” and that he needed to be admitted to the theater and put on a ventilator.



Abby holding Axel at the hospital where the twins battled viral meningitis

During this time, Axel was deemed “stable” although he slowly began to follow the same path as his brother.

“The hours went by and we still couldn’t get to see Acer at the theater,” said Abby, 29.

“Two nurses came to see us and took us to the theater, I was pushed because I had just had a Caesarean, and they put us in the family room – to me that means that is bad news. .

“All day since they found out the babies were wrong, they had been trying to put them in an intensive care bed, but there were none in the country.

“It was awful, it’s the last thing you want to hear when you have two really bad sons.

“The consultant walked down the hall, took a deep breath, and told us things were not right at all. They couldn’t raise Acer’s blood pressure, they couldn’t get him in lines because ‘he was so small.

“They said we were trying the hardest and they were in contact with the North East and Cumbria Transport and Recovery Team (NECTAR) who came from Newcastle. At first we thought we were going to Sheffield.

“We were told Acer was too bad to go to Sheffield, that he wouldn’t be doing it in the ambulance.

“But they had managed to find us a bed at the RVI.



Jason holding Acer, who first fell ill just days after the twins were born
Jason holding Acer, who first fell ill just days after the twins were born

“The NECTAR team pulled us aside and said that Acer was really not stable, that they were going to do their best and asked for our number in case the worst happened in the ambulance.

“My husband took a picture of him in the operating room. I asked ‘why are you doing this’ and he said he wasn’t sure we would see him again.

“I was trying to keep my hopes up but in the theater nobody could recognize him in a ‘beautiful way’, everyone was so sad because he was so sick.”

“Acer was hanging on to life apparently by a thread.”

While Jason, 30, went to the Newcastle RVI to be with Acer, Abby stayed in Darlington with Axel whose condition followed Acer’s condition only 24 hours late.

Doctors were initially hoping to get Axel’s oxygen out, but he suddenly stopped breathing and Axel also went to the theater to be put on a ventilator – in what Abby called “a nightmarish version of the movie Groundhog Day.”

After what appeared to be endless calls, a bed was made available in Newcastle for Axel next to his brother.

Ultimately, Axel was strong enough to have a lumbar puncture performed, which confirmed, when cross-examined with Acer’s testing, that the twins had viral meningitis.

Fortunately, the little fighters got stronger, and by the end of the week were taken out of the fans – although Axel was taken to the theater because his had folded.

He had to be brought back to intensive care because it was causing so much scarring in his airways that he was breathing through a pin prick.



Axel and Acer are doing well at home following the "nightmare" torment
Axel and Acer are doing well at home after the “nightmare” ordeal

Eventually the two brothers were reunited in the room and on December 17th Jason and Abby were able to bring their babies home.

“We had gone from the best feeling in the world of welcoming our boys to being in hell. The whole time, I told my husband, I was trying to have to prepare myself so that we could be released from the hospital without the boys, said Abby, who has her own furniture business.

“He told me to stop thinking like that, but you kind of have to mentally prepare yourself for the worst under these circumstances.”

“They are both doing great now and we have lots of follow-up appointments to make sure they’re okay. They’re monitoring Axel’s breathing and Acer needs another brain scan because they’ve found something. thing with his blood cells. ”

Today, Abby and Jason are raising funds for Crawford House, which is run by the Sick Children’s Trust, and provides life-saving accommodation for parents of seriously ill hospitalized children.

“We thought the least we could do was give the money back to Crawford House. Without that, I don’t know what we would have done. If you commute, especially when you have kids like ours, where we have been told on several occasions maybe not, you must be at their bedside.

“But you can’t be there forever because you need to rest yourself. I had a section which is major surgery, so I was told I need to rest.”



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“We also want to raise awareness if you are a new parent. Don’t assume, especially with young babies, that they will be fine until the next morning.

“I’m a laid back person to myself, but my mom’s instincts kicked in. Everyone we spoke to – midwives, doctors, nurses, consultants – said if we’d waited a few more hours our boys wouldn’t be here now.

“All of the medical staff have been fantastic throughout, I really can’t thank them enough.”

So far, over £ 3,700 has been donated to Crawford House via their fundraiser – Abby saying she cannot thank anyone who has contributed enough.

To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/f/our-brave-twin-boys.

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