I was delighted to be pregnant with twins. But I never expected I’d be leaving hospital with just one of my boys thanks to a deadly rare condition…
By Ceri Tibbs, 30, Prestatyn

When I discovered I was pregnant for the second time, I was gobsmacked.

I was even more surprised when I learned I was already 14 weeks gone – and when doctors told me I was carrying twin boys, I almost fell off my chair in shock!

Despite the string of surprises, I was thrilled. I already had a daughter, Lilly, six, and I named my unborn boys Oliver and Jacob.

I couldn’t wait to meet the new additions to our family but then doctors made a deadly discovery.

The twins were suffering from twin-to-twin transfusion which meant that one of the boys was losing his blood supply and getting far less nutrients than his brother.

My heart broke as I was given a stark ultimatum: abort the pregnancy or opt for delicate laser surgery to correct the condition.

It was risky – I could lose both twins – but I needed to give them a chance at life.

Ceri with Jacob
Ceri with Jacob

Thankfully, the surgery was a success but I wasn’t out of the woods yet.

At just 23 weeks, I went into labour. My partner Simon, 24, rushed me to hospital as I desperately tried to keep calm.

My babies weren’t due for another three months. Would they survive?

Born in February 2014, with Oliver weighing just 1lb 4oz and Jacob weighing 1lb 6oz, both boys were tiny.

Doctors debated whether to save the twins as they’d been born one day under their 24 week limit but thankfully, they did and the twins were whisked away for treatment.

It was hours before I could see them. I was distraught.

They were so small and fragile, their little lives hung in the balance.

All we could do was watch… and wait.

Over the next few weeks, I kept a bedside vigil at the hospital.

My boys suffered bleeds on the brain and battled various infections as they fought for their lives.

Tragically, Jacob developed necrotizing enterocolitis, which killed off the tissue in his intestines.

My world fell apart as doctors gently explained he wouldn’t make it.

Jacob was taken out of his incubator and he took his last breath in my arms.

I could barely see through my tears. The first time I held him was also the last – I was devastated.

Meanwhile Oliver made slow and steady progress, and when he was 41 days old, I got to hold him, too.

Oliver and Lily
Oliver and Lily

Despite him needing five operations during the last year,

Oliver is now home where he belongs, and his big sister Lilly loves having him around.

She talks about Jacob a lot, and keeps a teddy for him.

She often writes to her little brother in heaven and tells me that he is watching over us all – especially Oliver.

I do believe that Jacob is watching over his twin – and I’ll always be sure to tell Oliver that he is still a part of our family.

I’m so proud of my little soldier Oliver – but I’ll never forget about my angel Jacob.

As told to Helen O’Brien Google

Ceri decided to sell her story to a magazine to raise awareness of necrotizing enterocolitis, after the rare condition took her son Jacob’s life. If you’d like to get some publicity for an illness or a health charity, we’d love to help. Have a look at our guide to selling a health story to the media, then contact us for a chat. You can use the contact form on the right, or give us a call on 0117 9076934.