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Mum says thanks for care that saved twins' lives

PUBLISHED: 15:56 16 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:20 01 July 2010

Karen Mair and her Husband James pictured with their twins Alexis and Logan (15 months).

Karen Mair and her Husband James pictured with their twins Alexis and Logan (15 months).

Sarah Brealey

Not a day goes by when Karen Mair does not feel grateful for her two healthy twins.

Alexis and Logan are happy babies who are just starting to walk - but when she was pregnant with them last year she feared it would be very different.

Sarah Brealey

Not a day goes by when Karen Mair does not feel grateful for her two healthy twins.

Alexis and Logan are happy babies who are just starting to walk - but when she was pregnant with them last year she feared it would be very different.

Mrs Mair was three months pregnant when a routine scan picked up that one of her unborn twins was smaller than the other. It could have been perfectly normal, but the chances were that the smaller baby might not be getting the nutrients she needed from the placenta.

At one point it was feared the babies might have to be delivered at less than seven months of pregnancy, but with careful monitoring they made it to eight months.

The doctor's receptionist, who works in her home town of Acle, said worries grew as the pregnancy went on. It was a frightening time for her and husband James, a lorry driver. She said: “They were concerned that she wasn't getting as much blood flow, and they were talking about delivering her at 26 or 27 weeks, which was terrifying. They said if the blood flow stopped completely the baby would die.”

At this point consultant obstetrician Martin Cameron, a specialist in foetal medicine, was in his first week at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Mrs Mair said: “We spent about 3 ½ hours with him, he spent ages scanning me. He was great, he explained everything, he showed where the blood flow was to the baby. He said 'If I can get you to 32 weeks I will be happy, because the babies will have a much better chance of survival.'”

As the pregnancy went on Mrs Mair developed pre-eclampsia, which can become life-threatening. She spent 3 ½ weeks in hospital before having the twins, who were delivered by Mr Cameron by emergency Caesarean on March 5 last year.

The premature babies were looked after in the neonatal intensive care unit, and did so well that they were ready to come home before their original due date of 17 April. In fact they came home as the perfect Mother's Day present on March 22.

Mrs Mair, 43, who worked in recruitment before she had children, is so grateful for her treatment that she has nominated Mr Cameron for the N&N Patient Choice Awards, which are backed by the EDP. She said: “He saved the lives of our premature twins by taking such good care of me until my pregnancy was far enough along for it to be safe to deliver our babies.

“He was always so positive. He was just so lovely, so calm and reassuring.”

The twins are still like “chalk and cheese”, according to their mother. “Alexis is still quite small, but she is feisty. He is a bruiser, although she is the tough one.

“They are both just about walking, although Logan is a bit ahead. It is great to see them play together, they chatter away - it is lovely to watch.”

Mr Cameron said that when he scanned the twins at 27 weeks, Alexis was just two-thirds of the weight of Logan. Her weight of 800g (1lb 12oz), put her in the smallest 5pc of all babies at that stage of development.

At that stage there could have been a whole range of reasons for the difference in the growth, but it turned out to be a problem with Alexis' placenta. He said it was a difficult balance to strike in the circumstances. “The further you carry on with pregnancy the greater the chances of survival after birth, but you could end up with a stillbirth. You have to try and balance between causing harm by early delivery, and leaving the baby in, which could cause harm.”

Mr Cameron said he was “very touched” to be nominated. “I wasn't expecting it at all. Although she has nominated me, I think it really reflects the team. I have a fantastic team of doctors, midwives and my secretary, and we work closely with the neonatal team as well.”

t You can nominate a member of staff or a team at the N&N who has provided exceptional patient care by visiting www.edp24.co.uk/patientchoice, or call 01603 289821 for a copy of the nomination form. The deadline for nominations is Wednesday June 30.

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