A delighted couple returned to Wishaw General to thank the staff who saved their twin boys’ lives.
One year on Lewis and Logan Donnelly are thriving, having overcome a series of serious and life-threating illnesses.
Mum Lynn, from Bellshill, said: “After nine years of IVF treatment, Tony and I were delighted to discover we were expecting twins.
“However, delight soon turned to distress as the boys were born at 25 weeks and no one gave them a chance of survival.”
The first year was a rollercoaster for the family. Following delivery, they were immediately taken to the neonatal unit at Wishaw General Hospital and it was over two hours before Lynn and husband Tony could meet their sons properly.
Lynn said: “They were baptised on the night they were born. I wanted to call them Ant and Dec as am a big fan of theirs. Also, Anthony is my husband’s full name and Donnelly is our surname but I couldn’t convince Tony and we went for Lewis and Logan instead.”
Lewis was 1lb 7oz and Logan was 1lb 11oz when they were born. Both boys had to be treated for retinopathy of prematurity, which is the same condition that made Stevie Wonder blind, to save their sight.
Lynn added: “The boys have really gone through it. Logan underwent a heart operation when he was only four weeks old and Lewis was on so many antibiotics that everyone thought he wasn’t going to make it. They are fighters though and they survived, it shocked everyone – even the doctors. You have no idea how proud we are of them.
“We became very close to the staff in the unit, they definitely built a bond with the boys and us. The neighbour who I grew up with was also the midwife in charge of ward 24 where I gave birth to the boys and she was amazing and very comforting.
“The boys fought through all their complications but if it wasn’t for the staff and their quick responses to things then they wouldn’t be here.”
Lewis and Logan spent a total of 21 weeks in the neonatal unit. They were also among the first to have benefitted from the HeRO system.
The Heart Rate Observation, or ‘HeRO’, system works out the probability of a baby having an infection from variations in heartbeat. It provides early warning of infection which is a leading cause of death in vulnerable babies.
The purchase of the system was supported by a £250,000 donation from Garreth and Nicola Wood - the son and daughter-in-law of the oil tycoon Sir Ian Wood.
The Donnellys went on to do some fundraising of their own to thank the staff.
Lynn entered Tony into a Tough Mudder challenge. This was done as a surprise before the boys were born. Amazingly Tony went on to complete the gruelling challenge without any training.
Tony said: “Lynn had submitted my name months ahead of the Tough Mudder. However, with the boys being born early and all the health issues they had to overcome, when I wasn’t at work I was at the hospital so there was no spare time to train.
“The boys were my inspiration. They had gone through so much and overcame all obstacles in their way that I knew I had to do the same. That didn’t stop the guys at work from giving me a ribbing. They said that I would end up in hospital as I have asthma but I was determined to complete the course to raise some funds to thank the staff and help other parents who find themselves in a similar situation.
“Lynn’s mum and dad also did lots of fundraising throughout Scotland and we had tremendous backing from colleagues and friends which contributed greatly to our total.”
Together the family and friends raised £2,500 which they donated to the neonatal unit.
While the boys were being treated in the unit, Lynn did some research and found studies that showed twins make a better recovery if they are kept close together.
Lynn said: “I came across twin cots and the theory that it can help if twins are kept in close proximity - one baby helps the sicker baby. I thought it made sense given that they develop and grow in the womb together.
“We spoke to Sheila, the senior charge midwife, and she managed to arrange a free trial of a twin cot from a medical equipment company. The boys spent the rest of their time in hospital lying together and I believe this really aided their recovery.”
The donation made by the Donnellys was used to buy the twin cot that the boys shared.
Sheila Miller, ward manager for the neonatal unit, said: “Staff build a special bond with parents and babies in the neonatal unit and we do everything we can to support them. When Lynn asked about a twin cot we made enquires and managed to secure one on a trial basis.
“Lynn and Tony were so impressed with the difference the twin cot made to the boys’ recovery that they were determined to raise money to make it a permanent purchase. Thanks to their generosity other families have benefitted from using it and many more will do so in the future. The twin cot is a wonderful reminder of a truly inspirational family.”