Two ‘miracle’ girls who almost died when they were born at just 24 weeks have proved themselves little fighters - and have inspired their mum to advocate a change in abortion laws.
Twins Sapphire and Ruby Wirt were delivered by emergency caesarean when their mum Caroline developed sepsis.
The tots were just 24 weeks old - the legal limit for abortion - and were smaller than Caroline’s hand.
And this week Caroline, 36, spoke of their dramatic arrival after her waters broke at the family home in Felbridge on January 4 2015. She was just 23 weeks pregnant as she was rushed to the neo-natal intensive care unit at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.
She and husband Andy were told that if the twins were born before 24 weeks doctors would not be able to step in and help them if they were not breathing.
During the next week, Caroline contracted sepsis and doctors were forced to deliver the tiny babies. Little Sapphire weighted 1lb 2oz and Ruby weighed 1lb 5 oz. The babies were rushed to the hospital’s Trevor Mann baby unit where they were found to have a string of health problems, including sepsis.
“But everyone there was amazing,” said Caroline. They arranged for her and her other children Nathan, 17, Keane, 11 and Blaise, eight, to stay near the babies at the hospital’s Ronald McDonald House.
The babies ended up staying in the unit for 157 days. Both little girls needed surgery for various problems but they were finally allowed home six weeks after their original due date.
Now the pair are fighting fit and have formed a close bond. “They have lovely little personalities,” said Caroline. “Sapphire is my feisty one and Ruby is more laid back.”
She added: “To have both of them standing here is a miracle. They’ve overcome everything in their way which I’m sure is down to their unique bond.”
Now Caroline is urging for a change in abortion laws to bring forward the date at which medics can intervene to help premature babies. “Something needs to change. Even 20 weeks is too high.”
She added: “I had the babies bang on the day I turned 24 weeks pregnant which meant the hospital staff were able to intervene. Any earlier and the chances were the doctors would not have been able to help them.”