WHEN little Elsie Dutton was born, she weighed as much as a can of soup.
Early in her life, doctors told parents Amy and Scott that she might not make it.
Elsie was born at just 23 weeks and four days gestation – below the legal abortion limit, and was not expected to survive after her twin died when Amy went into labor following surgery to separate them.
The couple, from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, say this has been a “scary time” after the horror they had already gone through with Elsie’s twin, Dotty.
Medical professionals said Amy, 33, miscarried and that’s why she couldn’t state on her birth certificate that Elsie was a twin.
Elsie was suffering from necrotizing enterocolitis – a hole in her intestines, and doctors said she might not survive due to her small size.
But experts told the family Elsie’s best chance of survival was to cuddle with her mum, aka Kangaroo Care.
They explained that the best way for Elsie’s heartbeat to get stronger and regulate itself is to be close to her mother’s heartbeat to simulate being in the womb.
So Amy would sit for hours every day and hold her baby daughter close to her chest, snuggle her and watch her grow stronger and stronger each day.
Born on December 2, 2021, Elsie was given the green light to go home by doctors at St George’s Hospital in London just last month.
Amy said: “Bringing her home for the first time was really amazing.
“I almost didn’t think it was real, the day felt like a dream come true.
“I have never felt such relief as when we were able to leave the hospital and bring her home.
“It’s so surreal to hold your baby and think about how you could have lost him and it was just bliss to have him home after all that uncertainty.”
Amy was allowed to hold her daughter shortly after she was born – before she was taken away for treatment.
Losing Dotty was really hard because 24 weeks ago I could never register her as a stillbirth, she was classified as a miscarriage
She then had to wait a full month before she could hold her.
She said: “It was really difficult having to wait so long to hold her, so it meant so much when I finally did.
“It’s crazy to think that cuddling her had such an effect that it saved her life.
“It was just amazing, I held her and I could see on all the monitors her heart rate relaxing. It felt so special.
“It was something that was good for me and good for her because being able to hold her helps relieve my stress.
“I held her for about 30 seconds when she was born and then she went straight into the incubator for a month.
“I could hold her for a few hours every day.”
While the family is delighted that Elsie is recovering, they are struggling to come to terms with the loss of their twin.
“Losing Dotty was really hard because 24 weeks ago I could never register her as stillborn, she was classified as a miscarriage.
“That meant I couldn’t include Elsie’s birth certificate stating she was a twin either.
“Having that on the paperwork would have given me closure after going through something so difficult.
“We managed to get a memorial certificate for her and her ashes, which was very helpful in the grieving process.
“Her funeral was paid for by the First Touch charity, which was a really important day for us.”
Now the family is trying to raise funds for First Touch.
dr Sijo Francis, Clinical Director of Childcare at St George’s University Hospital, said: “When babies like Elsie are born prematurely, clinical intervention is crucial, but parental involvement also has a tremendously positive effect.
“When mothers hold their babies for long periods of time, as they do with kangaroo grooming, stress is reduced for both mother and baby and we see improved short- and long-term outcomes.”
Bobbie Everson, Family Care Coordinator at St. George’s, added, “Kangaroo Care greatly improves breast milk supply because it greatly increases oxytocin, our ‘feel good’ (or love) hormone.”
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https://www.the-sun.com/health/5551130/lost-one-twin-sister-born-hours-later-cuddles-saved/ I lost a twin to a ‘miscarriage’, then her sister was born hours later at just 23 weeks – cuddling saved her