Littlehampton mum of premature twins Lucy Neville-Davis is set to run two marathons in a fortnight in their honour.
Lucy is running the Brighton Marathon on April 9 and then only has two weeks to recover and ready herself for the London Marathon on April 23. Both her runs will be in aid of Twins and Multiple Births Association (Tamba).
But Lucy knows battling 26.2 miles twice will be nothing compared to the battles her twin boys Jasper and Finlay fought when they were first born.
With Jasper struggling to breathe and Finlay suffering a severe bleed on the brain, she’s amazed they not only both survived being born at just 27 weeks but are now two mini runners following in Mummy’s footsteps.
Lucy, who is 37, said: “We know we’re incredibly lucky to have them here and doing so well.
“At one time we thought Jasper would never breathe on his own and Finlay wouldn’t ever be able to walk after his bleed on the brain, but now both of them are doing little one-mile runs with my running club.
“Every day we know how incredibly lucky we are and we’re so grateful we have two healthy boys at home.”
Lucy and her partner Cameron Robertson, also 37, became pregnant with twins on their first round of IVF. Lucy’s pregnancy was a healthy one with no major concerns until her boys decided to arrive early at 27 weeks.
Lucy said: “No one knows why they came early – they just did. I was in hospital already as I felt a bit unwell and they thought it might be a urinary infection. I knew something was happening, but as these are my first children I had no idea what labour felt like or what should be happening. But then the following morning at 7am they arrived.
“I was obviously aware 27 weeks was really early, but all I really focused on was what needed to be done to make sure they were healthy.
“They were both struggling when they were born but I knew I couldn’t help them in a medical sort of way. So I completely immersed myself in pumping milk, reading to them and doing whatever I could from my end to make sure they were safe.”
Finlay arrived first weighing just 2lb 7oz and Jasper followed afterwards weighing 2lb. They were born on August 17 2012 and would spend the next three months in hospital.
The twins were delivered in Chichester but as they needed specialist care, they were rushed straight to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth. Finlay was taken away in the ambulance first, with Lucy just being able to poke her finger through the incubator before he was whisked away.
Lucy said: “I put my finger through and he grabbed it tightly. I didn’t see him again until later in the day when I arrived at Portsmouth. Jasper had to wait for the ambulance to come back and then he went too. They were both having help to breathe and had all wires and lines coming out of them – it was scary to see how tiny and fragile they were with all these things on them.”
Although both babies did remarkably well, considering how early they were born, they did still suffer from problems. Jasper struggled to breathe on his own for a very long time and even when the boys were discharged three months after their birth on November 19 2012 (two days after their due date) he still needed an oxygen tube through his nose.
Finlay had a severe bleed on the brain and doctors were worried it would have a traumatic effect on his mental and physical capabilities. He now has a mild form of cerebral palsy, but Lucy says it’s hardly noticeable in his everyday life.
Lucy said: “Throughout it all we just kept realising how lucky we were. They kept having these horrible things happen to them, but they just kept on battling and doing really well.
“It was ages until I could hold them and then after two and a half weeks I finally got to hold them together. I was so emotional cuddling them both – they were still so tiny so I was aware of how careful I had to be but it was amazing.”
Now happy, healthy four-year-olds, Finlay is the quieter of the two and loves playing with sand and getting his hands dirty. Jasper loves vehicles and, as Lucy said, “moves at 100mph – he can’t sit still”.
Seeing how well they’ve done after such a traumatic entrance into the world is what spurs Lucy on while she is training. She is using both her marathons to fundraise for Tamba.
Lucy said: “The training is really hard. It’s not just the fact it’s a long distance, but a lot of my running time means I’m away from my family for long periods of time. Often all I want to do is see the boys and play with them but instead I have to spend several hours out running.
“I couldn’t do this without the support of Cameron and our family. They’re wonderful.”
Lucy’s fundraising efforts will help Tamba with its work in supporting multiple birth families. Tamba is the only UK-wide charity for multiple birth families and provides antenatal courses, webinars, and support from pregnancy right through to the teenage years and beyond.
She is one of the charity’s #MiracleMums who are being celebrated as part of Mother’s Day. Throughout March the charity is celebrating fundraising mums who are supporting Tamba.
Keith Reed, Tamba CEO, said: “About 50 per cent of our families have one or more babies who will need specialist care in a neonatal unit. And twins are six times more likely to be diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
“This is why we exist – to campaign for great care for our families and also fund research into issues affecting multiple birth pregnancies.
“Without people like Lucy, who go that extra mile, or in this case the extra 52.4 miles, we simply wouldn’t exist.
“We’re incredibly proud Lucy has chosen us as her charitable cause and we can’t wait to hear how she gets on in her marathons.
“With two medals at the end of it, we’re sure her boys and Cameron will be incredibly pleased with her efforts too.”
Visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/LucyNevilleDavies to donate to Lucy’s fundraising drive.
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