“You never get over losing a child – you just learn to live with it.”
The words of a Tayside mum who is walking from Perth to Dundee to raise money for Ninewells Hospital, to thank staff who cared for her daughter who tragically passed away shortly after birth.
Danielle Brown, 30, and husband John, 30, will be making the trek on May 27 to raise money for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Dundee hospital, leaving from their native Perth.
The couple’s baby daughter, Lexi, died on May 23 2014, while her premature twin sister Lacey was treated in the unit for more than six weeks.
Danielle, 30, said: “In November 2013 I found out I was pregnant again and we were over the moon, then when it came to my first scan we were told we were having twins, we were all so happy and the kids were ecstatic.
“Our happiness grew when at 15 weeks we were told we were having girls but also that they were identical. That feeling was short-lived when at 18 weeks we were told they had a disease called twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS).”
TTTS is a rare, serious condition that can occur when identical twins share a placenta. Abnormal blood vessel connections form in the placenta and allow blood to flow unevenly between the babies.
One twin − called the donor – becomes dehydrated, and the other − called the recipient − develops high blood pressure and produces too much urine and overfills the amniotic sac. If left untreated, it can be fatal for both twins.
Danielle said: “At 19 weeks at a scan we noticed the fluid was starting to even itself out and a further scan a week later confirmed this.
“But on May 23 the fluid had switched from Lacey to Lexi. By this time it was too late and the doctors became concerned about Lacey’s heart rate and that Lexi wasn’t moving as much, so they delivered.”
Lexi was born weighing 2lbs 3oz and two minutes later Lacey was born weighing 1lb 14oz. They were rushed straight to NICU.
Danielle said: “After five hours we were called by the doctor and taken to see Lexi. We were told there was no hope for stabilising her.
“We held her for a short time then she fell asleep forever at 9.17pm in the comfort of her daddy’s arms.” Lacey remained in hospital for a further six-and-a-half weeks, finally getting home on July 7, to be with her brothers and sisters – John-William, Alicia and Mackenzie.
“It’s four years since Lexi left us so we thought it would be a good way to show our gratitude to the staff at Ninewells who looked after her and Lacey,” said Danielle.
“The support they gave us was incredible. We just want to give something back to them.
“It helps with your grief to be able to do that. But it never gets any easier, losing a child. You never get over it. You just learn to live with it.”
The family have set a fundraising target of £500, and will be supported on the 20-mile-plus journey by friends and family.
To donate, visit: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ninewells.