Thanks for our little miracles

Andrew and Victoria Connell with twins James (left) and Kathryn (18 weeks)
Andrew and Victoria Connell with twins James (left) and Kathryn (18 weeks)

Proud parents have paid tribute to the hospital staff and emergency workers who helped care for their tiny twins.

Vicky and Andrew Connell were stunned when she gave birth three months early to James and Kathyrn while they were on a caravan holiday with their other four children.

Little James, who weighed just 2lb 1oz, was born with a rare defect and had to be kept alive by his father until paramedics arrived.

Andrew (33) described the moment as “frightening” but said the calmness of all the 999 staff helped them through a difficult time.

Originally from Redding, Andrew moved to Lytham St Annes in Lancashire, 13 years ago, where he and Vicky (34) run an estate agency.

In June, the couple travelled to Seton Sands caravan park, near Edinburgh, for a short break with their children, Nathan and Bethany, both 13, Robyn (5) and Rose, who celebrated her sixth birthday the day after they arrived.

Andrew said: “Vicky was complaining of a sore back but we put it down to the four-hour car journey. While Rose stayed in the caravan with her mum, I took the others outside. But she then came rushing out to say her mum was giving birth.

“By the time I reached the caravan, Kathryn had already been born and 10 minutes later James arrived. But he wasn’t crying.

“Vicky had already dialled 999 and an ambulance was on its way but until they arrived I was given advice over the phone to help him breathe.”

When paramedics arrived the whole family was taken to the Simpson unit at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary where the worried parents were told that their babies only had a five per cent survival chance.

As well as being 12 weeks premature, James was diagnosed with esophageal atresia, which meant his oesophagus was not connected to his stomach, and both babies had pneumonia.

For the next three weeks they were treated in the Edinburgh hospital before being transferred to the Blackpool Victoria Hospital with the Scottish Ambulance Service stepping in to transport the infants after their English counterparts failed to turn up.

Little James also had a spell in Manchester Children’s Hospital.

But after four months, both are now home and reunited with their brother and sisters.

Andrew said: “It’s a miracle. The treatment we all received in Edinburgh was excellent and we can’t thank them enough. Everyone was so calm and kept us informed.”

James now weighs 7lb 6oz and Kathryn 8lb 5oz, almost six pounds heavier than when they made their unexpected arrival on June 4.

The family have even bought the caravan in which the twins were born and hope to travel up later this month for a holiday and a visit to Andrew’s family, parents Andrew and Sally Connell, and sister Dyan Connell, in Redding.

Dr Iain Laing, consultant neonatologist at the Simpson Centre for Reproductive Health, said: “The Connell family acted very quickly when the babies were born in the caravan ensuring a speedy transfer to our neonatal unit.

“We are delighted that the twins are now doing well at home and wish the family all the best for the future.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Ambulance Service said: “We were delighted to be able to support the family and are glad the twins are doing well.”