The 18th November 2018 is the day our lives changed forever. Whilst enjoying a quiet Sunday night, Emily went into spontaneous labour at only 27 weeks and 5 days pregnant with our twin boys, Dexter and Zachary. With the help of Max, we delivered our twins at home on the bathroom floor!!! Dexter appeared first and was quickly followed by Zachary, who wasn't breathing. With no paramedics in sight, Max was forced to carry out CPR on Zachary in order to start his breathing.
This was only to be the start of our roller-coaster journey.
Shortly after, the paramedics arrived and whisked the four of us to Airedale General Hospital, with Max and Zachary going first followed quickly by Emily and Dexter. The illusion that everything would now be ok was soon shattered upon arrival as we were informed that unfortunately the boys required Neonatal Intensive Care due to them being so premature, which is something Airedale are only able to provide for a limited time. Things looked like they would get worse as there was talk of moving the boys to separate hospitals in order to receive this care due to limited neonatal intensive care beds across the country. Luckily, the fantastic transport team of The Yorkshire and Humber Infant Transport Service, also known as Embrace, were able to pull some strings and space was found for both the boys to be transferred to the Neonatal Unit (Ward L43).
It was a tragic moment seeing our boys so briefly before they were taken from us albeit to receive the care they needed. It was at this moment that Emily against medical advice discharged herself in order to reunite our family in Leeds, under the promise of seeking continued treatment at LGI if this was required.
For a time there was hope that everything would be ok, as both the boys showed great strength and were improving. Within 24 hours, Dexter's breathing required less support and therefore he was taken off the ventilator and moved onto CPAP. The same was attempted with Zachary but unfortunately he did not respond as well to this as his brother and therefore he was returned to the ventilator. This was to mark a crossroads in the boys response to treatment and while Dexter continued to require less breathing support, moving from CPAP to high-flow within another 24 hours, Zachary showed signs he was struggling further. Following a head scan, it was revealed that he had suffered a catastrophic bi-lateral brain haemorrhage and we were informed that due to the extent of the bleed there was no chance of survival. These were the words that fill any parents with dread, but worse still the time we would have to spend with our son Zachary was ticking away fast.
However the amazing nurses managed to reunite our boys so that they were able to spend some time together in the same cot, this was not an easy task to undertake given that there was a large amount of wires and drips attached to both of the twins. This being just one example of the miracles the doctors, nurses and consultants performed on L43 where their care went above and beyond each and every day. They also gave us the opportunity to care for Zachary in the ways we as he parents were destined to, by allowing us to bathe, change and dress him.
Sadly after just 3 days and 17 hours of life, or son, Zachary passed away peacefully in our arms.
The care from the incredible staff here would not end with Zachary though and they continued helping Dexter on his road to home. Whilst we were struggling to come to terms with the loss of one of our twin boys, the team on ward L43 again exceeded the duty of care and provided us with amazing support by seemingly reading our minds and putting in place the resources that we needed at the exact right moments. Dexter came on in leaps and bounds, with only a couple of hiccoughs along the way, and after 4 weeks of round the clock care he was deemed stable enough to be transferred back to our local hospital of Airedale.
We are, and always will be, eternally grateful for everything that was done for both Dexter and Zachary. Each and every member of the team on the ward that we came into contact with, will have a special place in our heart.
It is these selfless people, heroes, who are far too humble to acknowledge the amazing work they perform that we wish to raise money for. Our story is just one of the great feats of care that they perform daily, working long hours and making life changing decisions. The care we received was second to none and will forever be remembered by us. Our mission is to repay an impossible debt of gratitude for the care our twin boys (and ourselves) received while on Ward L43 and by donating you will be helping a family like ours to make the journey home with their own little ones.
In memory of our beautiful son and in order to raise money to support Leeds Cares for L43, we will be undertaking a years worth of challenges, 1 per month, throughout 2019. Some of these will be physical, some mental and some just for fun. We will provide updated throughout the year so that you can follow our fundraising efforts and, if you like, provide suggestions or even join in.
We would like to thank each and every one of you that donates in memory of our son, Zachary.
With all our love, Emily and Max (a.k.a. Team Bridges) xx
About Leeds Cares
Leeds Cares supports Leeds Teaching Hospitals to provide exceptional healthcare. Our vision is the best possible health and wellbeing for everyone in Leeds, across Yorkshire and beyond.
Our new approach to giving will bring communities, organisations and businesses together with our NHS to enable exceptional healthcare. We will unite and inspire people to care in a new way, supporting healthcare for the modern world.
Leeds Cares was formerly known as Leeds Hospital Charitable Foundation and re-launched with its current identity in May 2018.
If you would like more information about Leeds Care, please visit their website: https://leeds-cares.org/
Or if you would like to read more about what the Neonatal Unit at LGI, please visit their website: http://www.leedsth.nhs.uk/a-z-of-services/childrens-neonatal-services/
Thanks for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page.
Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving - they'll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they'll send your money directly to the charity. So it's the most efficient way to donate - saving time and cutting costs for the charity.
Please be aware that we are paying for the majority of our challenges ot of our own money however £250 of donations made to our Leeds Cares Just Giving page will be used towards the cost of the Skydive (Emily's July Challenge). We will strive to donate as much of the £250 as we possibly can so that our amazing supporters donations are solely going to L43.