A MUM who lost tiny baby twins just hours after they were born prematurely believes it was fate which saw her fall pregnant again just nine weeks later with another set of healthy treasured twins.
Barbara Short suffered a number of complications after finding out she was pregnant with her first set of twins in April 2012, the result of which saw her go into labour at just 23 weeks.
The 32-year-old was rushed to the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, by ambulance where she gave birth to extremely premature unidentical twins Ava and Alfie Wallace on September 9, 2012.
Ava was born at 2.50am weighing just 450 grams, while Alfie came into the world 10 minutes later and weighed 480 grams.
The pair – who Barbara says could have fitted into the palm of her hand – were whisked off to the James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, where they were placed on ventilators and given drugs to try to keep them alive.
But the odds were too heavily stacked against them, and little Ava lost her fight for life eight hours after she was born.
Alfie fought on for another five-and-a-half hours before he died at 4.30pm the same day.
Barbara, who has two older children - Molly-Jo Short, seven, and four-year-old James Wallace - said her world came crashing down around her after the tragedy.
But after falling pregnant with twins just nine weeks later, Barbara said: “It’s as if Ava and Alfie have been sent back to me.”
Referring back to her ordeal of losing twins, Barbara said: “I felt like I was looking in on someone else and it wasn’t me.
“I’d had two babies, but I was going home with none.
“It was horrendous thinking ‘what’s just happened to that little person that has just been born’. None of it seemed real.
“I was empty, my stomach was empty, but yet I had nothing.
“I still haven’t got over that and I don’t expect I ever will.”
But just nine weeks later, Barbara, of Owton Manor Lane, Hartlepool, fell pregnant again with her then partner while she was still grieving badly for the loss of her precious babies.
She was in a state of shock at the news, but nothing could prepare her for the bombshell that the ultrasound scanning staff were about to tell her – they had found two heartbeats and she was pregnant again with twins.
Barbara, a former delivery driver, said this pregnancy felt completely different and she suffered very few minor ailmentss before going into labour at a much safer 36 weeks.
But due to the position of the babies, she underwent a caesarian section and delivered Frankie Wallace at 4.17pm on Monday, July 22, last year, weighing 5lb, and Lilly Wallace one minute later tipping the scales at 4lb 13oz.
Although Frankie initially wasn’t breathing, doctors worked on him and he took his first breaths six minutes after he was born.
He had to stay in the special care baby unit for a week after his birth, but baby Lilly was allowed home after two days.
The duo are now thriving at eight months old - and are keeping their mum busy.
Barbara added: “It’s hard to explain but when they were born I was over the moon, but at the same time I was still grieving for Ava and Alfie.
“I was just thinking how can I be so blessed to have another two and be able to take them home with me.
“Everyone, even the doctors, were shocked at me having two sets of twins in less than a year. It was definitely meant to be that I was given Frankie and Lilly.
“People say that it’s like Ava and Alfie have been sent back to me.”
She added: “These two are just a joy with their little personalities – Frankie’s really stern and serious and Lilly’s just full of smiles.
“But even though they have filled void a bit, I’ll still always feel an emptiness for the two I lost, especially when I go to the cemetery.
“I know their souls are with us though. They can never be replaced.”