Helping our little wonders

Archie, left, and Harley Garthwaite
Archie, left, and Harley Garthwaite

THE mum of miracle twins has welcomed a hospital initiative which helps parents play a much bigger part in the care of their tiny baby.

Hartlepool mum Hayley Kennedy had nothing but praise for the neo-natal unit at the University Hospital of North Tees - because it played such a big part in her own joy.

Hayley’s babies Archie and Harley Garthwaite, who were born 17 weeks early, defied the odds when they were born in June 2012, in the 23rd week of their mum’s pregnancy with Archie weighing just 1lb 4oz and Harley 1lb 6oz.

It made them one of the most premature sets of twins in the country to survive. They were born at the neo-natal unit at the University Hospital of North Tees where the new project called Small Wonders will be unveiled on Monday.

Small Wonders has been devised by the charity Best Beginnings whose aims are to give every child in the UK the healthiest start in life. Strong evidence suggests that increasing parental involvement reduces infection rates, developmental outcomes and improves bonding.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust’s specialist midwife in infant feeding, Diane Hudson said: “When a baby arrives earlier than expected or is sick, parents often feel helpless and coming into a neonatal unit with all its technology can be frightening.

“Best Beginnings have produced a he pack to all mothers whose babies are admitted to the neonatal unit. Pregnant women whose baby we anticipate may be admitted to the unit, will also be receiving a copy of the pack so they are well prepared if this should happen.”

Hayley said: “The people at that hospital are absolutely fantastic. It is a hard time for some mums and what these people did for me was absolutely amazing.”

She welcomed the Small Wonders project and said: “This new scheme sounds really good and it’s right in that it helps with the bonding with baby when the parent is involved.”

Hayley said she regularly takes Archie and Harley back to the unit where they are regarded as “the miracle twins.

“Everyone still asks about them. Two years ago, we didn’t have them and when we look at them now, we think ‘were they really that little.”