Mum to twin girls Emily and Olivia, Cheryl Dignen is taking on an incredible sponsored slim to raise money for Neoangels.
Her twin girls Emily and Olivia were cared for on our unit after they were born at 28 weeks.
The twins, who were born by emergency C-Section after Cheryl’s waters had gone around Olivia and her heart rate kept dropping. Olivia had a life-threatening condition called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome meaning the left side of her heart didn’t develop. The girls were instantly taken to the Neonatal ward and Cheryl tells us both girls had a bumpy journey, with them both battling infections and being ventilated, along with Olivia being given medication to keep her poorly heart stable.
At three weeks old, Cheryl and Kyle came in to find devastatingly that Olivia had been taken poorly with NEC. She was transferred to the RVI in Newcastle for closer monitoring and surgery if she needed it.
This meant the girls were more than 40 miles apart being cared for in different hospitals. Cheryl and Kyle took a girl each – Cheryl went to the RVI to be with Olivia and Kyle stayed with Emily here at North Tees.
During her time at the RVI, it was discovered Olivia had a hole in her bowel which needed surgery to repair it. Heartbreakingly because of Olivia’s heart condition, surgeons at both The Freeman and RVI decided it would be too high a risk to operate. Cheryl and Kyle made a decision no parent should ever have to make and chose to take Olivia off her life support and keep her comfortable while she grew her angel wings. They spent several incredibly precious hours alone with her, letting her know she was loved and giving her as many kisses and cuddles as possible. She grew her wings in her mummy and daddy’s arms later that day.
Back in North Tees, Emily began to thrive, and came off the CPAP she had been placed on, started taking bottles and went in to a cot and came out of her incubator. She came home after nine weeks on our unit and only needed oxygen support.
Cheryl, said: “Emily is now a happy and wonderful thriving little girl. She has now been weaned off the oxygen by the fantastic Neonatal Community Nurses and she even goes to the Neonatal playgroup to catch up with all her Neonatal baby friends. She was born at 2lb 11oz and is now 14lb 4oz! She has overcame so much and it is all thanks to the Neonatal team!”
Cheryl and her best friend Paula have very kindly offered to raise £600 for Neoangels as a thank you for the care her girls received.
We can’t thank them enough for their support and dedication to helping other families after all they have been through. We’re super proud of their efforts. You can keep up to donate and support here.