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Monday, 22 September 2014

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Double joy times four at Carlisle hospital

Staff at the Cumberland Infirmary’s special care baby unit were left surprised after four sets of identical twins were born within a week of each other.

Carlisle hospital twins photo
From left, Hannah Hilland with Aidan and Joshua; Angela Holliday with Mia and Macy; Jane Grimshaw with Eleanor and Isobel; and Christine Lennon with Anya and Freya

The eight babies – six girls and two boys – were all premature but are getting stronger thanks to the care they and their parents are receiving.

Staff at the Carlisle hospital say it is the first time in years they have had this many twins – and possibly the first time they’ve ever seen as many sets of identical babies.

The first pair of twins to be born were Joshua and Aidan Hilland on March 8.

Thirty-two weeks into her pregnancy mum Hannah, 25, of Penrith, was woken in the night by her waters breaking, three weeks to the day before her planned delivery date. Husband Stuart brought her in to the Cumberland Infirmary and she gave birth within hours.

They were both healthy but quite small – with Joshua weighing 4lb 7oz and Aidan 4lb 6.5oz – and being so early, their lungs hadn’t developed properly.

They were finally able to go home on Wednesday.

Mum Hannah said the ward was fantastic, and even encouraged her and Stuart to stay over for a couple of nights before going home so they could get used to feeding at night.

She said: “I can’t praise the staff or the unit enough, they have been kind, sensitive and tell you everything.

“For someone who hasn’t had that much to do with babies it’s been an absolute godsend. Obviously, nobody wants their baby to be in here but if they are they make it much easier.”

Next to be born were Eleanor and Isobel Grimshaw on March 11, seven weeks premature.

Mum Jane, 38, and husband David, 35, were prepared to go in for a planned caesarian the following week. They weighed just 3lb 2oz and 4lb 1oz.

The couple, of Lowry Hill, Carlisle, had experienced the unit with their first child Thomas, now seven, and said the staff know exactly how to help at a very emotional and often difficult time.

Angela Holliday, 30, of Sandsfield Park, Carlisle, then gave birth to the unit’s third set of twins the following day.

Mia and Macy were six weeks early, weighing 3lb 10oz and 4lb 6oz, but dad Darren, 33, said they were gaining strength.

The final set of twins were Anya and Freya Lennon, who arrived five weeks early on March 18, weighing 4lb 12.5oz and 5lb 3.5oz. Mum Christine, 44, of Nether Row, near Caldbeck, said they needed quite a lot of extra attention.

The girls are now starting to breastfeed and it is hoped they will soon be strong enough to go home with Christine, dad Steve, 54, and brother James, five.

Christine said the twins boom has seen staff rushed off their feet – with a total of 15 babies at one point instead of the maximum of 12 – but they haven’t let standards slip.All the parents are now keen to raise the profile of the unit and the good work it does, in the hope that people will continue to raise vital funds for it.

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