Simon Fielding at 05:21 on August 19, 2019.

(Updated on August 19, 2019 at 5:22 pm)

Photo: Ben Burchill / PA Wire

Jenny Powell from Brighton went on holiday on holiday in Cornwall with her twins last summer after 22 weeks.

She was hospitalized, where the team decided to send her to a special unit in Oxford.

They were flown by the rescue chopper from Newquay.

Jenson, who weighed only 535 and 590 grams, got a 0% chance and Ruben got 20 to 30% to do it beyond the first 48 hours.

The boys are now one year old and the family was back to meet the heroes who helped them.

Mum Jennie says, "It's really a story of hope and wonder, they resisted any odds given to them."

So what happened?

Jennie and husband Rich were on vacation in Cornwall in August 2018 and took a break at a critical stage of the pregnancy.

Two years earlier, her son Linnie had lost his survival battle (born at 23 + 4 weeks) due to complications related to the rarely mentioned streptococcal B infection (Strep B).

"The twins' pregnancy was closely monitored when we lost our first child.

"We were instructed to move away from things and be as relaxed as possible – from the work and the & # 39; demons & # 39; associated with our previous pregnancy.

"We're vacationing in Cornwall every year, and we were close to the end of two weeks, I was nervous about the times, but it also meant that I was much more aware of the warning signals, I was in pain, and just knew that something was wrong.

We went to the hospital immediately and suddenly everything was too familiar. The hospital performed tests and confirmed that I had contractions and my blood levels indicated an infection. Later, this was confirmed as chorioamnionitis, which was again caused by group B streptococci.

"Everything that followed in the following days can only be described as wonderful – every decision of the people who looked after us ensured that our boys survived and are here today."

Mom, Jennie


Jennie was introduced on August 16 at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Treliske. The maternity team's first critical decision was to treat Jennie with steroids to help babies with chronically underdeveloped lungs.

"The Royal Cornwall Hospital does not have the grade 3 neonatal unit we need, and when the team made calls, there was no free space in our local Brighton hospital – or in the other three Cornwall units.

"The hospital team did not give up the call and when John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, said they could pick us up this afternoon, we were flown by the HM Coastguard helicopter from Newquay."

Captain Jörg Brunner, co-driver Ivan Hamilton, crew member Ian Copley and Winchman paramedic Niall Hanson flew Jennie and midwife Jane Parke to Oxford.

"It was a life-saving decision, and when I came to a Level 3 machine, the John Radcliffe Hospital team could continue to monitor us when we needed it most.

"After that day, Jane and the helicopter crew had no idea what had happened to us – that the boys had survived, meeting them on the anniversary is so wonderful."

"I could touch one finger on each hand before they were taken away …"

Jenson and Ruben Powell were delivered on 17 August at 16:20 and 16:21 clock by emergency caesarean section. They were immediately taken to the neonatal intensive care unit – weighing less than 1.2 kg – and had to face a catalog of important events over the coming weeks and months.

"I could touch one finger on each hand before they were taken away and Rich followed them, as I could see them side by side in their incubators, those tiny little boys, the nurse who was with me could not hope much give.

"We were prepared for the chance to say goodbye to another child, boys have a lower survival rate, and we were prepared for one of them to fail, Ruben may have had 20-30%, Jenson should not pull. " by."


While 48 hours passed and the family still counted in hours rather than days and months, the boys continued to fight. 8 days after delivery, Ruben had his first life-saving operation after his bowel began to fail.

"The counselor had an instinct – it's unbelievable that some scans are not usually done unless a baby has symptoms, but he decided to take a look just in case and found he had one necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) that causes bowel movement Again, we were told that the survival rate for such an operation was incredibly low, even for a 1.5 kg child. "

Ruben was only one-third of this weight, but he survived the operation and a stoma was created in which more than 5 cm of intestine were removed. He had a stoma until he was 5 months old. Then the process was reversed and today his body is functioning normally.

Jenson, meanwhile, had to fight his own fight, with weaknesses in his lungs posing a particular problem, but like his brother, he continued to fight and grow stronger every day.

"Everyone we met made a decision that saved our boys"

The Powell pair is not just the youngest surviving twin boy, but also the youngest to have been given a vital eye injection to cure premature retinopathy (ROP) – the same condition that struck Stevie Wonder.

"The standard of care we got was excellent, the boys had everything – infections, more than 20 blood transfusions, sepsis, pneumonia, eye injections and laser surgery, hernia reversal, whatever you call it – the John Radcliffe team had everything under control. "

"Today the boys are thriving, they will be suffering from chronic lung disease for up to three years, making them more susceptible to colds and infections that require oxygen support, but otherwise they are doing well, we need to stop sometimes and." Let's remember everything they went through because it's so different today.

"One year ago, we felt that Cornwall and Oxford were the last places we had to be, we hardly knew anyone miles away from home, but they were just where we needed to be. We thank our stars we landed on. We made a decision that saved our boys. "

Rich, dad

Following the loss of her son Linnie, the couple campaigned for child loss education and support from Sussex-based charitable foundation Oscar's Wish Foundation and raised more than £ 16,000 to the new survivor's room at Royal Sussex Hospitals support.

Since leaving John Radcliffe, they have teamed up with the local charity SSNAP in Oxford to create a charity website that supports the John Radcliffe Neo Natal unit team.