There were many occasions when Megan and Dan thought they would never make it to this day. A day where they are all at home, alive and on a 67-day countdown to twins Winnie and Teddi’s first birthday.
After experiencing a high-risk and complicated pregnancy, Megan found out that her cervix had started to shorten at her 24-week scan and alarm bells started to ring: “I was expecting my babies to arrive early, but not 12 weeks early,” she says.
Following a five-day active labour, Teddi and Winnie were born extremely prematurely at 28 weeks – 84 days before their due date – weighing just 825g and 1kg.
The twins endured multiple complications during their time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), including sepsis, respiratory distress syndrome, retinopathy of prematurity, chronic lung disease, neonatal sensory disorder, hypoxemia and much more.
Megan reflects on one of their worst moments during those terrifying 67 days: “When another baby in the NICU who was going through the same struggle as our Teddi sadly lost their fight, we were so heartbroken and fearful that our boy might not make it through either.”
“I never thought that we'd make it to this day. A day where we're not rushing to the hospital. A day where we're not calculating how many millilitres of milk needs to be frozen or stay fresh. A day where we're all at home safe, alive and breathing,” Megan reflects.
Each year, around 60,000 babies in the UK are born prematurely and sadly more than 1,000 babies die as a result of being born too soon. Globally, premature birth is the biggest killer of children under five. For those that survive premature birth, they have an increased risk of cerebral palsy, visual impairment, hearing loss and learning difficulties.
Aware that Action Medical Research funds research into pregnancy complications, premature birth and many other issues affecting mothers and their babies, Megan is determined to raise funds for the charity through the inspirational ’67-day challenge’, saying: “It is essential to understand and prevent premature birth wherever possible, so please donate whatever you can to help stop mothers going through the incredibly stressful experience of life in the NICU.”
More about the 67-day challenge
“In support of the NICU babies that didn't graduate, the babies that did, their families that fought alongside them every day, and their mothers that are healing from severe mental and physical health conditions, we plan to run 6.7km every day in the countdown to the twin’s first birthday, to raise money for Action and support the fight for babies born too soon,” says Megan.
“We were always planning to do something in the lead up the twin’s birthday, and it felt right to tie our challenge in with the 67 days the twins spent in the NICU. Action are carrying out vital research to tackle premature birth and treat sick and vulnerable babies. No mother should have to go through the uncertainty of life in the NICU, and we want to raise as much as possible to make this vital research possible,” says Megan.