Jago and Sam's story
Extremely premature birth
Jago is an active little boy who loves bodyboarding and surfing, but he’s a caring, sensitive soul too, says his mum Georgie: “He is happiest when it’s just the three of us – Jago, his dad Anthony and me.” But three is a difficult number for the family, as Jago was born extremely prematurely with his identical twin brother Sam who, tragically, did not survive.
Because the risks with identical twins in pregnancy are greater, Georgie received extra antenatal care, but there were no medical issues: “Nobody even mentioned the possibility of premature labour,” she says.
But at 24 weeks and six days, contractions began and Georgie felt an uncomfortable sensation rather like a urinary tract infection. Shockingly, her boys were born just 15 minutes after she arrived at hospital.
Both babies were rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Sadly, baby Sam lost his life on the same day he was born.
Georgie and Anthony had to face the heartbreaking cremation service for Sam, after one month, whilst caring for Jago. Born weighing just 1lb 8oz, he was extremely vulnerable.
It would be four months before little Jago was well enough to go home. He was on portable oxygen and could not mix with other children, so the family felt isolated as well as anxious about their baby’s health.
The impact of premature birth has, Georgie reflects, cast a long shadow: “You don’t leave it all behind when you leave hospital,” she says.
Specialist treatment for post traumatic stress disorder helped, but no cause could be found for Georgie's sudden premature labour. “In the end we were told it was ‘just one of those things’,” she says.
The family think about Sam whenever they see a rainbow and this offers some vital comfort.
Now aged seven, Jago has mild hearing loss and some behavioural and learning challenges. With her own experiences deeply etched, Georgie feels passionate about research into premature birth.
Action is supporting research to help identify women at risk of premature labour, along with a project to identify children born preterm who are at risk of developing anxiety, and work to support maths skills which can be a particularly difficult area for children born very prematurely.