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Mum waited agonising 22 DAYS for second twin after first was stillborn

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A MUM waited an amazing 22 days for her second twin to be born, having been told it wouldn’t survive.

First-time mum Kayleigh Doyle, from Manchester, had her waters unexpectedly break at just 22-and-a-half weeks, and her first twin, Arlo, was stillborn.

Kayleigh Doyle gave birth to her twins 22 days apart. The second, Astro, is pictured

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Kayleigh Doyle gave birth to her twins 22 days apart. The second, Astro, is picturedCredit: SWNS
Kayleigh with her son Astro when he was a baby

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Kayleigh with her son Astro when he was a babyCredit: SWNS
Astro was delivered by C-section and is now two years old

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Astro was delivered by C-section and is now two years oldCredit: SWNS

The 22-year-old was told by medics her second twin was due “in the next couple of hours,” but were left puzzled when her contractions stopped.

They also warned her the baby would likely die.

But 22 days later, her second twin finally came, weighing just 2lbs.

Her second son, Astro, managed to survive against the odds.

While Kayleigh gave birth in 2021, she now believes she holds the record for the longest time separating the birth of twins in England.

She said: “After the trauma of giving birth to my first baby — I was gobsmacked when they said I could go home.

“To this day, I still can’t find a woman in the UK who can beat 22 days.

“I was assigned a doctor by a different hospital, and we had daily check-ups between the two births.

“Every day that passed, he’d say he genuinely couldn’t believe it.

“When Astro arrived I couldn’t believe he had survived all that time.”

Kayleigh said she hadn’t experienced any complications during pregnancy until she suffered labour pains on March 15.

She said: “I was aware of all the risks that came with having twins. I even paid for private GP appointments because I was so worried about complications.

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“When I hit 22-and-a-half weeks, literally, I was in bed and had the worst pain of my entire life.

“I wasn’t sure what was going on, so I went to the toilet downstairs, and my waters broke.”

Kayleigh was taken to Royal Oldham Hospital and put under close observation before she gave birth naturally five days later, on March 25.

Having delivered Arlo, who weighed just 1.1lb, doctors told Kayleigh his likely cause of death was a blood clot in his placenta which blocked blood flow.

They sat me down after I gave birth, and told me they weren’t expecting ‘twin two’ to survive – and he’ll probably be born in the next couple of hours.

Kayleigh

The risk of delivering prematurely spikes from seven to 57 per cent in pregnancies involving more than one foetus, according to baby loss charity Tommy’s.

The chance of survival at 22 weeks, two weeks before the abortion time limit of 24 weeks, stands at around 10 per cent.

Rates then are more than 60 per cent from the 24-week mark.

According to the NHS, around one in eight pregnancies end in a miscarriage, which is defined at the loss of a pregnancy during the first 24 weeks.

Stillbirths, when a baby is born dead after six months of being in the womb, occur in around one per 200 births in England.

Talking about Arlo, Kayleigh said: “He looked like a normal baby.

“They sat me down after I gave birth, and told me they weren’t expecting ‘twin two’ to survive – and he’ll probably be born in the next couple of hours.”

I still found it really triggering whenever one of my doctors would ask me where ‘twin one’ is.

Kayleigh

But by March 25, five days after Arlo’s birth, Kayleigh still hadn’t given birth to her second baby.

Baffled doctors sent her home – leaving the new mum confused.

She added: “I started making appointments with another doctor at Saint Mary’s Hospital – he couldn’t believe how long the gap was beginning to get.

“He came in every day, baffled, and said he couldn’t believe how rare this was.

“But I still found it really triggering whenever one of my doctors would ask me where ‘twin one’ is.

“We’d bought double everything for the babies – two cots, a pram with two seats. It was hard seeing the twin mums I followed on TikTok recording all their milestones.”

Having shown no signs of going into labour again, Kayleigh’s second baby was delivered in Saint Mary’s via C-section on April 11.

Doctors decided to do a C-section after discovering a placenta abruption – which means the placenta has separated from the inner wall of the uterus, and can deprive the baby of oxygen.

Astro, now two, weighed 2lb and suffered complications from being born prematurely, including a hole in his heart, and retinopathy, which causes abnormal blood vessel growth in the eyes.

Two weeks after coming home with Astro, Kayleigh held a funeral for Arlo – and the ordeal led her to train as a natal intensive care unit (NICU) volunteer.

She said: “I heard an NICU charity was looking for volunteers in Manchester – looking for people to do stay-and-play sessions, and going to the cotside of premature babies.

“I went through a year of training – and you’ve got to have had a premature baby to do it.

“I know what it’s like to feel in-the-dark about it – especially with the gap in between the two babies. As well as lonely – because everyone used to ask me where ‘twin one’ was.

“But I honestly can’t think of anything more rewarding. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Astro wasn't expected to survive as he was also born premature

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Astro wasn’t expected to survive as he was also born prematureCredit: SWNS
The mum, pictured with Astro, says she found it hard when doctors asked her where 'twin one' was

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The mum, pictured with Astro, says she found it hard when doctors asked her where ‘twin one’ wasCredit: SWNS

What is premature birth and what are its risks?

Premature birth is when a baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. 

About eight out of 100 babies will be born prematurely.

It’s possible for a baby to survive if born around 24 weeks of pregnancy onwards – 24 weeks is the legal limit for abortion.

Babies born this early need care in a hospital with specialist facilities for premature babies, called a neonatal unit.

The risks of having a premature baby include:

  • Small size
  • Low body temperature
  • Breathing problems
  • Feeding difficulties
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Developmental delay
  • Vision problems
  • Hearing problems

They may have health and development problems because they have not fully developed in the womb.

In some cases, pre-term labour is planned and induced because it’s safer for the baby to be born sooner rather than later.

Risk factors that have been identified for preterm birth include pregnancy with multiple babies, six months or less between pregnancies, a previous premature birth and problems with the placenta.

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