Twins born at 23 weeks weren’t supposed to survive. 9-years later, they keep beating the odds

When Paula and Niall Kavanagh’s twins were born in 2008 at only 23 weeks and six days their chances survival were slim. That’s why the proud parents were so thrilled to see them receive their Communion a few weeks ago. At one point in their lives, they weren’t sure if they would ever see that day.
Ben and Emma only weighed about one pound when they were born via emergency C-section.
“My husband was outside speaking to the consultant, and everyone was insistent that they would not cut until he was there,” Paula told “He had been asking about their chance of surviving this, and when he came back in he was as white as a ghost. I asked him what the consultant had said and he told me that everything was going to be fine. I said, ‘You’re lying to me’. He told me the truth – if they got through the next 48 hours it would a miracle.”
Even if they did survive, doctors said they would only have a 10 percent chance of having a normal life.

“I didn’t realise you could have babies at that stage and they could have a chance at surviving,” Paula said. “I was lucky to have my two older sisters at that time because I was so worried about seeing the babies. I was worried that they weren’t formed and terrified about how tiny they would be. I didn’t think I’d be able to see them. Luckily, my sister put it into perspective for me. She said, ‘Paula, they’re [your] children. They’re perfect.”
The babies were so tiny, had no body fat, and their eyes were still fused shut. If they were born just two days later, they would not have been able to be intubated. Both babies ended up getting life-threatening infections after their birth. Ben still struggles with the results of the infection today.
These illnesses required several life threatening treatments and surgeries. One thing that did help was CranioSacral Therapy, an alternative medicine practice, that uses hands-on treatment to promote healing in the body.

“It’s a therapy that releases trauma and I believe it rewired Ben’s brain,” Paula said. “It also changed my attitude. I had been envisioning Ben’s future in a wheelchair and I told Ger that I could now see him on a rugby pitch. He gave me one of the best pieces of advice he could have ever given me. He said ‘Paula, that’s great, but why not look at Ben now see him as he is, and don’t put any expectations on him’. That sort of became my parenting philosophy from that moment onwards.”
It was then that Paula decided her kids were going to be OK.
“I do feel this attitude shaped my children into who they are today,” she said.
Though the twins still suffer from some health issues, including Sensory Processing Disorder, they are thriving.

“Ben loves to read, Roald Dahl is his favourite. Last week he dressed up as Boy for school. He is a real inventor, he loves Lego and is one of the most charismatic people I know,” Paula said. “He’s so popular and has a great group of friends. It was quite funny because he came home the other week and said ‘Mum, everyone knows me but I don’t know a lot of them’. He makes us laugh. Emma is so bright too, but she’s a real girly girl, unlike me. She’s obsessed at the minute with Jojo bows. For someone so young, she has such a keen sense of what’s fashionable and Emma dreams of being a singer.”

Paula says that other parents who are in similar situations shouldn’t despair and should always remain hopeful. And NEVER Google anything about health conditions!
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