Simpsons Babies

Claire & Laura Smith
The remarkable story of Claire and Laura Smith has been kindly shared with us by their mum, Anne. It proves that Simpsons is a wonderful place which serves a much wider area than just the Edinburgh, Fife and the Lothians. Here is their story.

Claire and Laura Smith were born at Simpsons on 4th August 1999. Two days previously I had had a routine scan at 28 weeks and all was declared to be well. It therefore came as a shock on the following day when I went into premature labour. Due to non availability of intensive care incubators at Aberdeen, my husband and I were transported at high speed to Simpsons by ambulance, escorted by traffic police. The following morning, Claire and Laura, non identical twins, were born, by normal delivery, weighing 1100gms and 965gms (2lbs 6 ozs and 2lbs 2ozs) respectively.

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First photo

The following days, weeks and months were extremely stressful for us. Claire was only ventilated for 24 hours but Laura was ventilated for several weeks and there were various unsuccessful attempts to try to wean her off the ventilator. There were many very worrying times and episodes that we shall never forget. It was 3 weeks before I could hold Laura and, even then, that was only for a very brief time. The girls spent 4 weeks in Intensive Care in Simpsons before being transferred to Aberdeen Neo Natal Unit where they spent another 9 weeks , after which they were finally allowed home.

Claire and Laura are now in Primary Two and living life to the full. They have however both had their problems in the intervening years.

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Ready for school

Claire suffered from severe gastro - oesophageal reflux. As a result of her "failure to thrive" she was tube fed from 4 months old before undergoing a laparoscopic fundoplication and gastrostomy by Mr. McKinley in Edinburgh in May 2000. Unfortunately she suffered a recurrence of symptoms and the operation had to be repeated in December 2001. Post operative complications necessitated referral, as an out patient, to Great Ormond Street Hospital, London for extensive tests and investigations. Under regular review by Dr M. Bisset, G.I. consultant and in the continuing care of the Dept of Dietetics at Sick Childrens Hospital, Aberdeen, things gradually improved. With the aid of medication, Claire started to feed orally. The gastrostomy was removed in July 2003. Surprisingly, she is now rated to be now one of the best eaters in her class! The transition from tube to oral feeding was, however, a very arduous task and one that required an extreme amount of patience and determination on our part. She has no other medical problems and has performed very well academically during her first year at school.

Laura has mild cerebral palsy. She was slower at achieving her gross motor milestones but is now leading a very full and active life. She wears lower leg splints, has regular physiotherapy and has had six sessions of botox injections. She leads a fairly independent life and participates in swimming, dancing etc. Again, academically she is performing exceptionally well.

We were greatly impressed by the care, professionalism and compassion shown to us as parents and to our extended family by everyone at Simpsons. Being distanced from home, family and friends greatly added to our stress. Dr Stenson and staff at all levels could not have done more to support and encourage us. We have fond and lasting memories of the kindness and understanding so generously displayed to us during our time at the unit.

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Claire and Laura at 10 weeks old

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