Airlift drama of premature twins birth

PUBLISHED: 12:13 27 July 2006 | UPDATED: 11:56 04 May 2010

LITTLE FIGHTERS: Twins Brandon and Leo.

LITTLE FIGHTERS: Twins Brandon and Leo.

A LITTLE Downham man has talked to the Ely Standard about the dramatic first few days when his twin sons were born 14 weeks prematurely. The drama unfolded when Matthew Rayner s partner went into labour at her Diss home on April 23 and the pair had to be

PROUD PARENTS: Matthew Rayner and Vicky Cummings.

A LITTLE Downham man has talked to the Ely Standard about the dramatic first few days when his twin sons were born 14 weeks prematurely.

The drama unfolded when Matthew Rayner's partner went into labour at her Diss home on April 23 and the pair had to be airlifted from Norfolk to Manchester because it was the nearest place with intensive care cots for their babies.

Matthew, of Kiln Close, rushed to the Norwich and Norfolk Hospital to be close to his partner Vicky Cummings after her waters broke on Sunday, April 23.

But staff at the hospital explained that there was only one neonatal intensive care cot available, and that the nearest place with two of the cots together was Salford's Hope Hospital - 230 miles away. Staff had to contact the RAF to have a helicopter dispatched.

"It was a real shock to be told," Mr Rayner, 18, said.

"We got to the hospital on Sunday at 7.30am, and by nine that morning we were in the sky in a helicopter and on our way to Manchester."

"The ride up there was good fun - I've never been in a helicopter before."

Miss Cummings said the experience was "terrifying", but said the birth two days later of twin boys Leo, who weighed just 1lb 7 and Brandon (1lb 9) had more than made up for the ordeal.

The boys were 14 weeks premature and had to be looked after at the Manchester hospital - which is currently facing closure - for just over a month before they were transferred to West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds.

"We had a lot of trouble finding clothes to fit them because they were so small," Mr Rayner said.

His mother, Tracy Rayner, said: "When I saw them lying in their incubators at Salford I just cried."

"The boys have had a real fight since the day they were born, but they are here and they're the apple of my eye."

Now Mr Rayner, who works in catering, makes his way to see his sons in Bury St Edmunds each day.

"We are up there every day," he said, "feeding them, changing them and going out for walks."

The couple, who met through Miss Cummings' cousin, hope to have their sons home over the next week, and Mr Rayner said he is currently looking for accommodation for his family.

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