A couple who were expecting triplets were forced to sacrifice conjoined twins in order to save the other baby.
Jemma Haig, 20, and her fiancé Murray McKirdy were over the moon when a routine scan revealed that they were expecting not one but three babies last year.
But the couple’s joy soon became heartbreak as doctors told the pair from Tranent, East Lothian, that not all of their babies would survive.
A scan revealed that Jemma was carrying two amniotic sacs — one contained the embryo of her son Thomas and the other contained conjoined twins.
The conjoined twins were joined at the chest so shared a heart, respiratory system and digestive system.
Staff at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary gave the couple two options — have a selective reduction to remove the twins or lose all three babies.
Jemma said that she did not want them to suffer.
She said: “We came to the informed decision to have a selective reduction of our conjoined twins as we couldn’t bear to make them suffer.
“We knew that procedure carried risks of miscarriage of all foetuses and premature birth but we just hoped and prayed for the best.”
After the procedure, Jemma made it to 32 weeks before any further complications arose.
Following a bleed, Jemma was admitted to hospital.
As the days went on, the bleeding worsened and the doctors feared that it was placental abruption because her blood count was dropping considerably.
Thomas was born via emergency c-section, weighing 4lb 10oz.
He was immediately admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary where he was treated for suspected sepsis and mild breathing difficulties.
He spent three weeks on the unit before going home.
Jemma and Murray, along with their three-year-old Abigail and 17-week old Thomas, will take on a 27-mile “Go the distance” challenge for premature baby charity Bliss.
The family have chosen to take part in the fundraiser to highlight the long distance travelled by parents to visit their premature or sick babies in hospital.
Parents of premature and sick babies travel an average of 27 miles a day to visit their little one on the neonatal unit – some even face a commute of 100 miles or more.
The family will complete the challenge over two days by hiking the Pencaitland Railway Walk among other local walkways.
Jemma added: “We had a 20-mile round trip to visit our son, but some parents often have to travel much further.
“Thomas only spent three weeks in hospital but during that time, Bliss helped us get through it.
“As my partner had to return to work I often found myself alone on the unit. I often looked on Bliss’ Facebook page and spoke with mothers in the same position as me.
“As a neonatal unit isn’t a place any new mother wants to be, Bliss made me comfortable and made sure I knew what was going on with my baby and I cannot thank them enough for all they do for myself and other parents.”
Caroline Lee-Davey, chief executive at Bliss, said: “We are so grateful to Jemma, Murray and their family for raising money for us.
“Our fundraisers’ support is invaluable in helping us to achieve our ambition to reach every single baby born needing neonatal care in the UK and their families.”