Elsie and Flossie doing well after being born 11 weeks early

Emily Lowe is running the Sheffield 10k to raise money for the '¨charity that helped save her daughters. Catherine Scott reports.

A mum of twin girls who were born 11 weeks early is donning her running shoes and pounding the city’s streets to raise funds for Sheffield Hospitals Charity.

Emily Lowe, 28, from Nether Edge, is taking part in the Sheffield 10k to raise funds for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Jessop Wing, to thank the doctors and nurses who saved her daughters’ lives.

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Elsie and Flossie, whose combined birth weight was less than six pounds, spent more than two months receiving specialist treatment at the unit.

Emily Lower ith Elsie and Flossie who weighed just 4lbs between them when they were bornEmily Lower ith Elsie and Flossie who weighed just 4lbs between them when they were born
Emily Lower ith Elsie and Flossie who weighed just 4lbs between them when they were born

“In August last year our lives changed dramatically. Elsie and Flossie decided they had had enough of being squished and wanted to make their grand entrance into the world,” says Emily. “I was having a normal pregnancy, but due to carrying twins I was considered high risk so I was monitored closely. Then I started to have reduced movements, so went into triage as a precaution. Everything looked okay, but then I began having contractions, so was given steroids, magnesium and drugs to try to delay the labour. Two days of pain and worry resulted in Elsie and Flossie being born at 9.30pm at just 28 weeks.

“They were tiny, weighing 2lb 9oz and 2lb 12oz and I couldn’t see their little faces due to all the wires and tubes, but it didn’t matter because they were alive. I don’t think we have ever been so scared. To know you are going to have your babies so early is heartbreaking. We knew from the very start that our daughters were fighters but as a mother you cannot help feeling like you have failed.”

Thanks to the generous support of local people, Sheffield Hospitals Charity has been able to fund the parent rooms on the ward and the conversion of four flats, just five-minutes walk from the Jessop Wing.

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The family accommodation is a place that mums and dads can call their own for as long as their baby is receiving care.

Dad Jack with one of the twinsDad Jack with one of the twins
Dad Jack with one of the twins

“I want to raise not only money for the unit but also raise some awareness about pre-term labour and birth so I can offer support to people who are going through it. People shouldn’t be afraid to ask about premature birth,” says Emily.

“Finally after 66 days, Jack and I marched into the ward armed with our car seats and we all left to go home as a family. The girls are now 10 months old and so far have no lasting health conditions, which is always wonderful to hear.”

Babies receiving their care on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit are amongst the poorliest in the country. For parents this means spending weeks, even months in hospital not knowing if their child will survive.

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Sheffield Hospitals Charity has places available for the Sheffield 10k, which takes place on September 24 2017. To sign up, or for more information, phone 0114 226 7351 or email [email protected]

www.sheffieldhospitals charity.org.uk