Berry family thankful for healthy twin girls after being born premature

By Liz Mellino

Shepparton couple Miranda and Steven Berry thank their lucky stars each day for their healthy twin girls.

Emma and Zoe Berry were delivered via emergency c-section earlier this year when Mrs Berry was just 25 weeks pregnant.

Following a previous un-viable premature birth at 19 weeks, Mrs Berry said they feared the worst when she was rushed to hospital.

‘‘Considering our past experience we knew viable age so it was very, very terrifying, it felt the same as last time except we were six weeks later,’’ she said.

‘‘It was very scary and the doctors kept saying that we were at a viable age and the girls would be fine, however, obviously there are risks involved being premature babies.’’

Mrs Berry said her pregnancy was going well until an obstetrician appointment at 25 weeks.

It was determined her blood pressure was too high and she was sent straight to the birth suite at Goulburn Valley Health to have a blood test and urine sample.

Mrs Berry was told she had pre-eclampsia and was sent to the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne on January 29.

Two days later the girls arrived.

Zoe Berry was born weighing 698 grams.

Following the birth, Zoe and Emma spent six months in the newborn intensive care unit at the Royal Women’s Hospital, a place Mrs Berry would not wish for anyone to experience.

‘‘It’s somewhere that you don’t know unless you experience it yourself,’’ she said.

‘‘There’s a lot of sick babies, very, very young babies we weren’t even the youngest babies there was 23 weeks and 24 weeks ... we were very lucky to bring them home with us, it was touch and go.’’

Emma Berry was born weighing 662 grams.

Mrs Berry described the six months as one big blur.

She spent each day in the NICU with the girls, returning to her hospital accommodation each night where she was forced to leave the girls under constant supervision.

After six gruelling months, Mrs Berry was able to bring the girls home, but this came with complications.

‘‘We brought Zoe home on oxygen and a feeding tube, she was needing three-hourly around the clock tube feeding,’’ she said.

‘‘But we did this in hospital all the time, so for somebody else it was a huge deal but for us this was our new normal ... it was challenging but we had the girls with us this time which made it better.’’

Everyone quickly settled into their new routine as a family of four and, two months on, Mrs Berry said life could not be better.

The couple would never forget the experience, but instead of looking back with sadness, it is a story of hope.

Miranda and Steven Berry with twin girls Emma and Zoe.

Reflecting on the time in hospital, Mrs Berry said talking to other families who had babies the NICU helped them maintain a positive mindset.

‘‘I joined a mother’s group at the hospital and met other mum’s at different stages with their babies and it was just a really good support,’’ she said.

‘‘When I first had my babies there were mum’s down there who were at the end of their journey and to see them you knew it was possible for you to get through it ... there is a lot of hope down there, it is a sad place but it is very hopeful and optimistic.’’

The family will be one of thousands across Victoria to hit the pavement on Sunday to support of Life’s Little Treasure’s Foundation’s Walk for Prems event.

Life’s Little Treasure’s Foundation is dedicated to providing support, friendship and information specifically tailored for families of premature or sick babies.

Walk for Prems is one of the fundraising events held throughout the year, raising money to provide the services in hospitals and throughout the community.

More than 48000 Australian babies are admitted into neonatal and special care unites every year, which is more than 14.5 per cent of all births and 115 admissions every day.

The family members will take part in the Nathalia Walk for Prems event, for a cause which will be forever close to their hearts.

Mr and Mrs Berry said by sharing their story they hoped to shed some positivity for other families going through the same thing.

‘‘There are so many premature babies born each day you don’t actually realise,’’ she said.

‘‘It is always going to be challenging with twins, but things are going really, really well now ... my advice for other parents would be to stay strong there is a light at the end of the tunnel.’’