NRL News

Britain’s youngest surviving preemies turn two

by | Aug 17, 2020

By Dave Andrusko 

 It’s easy to understand why Phoebe Eckersley, writing for the British publication The Mirror, would say, “It’s a milestone parents Jennie and Rich Powell thought they would never see.”

After all, two years ago today, Britain’s youngest surviving preemies were given next to no chances. Writes Eckersley

Medics gave Jenson Powell – the oldest by a minute – a zero chance of living beyond his first 48 hours.

And his brother Ruben had only a 20 to 30 per cent chance of surviving with brain damage following the emergency caesarean at under 23 weeks.

But they “cheated death.”

Emotional Jennie, 42, of Brighton, East Sussex, said: “They’re the definition of a miracle.”

An infection caused Jennie to go into premature labor. The twins were born by emergency caesarean at just 22 weeks and six days. As it always the case with extreme preemies, reporters note that the date (in this case) is “a week and a day less than UK abortion limit” of 24 weeks. And, of course, they were tiny, weighing only 535 grams and 590 grams, respectively, when delivered at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

Adding additional poignancy, Eckersley explains, “Devastatingly, Jennie had lost her previous baby Linnie due to a streptococcal B infection at 23 weeks in 2016.” 

Ruben has had five operations. “We spent all our time at their incubators thinking, ‘Is this the moment we’re going to say goodbye?,’” Jennie told The Mirror.

Jennie was given steroids and magnesium to help mature the babies’ lungs. Jenson had lung weaknesses, while Ruben was just eight days old when his intestines were failing and he was
operated on.

Jennie said: “I touched their fingers but couldn’t hold them because they were so small and skin was so thin.”

But fighters that they are, Jenson and Ruben, not only survived

Two years on the boys are typical energetic toddlers who like nothing better than making their parents Jennie and Rich run around after them.

Jennie told Eckersley of her gratitude to all involved. She has

Thanked the doctors, nurses, midwives and rescue workers who saved her children.

“They’re miracle workers who saved our family.

“The staff involved us in everything and were so selfless.”

Categories: Premature babies