By Sian Bradley


Premature twins born each the size of a FANTA bottle have finally been allowed home – after more than 1,000 hours in intensive care.

Elizabeth and Etta Kearns-Turner were born nine weeks early with Elizabeth weighing just 2lbs 11oz and Etta a tiny 2lbs 10oz each after mum Suzy Kearns-Turner, 32, went into premature labour on 25 August.




The pair’s lungs hadn’t developed properly at birth and they were kept in were kept in Burnley General Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for six gruelling weeks.

Now the twins have been allowed to join their proud mum, dad Mick, 39, and siblings Eric, five, and Edie, four, back home in Blackburn, Lancs – three weeks before their original due date.

Mum-of-four Suzy, who runs a swimming school, said: “When the twins were born, they were so tiny they could fit into our hands.

“It was terrifying not being able to bring them home – at one point I thought I was going to lose Etta.

“I remember sitting with them one day, drinking a bottle of Fanta.

“I realised that they were the size of my bottle.

“It isn’t until you have a comparison that you realise just how tiny they are.

“But thanks to the wonderful staff in NICU, we can finally be a family at home.”

Despite having a relatively easy pregnancy compared to her older children, Suzy was convinced things would go wrong as soon as she was told she was carrying twins, and felt anxious every day.

She was so worried, she even asked to visit the NICU before the twins were born so she could have a look around and get her bearings, despite doctors saying everything was fine.

The day before Suzy went into labour, she even took husband Mick and children shopping for more baby clothes in smaller sizes as she was so convinced she wouldn’t carry the babies to full term.

The mum-of-four said: “I kept telling my husband they’d end up in there.

“I just knew something would go wrong but he thought I was just overreacting.

“The day before I went into labour, some part of me knew I wouldn’t be able to carry them to term, so I dashed out to get smaller baby clothes.

“I just had this feeling I couldn’t ignore.”

The next morning, at just 31 weeks’ pregnant, Suzy woke up to what felt like strong period pains.

Knowing it was contractions, she woke Mick and asked him to take her to hospital.

Leaving their two children with a family member, the couple arrived at hospital three hours later.

But within the hour, Suzy was told she needed to have an emergency caesarean section.

The hospital had tried to stop the premature labour, but Elizabeth’s’ heart rate had dropped and doctors knew they had to act fast to help both babies.

Elizabeth was born first, and Etta followed two minutes later but the twins were whisked off to NICU before Suzy could hold them.

Suzy said: “When they told me I needed a c-section I was terrified.

“I asked my midwife whether my babies were going to die – it’s all I could think about.

“Everything was completely out of my control.

“With my first two children, I couldn’t hold them afterwards either due to complications.

“So with the twins all I wanted to do was hold my girls, but they were too unwell.

“I just had to watch the nurses working on them from my bed.

“As a mum, it’s not what you want to see at all.

Both Suzy and Mick spent as long as they could in the unit with the twins, with Suzy often spending 14 hours a day by their bedside.

The two girls progressed well and were close to leaving the unit when Etta suffered a setback.

They had been taken off all monitors, but when Suzy went to feed Etta, nurses noticed that she was pale and her lips were blue.

They realised her lungs were struggling and put her back on the oxygen machine.

This setback meant that Elizabeth was allowed home first on 6 October, after spending 1,012 hours in NICU.

Shortly after, on 8 October, Etta was given the all clear and joined her sister after a long 1,058 hours in the unit.

Suzy said: “When I found out we could all be together I just cried.

“I was so happy to bring them home.”

Elizabeth and Etta are now seven weeks old and are doing ‘incredibly’ at home.

They both weigh just over 5lbs and are growing and developing at a good rate.

But Suzy and Mick say they wouldn’t be where they are without the help of the staff in the NICU.

Suzy said: “The staff are incredible.

“I spent so long in the unit that I saw the nurses more than my own family.

“They loved and cared for my daughters as if they were their own and I’m so thankful for that.

“When I went home I couldn’t sleep and would ring every couple of hours to see how they were.

“They staff were always happy to keep me updated and would often tell me they were giving them a cuddle as we spoke.

“It helped to put my mind at ease.”